New organisation set to drive open cloud standards

Cloud computing

An organisation is set to drive open standards to meet the balance between consumers and vendors of cloud services, in the same way that open source finds a balance between proprietary and free software.

Modelled after the Open Source Initiative, the Open Cloud Initiative, which has just held its first AGM, is looking to promote open standards in the cloud community.

It has published a set of principles (which are currently in a final public comment period) spelling out the requirements for open cloud including interoperability, no barriers for entry or exit, no discrimination and an open process for collaboration.

The OCI has had a long gestation, , having been founded in March 2009 in response to the row over the proposed Open Cloud Manifesto, a concept that had led to wrangling between vendors.

The idea of the OCI was to avoid those sort of squabbles but there had been a long legal process in setting up OCI as a non-profit organisation according to Californian law, with a view to becoming a 501(c)(3) charity. In addition, the organisation's president and driving force, Sam Johnston, changed jobs, moving from Google to Equinix as director of cloud services and has now started picking up the pieces.

Johnston, however, stresses that it's not a one-man-band. "We have some key personalities involved in the initiative, people like John Mark Walker, Marc Fleischmann, Simon Wardley, Thomas Uhl and Sam Ramji for example. "We have a competent board of directors but this is about building a community it's the community of providers and consumers that ultimately decides."

He said that the OCI would be able to provide guidance for customers going down the open source route. "Users will be able to make buying decisions based on OCI accreditation and the Open Cloud logo," he added.

He said that this wasn't a holy war and there was a place for proprietary software. "We don't have a problem with proprietary software at all," said Johnston,"though we want to see an interoperable open source implementation".

He pointed out that products and services would not have to be open source to meet the demands of the OCI. "Services like Google Docs would probably be found by the community to satisfy open cloud principles, provided they made data available in open standard formats like HTML, ODF or PDF, over open standard interfaces like AtomPub." he said.

The OCI is currently updating its website preparing for a formal launch in time for OSCON 2011.

Max Cooter

Max Cooter is a freelance journalist who has been writing about the tech sector for almost forty years.

At ITPro, Max’s work has primarily focused on cloud computing, storage, and migration. He has also contributed software reviews and interviews with CIOs from a range of companies.

He edited IDG’s Techworld for several years and was the founder-editor of CloudPro, which launched in 2011 to become the UK’s leading publication focused entirely on cloud computing news.

Max attained a BA in philosophy and mathematics at the University of Bradford, combining humanities with a firm understanding of the STEM world in a manner that has served him well throughout his career.