The hybrid cloud may be a hot topic with adoption growing faster than ever but should we be concerned about a lack of established standards?

What is the Hybrid Cloud?

Private clouds, whether owned or leased, generally consist of closed IT infrastructures accessible only to a business which then makes available resources to it’s own internal customers. Private clouds are often home to core applications where control is essential to the business, they can also offer economies of scales where companies can afford larger, long term investments and have the ability to either run these environments themselves or pay for a managed service. Private cloud investments tend to operate on a CAPEX model.
Public clouds are shared platforms for services made available by third parties to their customers on a pay-as-you go basis. Public cloud environments are best suited to all but the most critical and expensive applications to run. They offer the significant benefit of not requiring large upfront capital investments because they operate on an OPEX model.
Hybrid clouds on the other hand are made up of a mix of both types of resources working together across secured, private network connections. They can offer the benefits of both models but run the risk of additional complexity and can lessen the benefits of working at scale.

Enter the Multi-Cloud

With an ever growing number of businesses seeking to adopt a multi-cloud / multi-vendor strategy, the potential benefits of this new take are clear. It’s an approach which offers increased resiliency and the best in feature sets while minimizing lock-in; albeit at the cost of having to manage more complex infrastructure and billing structures.
However in the absence of standards, cloud providers and hardware vendors have been building proprietary stacks with little common ground which is stymying the movement of applications and workloads across clouds and represents a challenge for business up-take.
So it seems clear that a gap in cloud computing standards and insufficient overlap among hardware vendors of private cloud technologies has been hampering adoption something which needs to be addressed.

Standards are Coming However

Generally speaking standards follow market forces, particularly where the pace of innovation is fairly rapid, in a market of this size however they will undoubtedly catch up eventually. Case in point a number of standards are expected be finalized reasonably soon and reach the industry inside the next couple of years from organizations such as the IEEE Standards Association, Cloud Standards Coordination, The Open Networking User Group and others which will be a welcome development and a significant asset for the industry.
Some additional information about these organizations.
– IEEE Standards Association
Developing Standards for Cloud Computing
“The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is a leading consensus building organization that nurtures, develops and advances global technologies, through IEEE. We bring together a broad range of individuals and organizations from a wide range of technical and geographic points of origin to facilitate standards development and standards related collaboration. With collaborative thought leaders in more than 160 countries, we promote innovation, enable the creation and expansion of international markets and help protect health and public safety. Collectively, our work drives the functionality, capabilities and interoperability of a wide range of products and services that transform the way people live, work and communicate.” – IEEE Standards Association.
– Cloud Standards Customer Council

“The Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC) is an end user advocacy group dedicated to accelerating cloud’s successful adoption, and drilling down into the standards, security and interoperability issues surrounding the transition to the cloud. The Council separates the hype from the reality on how to leverage what customers have today and how to use open, standards-based cloud computing to extend their organizations. CSCC provides cloud users with the opportunity to drive client requirements into standards development organizations and deliver materials such as best practices and use cases to assist other enterprises.
Cloud Standards Customer Council founding enterprise members include IBM, Kaavo, CA Technologies, Rackspace & Software AG. More than 500 of the world’s leading organizations have already joined the Council, including Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, Boeing, State Street Bank, Aetna, AARP, AT&T, Ford Motor Company, Lowe’s, and others.” – Cloud Standards Customer Council.
– The Open Networking User Group’s Mission Statement and History
“The ONUG Hybrid Cloud Working Group framework seeks to commoditize infrastructure and increase choice among enterprise buyers of public cloud services. The goal is to have a framework, which identifies a minimum set of common issues and collective requirements that will swing leverage into the hands of enterprise buyers of hybrid cloud services.
The ONUG Mission is to enable greater choice and options for IT business leaders by advocating for open interoperable hardware and software-defined infrastructure solutions that span across the entire IT stack, all in an effort to create business value.”
The Open Networking User Group (ONUG) was created in early 2012 as the result of a discussion between Nick Lippis, of the Lippis Report, and Ernest Lefner, about the need for a smaller, more user-focused open networking conference. From there, the two brought together the founding board of IT leaders from the likes of Bank of America, Fidelity Investments, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, and Gap Inc. Managed by Nick, the board worked together to create the first ONUG event, held on February 13, 2013 at the Fidelity Auditorium in Boston, Massachusetts. – The Open Networking Users group.

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