New Cloud standards are on the way

The SNIA is seeking to create a cloud storage initiative which will make increased standardization of systems and models possible

Whether we’re talking about computers, IT, or the development of Western medicine and science in general; the fact is – standards exist to create order (so progress can be achieved). The evidences of the positive effects of standardization are obvious when you use Western medicine as an example. Simply put, with each step forward that’s made, mistakes are minimized, risks are averted. The simple act of requiring physicians to wash their hands before procedures (instituted by Ignaz Semmelweis during the 1800’s) seems to have had a very significant effect on the eventual development of the entire field of medicine. Basically, standards are generally good for growth.

This is just one of the reasons why the prospect of having some new cloud standards in place is such a big deal, however. To be honest with you, the situation we have going on right now in the cloud computing world is a slightly turbulent one. Sure, there are plenty of services of each type (IaaS, PaaS, & SaaS) out there which work; multiple vendors for each too. Yes, they seem to be functional as well, giving their users the experience they’re after.

But what we should be wondering is, how many opportunities are being missed on a daily basis because of problems with interoperability? The truth is, we need to be able to unite all the different aspects of cloud computing into one complete and accommodating system at some point (and the sooner the better).

Once again, individual pieces of the cloud, in the form of applications, services and even types of user data, need to be accessible alongside newer and emerging forms of cloud technologies. Individuals and businesses need to be able to build their clouds (and access their data) in the manner they see fit, with the apps and technologies that they want to use. If we have to go through a lengthy “compliancy dance” every single time a new cloud service, app or concept emerges (the time it takes to make it available in a commercial capacity) then we’re really just restraining ourselves, aren’t we?

Things seem to be changing now, as the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) is taking steps to establish a system for cloud storage, called CSI (or, the Cloud Storage Initiative). The first steps involve collecting terminology and creating a definitive reference for all cloud computing terms. Next, they are to begin actually compiling reports / white papers, and other things like demonstrated cases / examples, and tech specs for various models. Say what you like, but it sounds like a cloud version of ITIL to me…. which we could certainly use right now.

Another concern is the ability to begin laying the foundation for a complete cloud computing standard which would allow almost any types of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS services to be used interchangeably. Obviously, this is something that’s a bit far off in the future perhaps, but this is the type of pattern or trend that we often see emerging (increased standardization leading to higher levels of integration among all components).

But it is really that highly doubtful to assume that great progress will be achieved? After all, we actually see the results of standardization all around us, the most glaringly obvious example of it being the computer or device that you are holding or using to read this right now. It could be argued that it was a certain type of specialized and standardized thought that led to the creation of first computer.

Imagine the insane world we would live in if computers or devices were lacking standardized inputs and connectors like USB or Ethernet ports. Think about all the standards surrounding electronics and electrical engineering, which helped to forge and even make internal computer hardware possible, from a developmental standpoint.

We could be standing on the edge of an entirely astounding cloud revolution, something made possible only through standardization. Exponential growth is what we may very well be looking at, which is almost mind-boggling when you consider the inherent (statistical) capabilities of cloud computing itself. Needless to say, now is a good time to be in the cloud.

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