Cloud leaders collaborate on OpenCloud Project
Date: Tue, 07/29/2014 - 17:02
CEF President James Walker
Image credited to NetEvents
Yesterday Comcast, Verizon and Tata hosted the first meeting of the OpenCloud Project, a live test environment that forms the basis for a revolution in the validation of end-to-end interoperability for cloud, datacenter and network services.
The OpenCloud Project is open to all companies worldwide, and is sponsored by the CloudEthernet Forum, a member industry group that includes: Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Comcast, Ciena, Cisco, Citrix, CoreSite, Ericsson, Equinix, Juniper, HP, Huawei, Interexion, PCCW Global, Spirent Communications, Tata Communications, Telx, Verizon and many others.
The CEF is focused on shaping open standards, cloud interoperability and uniform application programming interfaces (APIs), for service providers and enterprises.
There are many challenges for today’s enterprise cloud customers. Those that enterprises frequently mention to CEF members include:
• It is very difficult to get end-to-end Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that cover the entire network, compute, storage and datacentre environments. Without this, customers are left with a patchwork quilt of SLAs that may not cover the whole solution or properly reflect the impact on the system of a small component failure.
• While cloud resources can be turned up in a few minutes, network services can take weeks or months to provision. Cloud services and network services often are provided by different organisations and then linked into the enterprise’s own hosted application environment. Customers are asking for a direct link between provisioning of network and provisioning of virtual resources and vice versa.
• Compliance, regulation and privacy laws require enterprises to have unified risk management, auditable processes and a properly enforced security policy. This is close to impossible in an environment where the different components and suppliers have varying attributes that can be controlled and reported on.
• Different suppliers report on various attributes for their services, making it very challenging to have a single view of performance and the ability to respond quickly to traffic spikes and moving workloads – the biggest drivers of cloud take-up.
• With most enterprises relying on multiple clouds for different services, it becomes attractive for one cloud service to talk directly to another in a standardised and secure way. For example, a customer using a cloud-based CRM application could poll their financial system in another cloud to directly match customer spend and billing status, or project future revenue potential.
These issues and many others are in danger of severely limiting the burgeoning cloud services’ market potential. The root cause is network service providers, cloud service providers, datacenter operators and enterprises all use different APIs and interfaces to communicate, as CEF President James Walker explained.
“This is where our open test and iterative standards development program begins,” says Walker. “Where other standards bodies had the space to shape standards in advance of market penetration, cloud computing is already surging ahead in every direction -- powered by NFV, SDN, virtualization technologies and networking – technologies that are themselves still evolving quickly. Our response is to iteratively develop the Reference Architecture, the Test Bed and the standards simultaneously to keep ahead of business needs. The aim is to evolve a fully interworking cloud environment and the advance best practices to manage OTT and cloud services.”
Iometrix President, Bob Mandeville, heading up the OpenCloud Project lab, showed how co-operation among cloud service players generates standard practices for the delivery of cloud services. “Cloud services draw on multiple new technologies, all of which are in a constant state of development. OpenCloud is about testing new implementations in a real interconnected environment, exploring and accelerating solutions to problems that directly impact the business of buying and selling cloud services."
More than 20 new companies with a strong interest in shaping cloud services to serve their future business needs were briefed by CEF leadership on the OpenCloud Project and the role of the CEF in Santa Clara this week. Participation in the CEF also provides them an opportunity to work in close collaboration with leading service providers, cloud operators, equipment vendors, software developers and large enterprise customers.
Jeff Schmitz, CEF Chairman, commented, “The OpenCloud Project is now in the design stage. We are putting a range of use cases to the test, starting with remote relocation and multiplication of virtual machines across the cloud. The published results will reveal what does and does not work and will invite participation in addressing these challenges. Those who commit to the project now will help shape tomorrow and the $200Bn cloud services market.”
One of the newest recruits to the CEF, Bill Burns, President & CEO, Embrane, commented on this week’s event: “Global cloud connectivity is vital. There is concern that the industry is fragmented, with proprietary APIs and no consistency of the attributes that can be controlled and automated.
Today has shown us there is a way forward with real industry backing and we are excited to participate in the CEF’s OpenCloud Project. It’s also a great opportunity to work with other industry leaders, not just to see, but to influence what’s happening at the leading edge of cloud development.”