Welcome!

CMS Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Rishi Bhargava, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Carmen Gonzalez

Blog Feed Post

Now is the conference of our discontent…

image

Talking about standards apparently brings out some very strong feelings in a whole lot of people.

From “it’s too early” to “we need standards now” to “meh, standards will evolve where they are necessary”, some of the discussions at CloudConnect this week were tinged with a bit of hostility toward, well, standards in general and the folks trying to define them. In some cases the hostility was directed toward the fact that we don’t have any standards yet.

[William Vambenepe has a post on the subject, having been one of the folks hostility was directed toward during one session ]

Lee Badger, Computer Scientist at NIST, during a panel on “The Standards Real Users Need Now” offered a stark reminder that standards take time. He pointed out the 32 months it took to define and agree on consensus regarding the ASCII standard and the more than ten years it took to complete POSIX. Then Lee reminded us that “cloud” is more like POSIX than ASCII. Do we have ten years? Ten years ago we couldn’t imagine that we’d be here with Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing, so should we expect that in ten years we’ll still be worried about cloud computing?

Probably not.

The problem isn’t that people don’t agree standards are a necessary thing, the problem appears to be agreeing on what needs to be standardized and when and, in some cases, who should have input into those standards. There are at least three different constituents interested in standards, and they are all interested in standards for different reasons which of course leads to different views on what should be standardized.


WHAT are we STANDARDIZING?

And while everyone talks about these nebulous “standards”, very few explain what those standards are. Are they APIs? Are they protocols on the order of IP and TCP? Are they data exchange formats? Or are they properly the standardization of policies and information into a portable metadata that can be used to exchange information such as SLA and infrastructure service requirements that can be packaged easily with the application for portability and that can be interpreted by infrastructure to provision and execute such services?

Most folks seem interested in “cloud” standards as a means to achieve portability across and interoperability between cloud computing implementations, both on and off-premise. But once the “edge” of the cloud is penetrated, the mechanisms become, well, cloudy and obscured and are often portrayed more as a “black box” than as the integral piece of the interoperability puzzle they are. image

Applications are not islands; they rely on infrastructure to provide everything from IP addresses to packet and data filtering to scalability to performance enhancements and security. These infrastructure services must necessarily be a part of the "portability plan” that allows applications to migrate from one environment to another and still behave as expected. The concern is that standardization inside the cloud environment might (a) restrict innovation and (b) expose the “secret sauce” of individual providers, rendering their investments and innovations moot.

As explained by Krishna Sankar during a subsequent panel at CloudConnect on “Where are standards going?”, it is not so much that the interfaces, the APIs, become standardized as it is that the policy and configuration metadata be based on a standardized model. Doing so allows components from multiple vendors to implement specific services and support in  innovative ways without compromising the ability of providers and organizations from migrating application dependent on those components. It is the model that is important and must be standardized, not necessarily the means by which that model is exchanged and transported. Ideally this metadata would correlate closely to what consumers of cloud computing are looking to standardize – namely the means by which capabilities and prices and services can be discovered and compared. James Urquhart’s pCard proposal heavily invests itself in a common, standardized metadata model that describes both capabilities and services in a way that makes it possible for consumers and ultimately applications themselves to query, compare, and choose from across cloud computing providers in a dynamic and autonomous way.


CLOUDS cannot be BLACK BOXES

It is tempting to view cloud computing implementations as black boxes, particularly when they are of the “public” ilk. But surveys, polls, and research continues to offer strong evidence that organizations are not solely interested in “public” cloud computing, but are also interested in “private” and hybrid cloud computing models. This means that standardization inside at the infrastructure service and component layers must be considered as important as the interfaces to the cloud computing environments themselves, lest implementers suffer the same problems as providers: lock-in and inability to change “providers”.

In the case of infrastructure, specifically the focus of much of Infrastructure 2.0, is the necessity of standardization not only to address concerns regarding vendor lock-in, but to make cloud computing work the way it was intended. Without standardization the cost of managing such volatile environments will certainly become as prohibitive as IPAM (IP Address Management) today, and thus the “benefits” of cloud computing would surely be lost to organizations as they struggled to integrate, automate, and orchestrate their environment into a dynamic infrastructure capable of automatically dealing with the rapid rate of change associated with dynamic and virtualized environments.

The “secret sauce” of the provider, and ultimately any business, are the processes they employ to perform business, whether technologically or on a product level. It is the processes that ultimately define a “cloud” and thus it is those operational processes that are the source of efficiency gains and a fluid architecture. Those processes cannot be automated without a common model for policy metadata that provides the base information necessary for infrastructure to configure itself, to take action, to interpret SLAs and work toward meeting them.

We don’t need more APIs. We need a model. That’s what we should be standardizing. And not just at the cloud interface layer, but inside at the infrastructure service layer.


Related blogs & articles:

Follow me on Twitter    View Lori's profile on SlideShare  friendfeed icon_facebook

AddThis Feed Button Bookmark and Share

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...