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On Ramps to Cloud Service Providers

In my continuing updates on cloud interoperability I thought this would be a good time to talk about the various cloud interfaces that now exist. As I have discussed in previous posts, a lot of work is going on at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology regarding cloud computing to support the governments Cloud First Policy.


One of the key activities now in full swing is the SAJACC (Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart the Adoption of Cloud Computing) program.  At the very end of last year a new work group was launched along with a Wiki to enable the industry and interested participants to start to develop a plan for evaluating current interface standards for cloud computing. As part of that work a Cloud Interface Catalogue of interfaces has been established. This provides a list of some of the cloud computing interfaces and their capabilities and links to more information about these interfaces. This provides a good place for consumers as well as cloud service providers to review what is currently available.



As it would be expected there are a broad range of capabilities and functions available. VMware’s vCloud API has the highest number of funtions listed, not that this is a good gage of capability, but may speak to its level of maturity. One of the things that also will jump out at you is the number of various interfaces that exist. This may indicate that we are still in the early days of cloud computing and consolidation has not occurred.


However, a good thing to notice is that there are some similarities between these interfaces…such as most all of the interfaces are RESTful interfaces. This has become the mode of choice for interacting with clouds.  The other thing to notice is that the functions that have been implemented are similar, but some of the interfaces stronger in one or more functional areas.


I believe this year we will see most of these interfaces tested and analyzed by NIST to validate its capabilities against the list of cloud computing use cases. At the same time work is continuing in the DMTF and other standards development organizations to develop an agreed-upon set of functions and protocols to achieve cloud interoperability by standardizing this onramp. The work will continue throughout 2011 to evaluate and consolidate cloud computing interfaces with goals of reducing complexity, improving interoperability and utlimately improving customer flexibility and choice.


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