How to Use Standards in Cloud Computing - dummies

How to Use Standards in Cloud Computing

By Judith Hurwitz, Robin Bloor, Marcia Kaufman, Fern Halper

Cloud computing standards are a core set of common and repeatable best practices that have been agreed upon by a business or industry group. Typically, different vendors, industry user groups, and end users collaborate to develop standards based on the broad expertise of a large number of stakeholders. Organizations can leverage these standards as a common foundation and build on top of them.

Standards, or agreed-upon approaches, let you

  • Move your infrastructure or applications from one cloud provider to another.

  • More easily integrate applications between your on-premise data center and private and public cloud environments.

Cloud standards are in the early phases of being developed and implemented. Some are coming along, but, to many watching the development of these standards, it can seem like the Wild West.

Interoperability in cloud computing

Interoperability refers to cloud users being able to take their tools, applications, virtual images, and so on and use them in another cloud environment without having to do any rework. Say one application runs in one environment and you need that application to operate with a partner’s application in another cloud environment. If the right interoperability standards are in place, you can do this without needing multiple versions of this application.

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Representational State Transfer (REST), and Atom Syndication Format and Atom PublishingProtocol (both standards referred to as Atom) are all examples of widely used interoperability standards and protocols.

Portability in cloud computing

Portability lets you take one application or instance running on one vendor’s implementation and deploy it on another vendor’s implementation. For example, you might want to move your database or application from one cloud environment to another.

Integration in cloud computing

When you think integration, you generally think of combining various hardware and software components together to create something. The same idea applies in the cloud. One example of integration: easily integrating your data with a Software as a Service application. This is an example of taking some of your internal IT capability and integrating it into the cloud environment.

Portability and integration become major issues when cloud vendors have different platforms. This can lead to vendor lock-in, which means that moving to another cloud provider is so difficult that you don’t even bother trying.

Security in cloud computing

You need to make sure that the right controls, procedures, and technology are in place to protect your corporate assets. Your organization has invested a lot internally to protect your assets, and it’s reasonable to assume that your cloud provider should do the same.

Cloud security standards are a set of processes, policies, and best practices that ensure that the proper controls are placed over an environment to prevent application, information, identity, and access issues (to name a few).

Two organizations that are very active in this area are the Cloud Security Alliance and a think tank called the Jericho Forum.