OGF Cloud-related Standards

The Open Grid Forum is an open global community committed to driving the rapid evolution and adoption of modern advanced applied distributed computing, including cloud, grid and associated storage, networking and workflow methods. The output products that result from this process codify best practices and standards that provide the basis for some of the largest and most powerful operational computing infrastructure systems in the world.

Market sector targets

OGF is focused on developing and promoting innovative scalable techniques, applications and infrastructures to improve productivity in the enterprise and within the international research, science and business communities. OGF accomplishes its work through open forums and events that build the community, explore trends, share optimal approaches, document findings and consolidate these results where appropriate into standards. OGF adheres to and endorses the OpenStand principles [1] for open standards development and is a signatory to the joint statement of affirmation of these principles.

OGF standards and related documents span a wide range of topics across the entire spectrum of advanced distributed computing and related areas. Here we only have room to highlight two of the most mature cloud-related topics. For more detail, see the OGF web site at https://www.ogf.org and explore the links there for other recent updates.

Interoperability and portability: existing and emerging standards that can foster trust in the cloud

Standards benefit users by eliminating or greatly reducing vendor lock-in, encouraging interoperability and permitting the selection and use of best-of-breed implementations of software components. Suppliers and providers of cloud and grid technology benefit by the increased assurance that such components will work together designed when deployed – which is especially important in high-usage and automated infrastructures. Software developers also benefit by making use of standard interfaces with well-understood and properly designed behaviors, allowing them to pursue innovation in software internals without having to redesign and re-implement common components for connectivity to other software.

As an example of recent widely adopted OGF output, the Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI) specification set [2] defines a general protocol and API applicable to many different cloud resource management tasks. OCCI began as a remote management API for IaaS model based Services, allowing for the development of interoperable tools for common tasks including deployment, autonomic scaling and monitoring. It has since evolved into a general-purpose flexible RESTful API framework with a strong focus on integration, portability, interoperability and innovation while still remaining highly extensible. OCCI is suitable to serve many other models in addition to IaaS, including e.g. PaaS and SaaS. The current release (v1.1) of OCCI has achieved a high degree of adoption and implementation in production in a wide variety of languages, projects, software products and application areas [3].

The OCCI working group is in the process of developing an update of the OCCI specifications as version 1.2 with improvements that result from nearly four years of successful field experience. This version will be backwards compatible with v1.1 and will include:

  • A new JSON rendering to accompany updates to the existing HTTP and text renderings Minor updates of current OCCI core infrastructure model and specification New extensions that will include PaaS support, notifications support and SLA support

In addition, the OCCI group is considering best methods for support of additional features, including monitoring, key management and security, interdomain networking and direct interface support for popular batch systems through the Distributed Resource Management Application API (DRMAA) standard [4].

Related to “safe and fair contracts”: cloud law, service level agreements (SLAs)

Among OGF's most widely adopted and impactful standards is the WS-Agreement and WS-Agreement Negotiation family of specifications for advanced machine-readable agreements [5. 6]. These specifications provide a language and a protocol for creation, management and monitoring of automated machine-readable service agreements in real time. They include provisions for advertising the capabilities of service providers and creating agreements based on templates, and for monitoring agreement compliance at runtime. They are among the most widely studied and adopted specifications in the industry of their type. Many independent implementations and a framework [7] exist for the use of these standards.

WS-Agreement extends the classical service discovery and usage model since it allows service consumers not only to discover and use services, but also to dynamically negotiate the quality with which the service is provided. Once the service consumer and the service provider achieve a common understanding of the requirements for service provisioning, an agreement or SLA is created that serves as a formal contract between the two parties and describes the rights and obligations of each party in the context of the service provisioning process. An agreement life cycle includes the creation, termination and monitoring of agreement states.

WS-Agreement Negotiation is a Web Services protocol for negotiating agreement offers between two parties, such as between a service provider and a service consumer. WS-Agreement Negotiation can also be used to renegotiate an existing agreement. To achieve this, it defines an extensible XML language for specifying agreement offers and agreement templates. These templates include a negotiation context and a set of negotiation constraints that are used for processing the negotiation. The specification also includes all schemas required for the negotiation and the necessary port types.

The WS-Agreement and WS-Agreement Negotiation specifications have been used as the basis for a wide variety of deployed software, including being incoroprated into the software output of many European-funded FP-series projects and in Horizon 2020 research projects, as well as several commercial products.

Is there a common vision and goal for international dialogue on the cloud, IoT or big data?

OGF regards cloud, IoT and Big Data technologies as part of the broad spectrum of advanced distributed computing and human interface methods. In practice in these and other related settings in the modern software development world, standards cannot be designed in isolation from feedback from real user, provider and developer usage patterns.

The OGF processes [8] for document and standards production have been refined to allow close, active communication among all of these contributors with processes that allow for due deliberation but that still provide options for rapid turn-around when needed and timely feedback from the community.

We are proud that OGF standards support infrastructures that are used to deliver billions of core-hours of computation annually, move and manage hundreds of petabytes of data routinely, and to control and configure some of the fastest research networks in the world on a daily production basis.

Links and references

Authors

Alan Sill, VP of Standards; Thijs Metsch, OCCI-WG leader; Wolfgang Ziegler, Applications Area Director - Open Grid Forum