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New Cloud Standards Adopted, Available and Announced

Some new activity around cloud computing standards have occurred in the last month that I thought would be good to blog about. First of all we are all very excited to receive the news that OVF (Open Virtualization Format) specification has been adopted as an international standard ISO/IEC 17203.  This a major milestone and will continue to be a key building block for workload portability between clouds. This specification was introduced to the industry four years ago and has received wide adoption and was even been recognized as one of the first virtualization/cloud standards adopted by ANSI last year as a US national standard. This standard is still emerging as new uses and additional features are to be added. Earlier this summer a work-in-progress version of OVF 2.0 was released to get additional industry scrutiny and feedback. This standard will be one of the key standards that will be the basis for the new cloud computing work at ISO under SC38 and has been sited by NIST and the recently formed Open Data Center Alliance as one of the technologies that has achieved wide market acceptance and provides a tool for virtual machine portability.



The other important annoucement was that the DMTF released a set of specifications as work-in-progess to enable interoperability of cloud management. The specifications are called the Cloud Infrastructure Management Interface or CIMI (pronounced see-me). These set of specifications provide a rest style interface and a logical model to provide a standardized interface to deploy and manage infrastructure resources for heterogeneous clouds. There are a couple of documents released including a specification on how the cloud model could be mapped into the DMTF Common Information Model and a primer which is a good document to review before you read the specification. All three of these specifications can be found at



We also announced last month the launch of the new member section for the Advanced Message Queueing Protocol (AMQP) at OASIS to help promote interoperable connectivity between heterogeneous applications and enterprise middleware software. Through RabbitMQ, VMware has many years of experience working with the AMQP. This should enable a more secure approach to exchanging real-time data streams across distributed and cloud computing environments.



There was also an exciting announcement at VMworld regarding the submission of a new networking specification  Virtual Extensible Local Area Network or VXLAN was submitted as a draft to the IETF. This specification will solve new challenges in cloud environments which will enable flexible, scalable cloud architecture in which new servers can be added in different subnets and improve migration of virtual machines between subnets.



Also at IDF we announced joining the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) as a solution provider member and providing a proof of concept demo at the event. The ODCA is an organization that is made up of mostly end user representing over $80 billion annually on IT spending. They will work together to provide a common voice to solutions providers on key pain points and interoperability concerns. They have released a number of usage models that will begin to outline those needs and will allow the cloud consumers and suppliers a forum to discuss and engage.



So as you can see it has been a busy time. Progress is being made. Standards are not only being created but some are receiveing wide spread market acceptance and others are just beginnings. These efforts and these groups are critical to realizing the vision of cloud computing and ultimately give customers the freedom of choice they desire.


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