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The Work of Open Cloud

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I just returned from Philadelphia where the DMTF Open Cloud Standards Incubator group had a three-day face-to-face meeting on cloud computing standardization.  In addition to Rackspace, other companies present included:  CA, Cisco, Citrix, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sungard, and VMware.

The purpose of the incubator group is essentially to get the ball rolling – to frame the problem and lay a foundation upon which specific cloud standards can be developed via new or existing DMTF working groups (e.g. OVF) and other SDOs – a new TLA (three letter acronym) I learned this week – which stands for Standards Development Organization.  Specifically, this includes things like defining a cloud taxonomy, laying out use cases, and identifying specific areas ripe for standardization.  The work of open cloud is an arduous one and I appreciate the energy and commitment of the group.  Three full days of debating terms, concepts, technology, use cases, etc. can be exhausting!  Nevertheless, it is necessary and is the means to an end of specific cloud standards that will add real value for customers.

Rackspace has been involved in a number of early conversations and meetings over the past 18 months around cloud standards.  It has been frustrating because there has been little to no progress (albeit the efforts were always well intentioned).  It’s exciting now to see more formality around cloud standards development (from the DMTF and others) as well as a coalescing of various standardization efforts (e.g. http://cloud-standards.org).  We had a number of discussions about the work other groups are doing so there is both awareness and intentionality with regard to collaboration.

Rackspace has never believed in “lock-in.”  We want to earn your business through Fanatical Support. Even in our traditional hosting business, where the single tenant nature and ability to uniquely customize infrastructure necessitates a contract, we have the Fanatical Support Promise which lets you out if you feel we haven’t lived up to our promises.  If you believe you are best served by going elsewhere, you should have the freedom to move.  And the cloud should be no different.  While the cloud doesn’t require a contract, there are APIs, image formats, etc. that, in the absence of standards, will be proprietary and hinder portability.  That shouldn’t be the case and solid, well-received cloud standards are the key to avoiding cloud lock-in.

We can’t predict where cloud standards will go, but we are committed to participating in the process and helping create a world of open clouds.  Without them, we will never realize the full potential of the cloud.

Have a question? Send me an email.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Erik Carlin.

Erik joined Rackspace in 2008 as Chief Architect helping to launch and grow Cloud Servers as well as integrate and optimize multiple services across the Rackspace Cloud portfolio. Erik has been involved in OpenStack since its inception and helped launch the Quantum network service. Erik currently serves as Director of Product Strategy for the Cloud Infrastructure Product Line, which includes all base cloud building block services (Cloud Servers, Cloud Networks, Cloud Block Storage, Cloud Files, Cloud Load Balancers and RackConnect). Prior to joining Rackspace, Erik was Chief Infrastructure Architect for SRA International, where he helped architect solutions for large, complex enterprise and government clients. Erik is a graduate of Virginia Tech and holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering and a minor in Computer Science.


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