Cloud standards demonstrated in real-world settings at 15th Cloud Plugfest

At the Cloud Plugfest December 2014 in London, Primeur Magazine (original article) had the opportunity to interview Alan Sill from Texas Tech University. Alan Sill is Director of the National Science Foundation Cloud and Autonomic Computing Center in the USA. The Utility and Cloud Computing Conference which was held December 11-12, 2014 in London, is a multi-dimensional and multi-topic conference on Cloud computing, running the interoperability demo days and Cloud Plugfest. This event is oriented towards hands-on demonstrations of real-world interoperability in significant settings implementing standards and software in a modern Cloud setting.

The focus of the interoperability demo days is to extend the previous work that the researchers did in the Cloud Plugfest series. This is the 15th Cloud Plugfest. The Cloud Plugfests are developer-oriented events that are designed to allow people to work together and actually trade laptops and not be stuck, listening to PowerPoint presentations all the time.

This has been a very successful series and now the organizers are extending beyond that to try to get into this the idea of tutorials, to have interoperability demos that not only developers and experts can work on but people who need to learn about these techniques actually can come to and take away something that they can use in their own environment, whether it's a commercial environment or an academic environment or a Cloud industry setting.

One of the reasons why interoperability is important is that there are an increasing variety of tools. There is a huge range of tools available now. In Cloud computing there are so many different techniques that it's hard to integrate and support many of them at once. By having an event that focuses on making many things work at the same time, or at least significant portions of the Cloud universe work together, the organizers draw out those aspects of the work that can allow you to integrate and put things together in your own setting.

One of the things Alan Sill does in the Cloud and Autonomic Computing Center at Texas Tech is to work with industry to focus on end-to-end solutions to their problems. It are not just peaces, it is not just one little bit of technology but a complete solution from start to finish for a particular business problem. By focusing on interoperability Alan Sill and his colleagues help to identify solutions that can be used in that kind of setting. In fact, those are settings that you will find in the real world in almost any actual application of Cloud computing.

There are a variety of standards that have been developed. Few of them have reached a real, mature stage. The TOSCA (Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications) standard from Oasis Open, the CDMI standard from the Storage Networking Industries Association, the Open Cloud Computing Interface from the Open Grid Forum, and the Cloud Infrastructure Management Interface from the Distributed Management Task Force, are all mature, real-world standards with multiple implementations in place now.

By having these events where we teach people how to use these standards in real-world settings to produce real solutions helps push the adoption of these standards into a much more mature and much more coherent state. One of the things Alan Sill is most excited about is having multiple people showing up at the Cloud Plugfest with their real-world applications from previous Cloud Plugfests and from previous tutorials where they have actually produced running interoperable software.

In this interview series that you will be viewing you will going to hear from those speakers from their direct experience with these standards. Alan Sill hopes that you will find them very interesting.

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Author: Ad Emmen