Cloud Standards: Bottom Up, Not Top Down
There's a growing demand for standards to bring some sanity to the cloud computing market. Both buyers and sellers have their reasons to want common ways to do things such as transfer data from one cloud-based app or infrastructure to another. But the competition to be in control is fierce. "The Internet had the IETF, which wrangled people and protocols," says Mathew Lodge, VP of cloud services at VMware. "But in the cloud, the standardization landscape is so fragmented. There isn't a central body or forum or place, although lots of people and organizations are trying to be that."
Two main factors drive demand for standards. Cloud vendors want to show they can meet companies' security requirements, since that's the biggest roadblock to adoption. IT pros also see value in formalized standards for cloud services, according to the 400 respondents to our InformationWeek Standardization Survey: 89% rate standards for cloud infrastructure vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft Azure or Rackspace as extremely (53%) or somewhat (36%) helpful to their organizations; 85% say the same about software-as-a-service. Why? Would-be cloud customers want to avoid getting locked in to one vendor, so investments in cloud services now don't end up limiting future flexibility.