Thursday, June 24, 2010

Which Cloud Standards Matter?

The SDForum Cloud Services SIG June meeting was a panel session with multiple speakers devoted to the question "Which Cloud Standards Matter?". The answer came through loud an clear as speaker after speaker discussed Open Virtualization Format (OVF). No other standard got more than a mention or so.

OVF is a container that defines the contents of a virtual machine. It is simply a set of file in a directory and an XML descriptor file. The standard is managed by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). Panel speaker Priya Ketkar of Abiquo showed OVF being used to move a virtual machine from one cloud service provider to another. Winston Bumpus, the final panel speaker, is President of the of the DMTF and Director of Director of Standards Architecture for VMWare. He made a convincing case for DMTF and its management of the OVF standard.

Another panel member James Urquhart of Cisco mentioned several standards including OVF, however he spent considerable time on XMPP, surely the most unlikely standard for cloud computing. I discussed XMPP some time ago. It is a standard for exchanging instant messages and Twitter feeds between large service providers. While it is a useful standard I do not see its place in cloud computing. If you can explain how XMPP helps cloud computing, please enlighten me.

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