IEEE Charged with Profiling the Cloud


“What exactly is cloud computing?” Two years ago, the way the vast majority of Americans approached that question was ridiculous – although perhaps that had as much to do with the technology world’s failure to properly communicate the nature of the cloud as it did with consumers’ disinterest in understanding the backend of the web. Regardless where we want to lay the blame, selected highlights of a 2012 Wakefield Research survey designed by Citrix were as follows:

  • 19 of 20 respondents (95%) who said they don’t regularly access cloud systems were incorrect.
  • Three out of five (59%) believe that businesses are moving toward a 100% cloud-based work environment.
  • Two out of five (40%) said that it would be beneficial (in a cloud-dominated world) not to have to get dressed for work in the morning.
  • One in three said that the technology enables them to interact easily with individuals that they don’t necessarily want to see face-to-face.

We could look back at the 2012 data as a quaint reminder of our not-too-distant past. However, confusion is still prevalent in 2014, as indicated by Cloud Strategy’s September coverage of private, public, and hybrid models.

Tesh Durvasula reported that lack of understanding about the different ways in which companies can use cloud (particularly the private and hybrid options) is still a major hurdle. Of course firms want to take advantage of the incredible power savings and elasticity, which is why predictions are in cloud’s favor: McKinsey forecasts that the bulk of applications will be Software as a Service by 2025; and IDC expects that by the end of 2014, the cloud market will have grown 25%, to more than $100 billion.

Although cloud is expected to grow strongly, Durvasula notes that a “major hurdle in adoption” is security: more than two out of three (69%) individuals surveyed by 451 Research in 2013 lacked confidence in the security mechanisms of the public cloud. Those respondents need to know that there are other options, private clouds that can completely isolate their data and hybrid ones that combine the two approaches.

Confusion about the cloud is not just related to definitions and understanding the cloud types, though. It’s broader than that. The fact is, many people think of the cloud as a big mess. Vivienne Rojas noted in the ISO’s announcement of its new cloud standards that they are desperately needed so that enterprises don’t “end up with complicated multicloud deployments that become unmanageable.” The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SAE), like the ISO, is developing standards for the cloud industry so that confusion is curbed.

IEEE & the Need for Standards

In a summary of the standards it is currently developing, the IEEE Standards Association (a subsidiary of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) noted that its working groups represent worldwide decision-making from experts across the globe. By incorporating technology heavy-hitters from 160+ nations, the organization aims to foster inventiveness, broaden the global reach of the most proven and trusted systems, and serve as a watchdog for consumer security and health. The projects underway at the IEEE-SA represent a broad and unified effort to improve the way that technologies operate, the features they contain, and the extent to which they can be integrated with one another.

The structure of the IEEE distributes the development of standards literature across various working groups that each handle various elements of the technology. Below are a pair of documents the IEEE is creating.

IEEE P2301 Working Group – Cloud Profiles

This team is creating the Guide for Cloud Portability and Interoperability Profiles (CPIP), which will allow both providers and consumers to choose software interfaces, file formats, and workflow conventions that are aligned with rationally, objectively delineated international standards. The profiles listed in the guide will each meet legitimate needs for cloud systems.

The reason this guide will be helpful is that the cloud has a plethora of components, all of them tied to certain interfaces, formats, and conventions that might each have their own distinct language, codification, and organization. By coherently compiling a series of profiles for each of these categories, both providers and users will benefit with easier migration and more consistent compatibility.

IEEE P2302 Working Group – Intercloud

This committee is creating the Standard for Intercloud Interoperability and Federation (SIIF), which creates a common understanding of network topology, roles, and control policies for the integration of multiple clouds. Under the umbrella of topology are the clouds themselves, roots, gateways (components that allow data to flow from one cloud to another) and exchanges (elements that allow registration and other control parameters to pass to other clouds).

The goal of this project is primarily transparency, so that users have access to an easily understood, streamlined experience that is flexible enough to accommodate rapid growth.

Goodbye, Confusion

At Superb, we like to say that we “take the confusion out of the cloud.” We want all of our technologies to be as straightforward as possible because we have full confidence in our hosting packages. In business since 1996, we believe in standards: our staff is ITIL Certified, our data centers are SSAE 16 Audited, and our business is ISO 9001:2008 Certified & Registered. Test out our cloud today!

By Kent Roberts