Interoperability in the context of cloud computing includes the ability of a cloud service customer to interact with a cloud service and exchange information according to a prescribed method and obtain predictable results. Typically, interoperability implies that the cloud service operates according to an agreed specification, one that is possibly standardized. The cloud service customer should be able to use widely available ICT facilities in-house when interacting with the cloud services, avoiding the need to use proprietary or highly specialized software.
Interoperability also includes the ability for one cloud service to work with other cloud services, either where the cloud service of one provider works directly with a cloud service of another provider, or where a cloud service customer uses multiple different cloud services in some form of composition to achieve their business goals (This is also known as federation).
A truly interoperable cloud will encourage potential cloud customers to on-board, safe in the knowledge that they can change providers, or use multiple providers, without significant technical challenges or effort. This will expand the size of markets in which cloud providers operate. Additionally, if standards are suitably defined, the unique selling propositions of cloud providers can all be exposed. Interoperability is a significant challenge in cloud computing, but if addressed appropriately will offer new business opportunities for cloud customers and providers alike. - Cloud Standards Coordination Final Report
The sixth cloud interoperability workshop, being the last of such workshops under the auspices of the CloudWATCH project, brought together the results and outcomes of all previous workshops, the work conducted in WP2, and in other tasks in WP4. Through the numerical analysis conducted in WP2, which has also brought an online self assessment tool to life, WP4 was able to take the project clustering further and formulate three straw man standard profile documents that bring together standards addressing the respective needs of self assessment participants.
- Total control over deployed applications
- Elastic resource consumption based on real needs
Interoperability is a basic requirement for cloud services. It fosters fair competition and is fundamental to integrating components, so that an ongoing innovation process is possible. But interoperability demands common technical and legal parameters, which are related to open standards and governance.
The Cloud Interoperability Plugfest series (or "Cloud Plugfests" for short) originated out of community-based interoperability efforts by a variety of organizations in 2011 and was further developed into a cooperative venue to exchange information and to encourage interoperability on implementations of relevant cloud standards.
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.
With the first workshop already initiating a seed portfolio focusing on the technical interoperability of Cloud services, the second workshop aimed at extending the reach to EC-funded cloud related projects from FP7 Call 8 & Call 10 and others. To this extent, the workshop was embedded into the DG CONNECT E2 concertation meeting held in Brussels in March 2014.
The first workshop was held at the EGI Technical Forum in Madrid in September 2013 aimed at defining principles and specifications for the creation of an open schema to certify organisations and services against existing Cloud requirements and technical Cloud profiles. The workshop was based on existing material, such as ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 17021:2011, ISO/IEC 27006:2011, ISO 19011, existing cloud specific certification schema, such as NIST FedRAMP, and under development and cloud specific certification schemas such as Cloud Security Alliance Open Certification Framework.