To no surprise to industry watchers (and especially the small subset of them who read this blog), the DMTF has announced today (warning, PDF) that they are creating their very first “incubator” group and it is chartered with standardizing deployment, management and portability of Cloud systems. You’ve probably skipped it at the time (you’re forgiven), but you may now be motivated to go back and read this short analysis of the DMTF incubator process. And now you know why I bothered to look into this never-used two-year old process. Since it was DMTF-internal information, I couldn’t at the time explain that my motivation was the preparations under way for this Cloud computing incubator.
Since the press release talks about Cloud compatibility and since I am obviously in very self-referencing mood today, I have to point to this “reality check on Cloud portability” for a historical perspective.
Three things to notice in the charter (warning, PDF) of the incubator:
First and foremost, it explicitly takes a very IaaS-centric view of Cloud computing. And within that, a very VM-driven view. VMWare could have written it…
“Virtualization technology and the evolution from software packages that can be created and deployed as a collection of virtual images is becoming the primary focus for delivering and managing software solutions into enterprise customers today”. I guess the “is becoming” formulation provides enough wiggle room (interesting rhetorical twist that lets you make a prognostic and yet use the present tense) that one can’t really call them on it and ask how many enterprise software systems are actually delivered and managed as virtual machines today (see my colleague Adam’s view of what it will take).
Let’s next look at the description of the deliverables:
– Terms and definitions
Cloud Interoperability whitepaper
– Proposed OVF changes for cloud usage
– Proposed Profiles for management of resources exposed by a cloud
– Proposed changes to other DMTF standards
Requirements for trust for cloud resource management.
Work register(s) with appropriate alliance partners (See below)
We find the requisite “cloud taxonomy” (all the blog chatter about this a few months ago died without producing much alignment beyond the good old “IaaS, PaaS and SaaS”, or did I miss something). The interesting aspect to notice is the lack of new specification in the list. Just adjustments to the current ones (including OVF) and some profiling on top. I guess we are much closer to Cloud interoperability and portability than I thought! And the lessons form the past have been learned.
The third thing to notice is the name of the “interim co-chairs”. Who happen to be from VMWare and IBM. Who also happen to be the DMTF President and DMTF Chairman. In case you had any doubt, this is very high profile in DMTF. Especially for something that’s theoretically only an “incubator”. It may just be an egg, but there is a baby T-Rex in it.
Who’s missing in the party? Two groups of people. First, DMTF members who chose not to join (Oracle, CA, BMC…). And more importantly, the non-DMTF members who may nevertheless have a few ideas about Clouds: Google, Amazon, Salesforce and all the small Cloud pure-plays. You know, the kind of people who publish their docs in HTML rather than just PDF.
[Note: this is a quick first take written over lunch. More thoughts about the choice of the “incubator process” and the prospects for collaboration with other standards groups to follow, maybe as soon as tonight. — UPDATE: done]