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As the Public Sector Cloud Summit ends

I presented at the Public Sector Cloud Summit on behalf of the DMTF last week. The event was sponsored by the Cloud Standards Customer Council, and was kicked off with a keynote by Dawn Leaf, NIST’s Senior Executive for Cloud Computing. One of the big takeaways from Dawn’s presentation was that the new focus at the NIST will be on reference architectures. NIST certainly made great progress early on by developing the definitive definition of cloud computing. She stated that their next big contributions will be on standardizing reference architectures so that we can have a common understanding on which to build. The NIST will also be supporting the ongoing efforts of the Fed RAMP program to standardize security assessments of cloud solutions across the various US government agencies.

David McClure, associate administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Citizen Service also gave a great keynote that addressed GSA cloud activities. He shared some of the successes in the US government adoption of cloud computing, as well as a number of challenges ahead. The creation and adoption of cloud standards as it relates to security, interoperability and portability were high on his list.

There was also a great presentation by VMware’s Andy Tait, former Deputy Director for the G-Cloud, UK Cabinet Office, on the state of the UK G-Cloud initiative which is also driving for standards-based interoperable clouds.

My presentation at the event covered interoperable clouds, the progress that we’ve made so far, and the opportunities still ahead. I wanted to educate the audience that we have made great progress on many key IaaS standards and to review the areas that we need to complete so that we can have truly interoperable clouds.

All of the presentations are available to the public and can be downloaded here:

It was amazing for me to see how many organizations across the globe are involved or have some activity around cloud computing. Organizations from China, India, Japan and across Europe have started work on cloud standardization. Many standards development organizations that weren’t involved six months ago have launched new cloud computing activities. This is a good sign and shows that there is global focus on cloud standards and interoperability. These efforts are sorely needed and will help to improve the security, portability and interoperability in clouds.

As I said in my previous post, we need to solve the challenges ahead of us and leverage the work already available to our community. A great example is the Cloud Security Alliance, which has focused its effort on best practices around cloud computing security and has not attempted to create new standards since plenty already exist in that space.

I recommend that organizations and groups that are just getting into this space also utilize the work that has been done, just as the CSA did. There are several inventories of standards from ISO, ITU-T, NIST and others like the public wiki at  of which folks can take advantage. That way, we as a community can focus our time on the gaps in standards and drive adoption of open secure cloud standards.


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