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OpenCloud project set to bridge the gap in data centers

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A new movement has sprung up to create openness and interoperability across the cloud, data center and network services industries.

On Monday Comcast, Verizon and Tata hosted the first meeting of the OpenCloud Project, a live test environment that forms the basis for ‘a revolution in validation’.

The OpenCloud project is sponsored by the Cloud Ethernet Forum (CEF) and is open to all companies worldwide.

So far luminaries include Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Comcast, Ciena, Cisco, Citrix, CoreSite, Ericsson, Equinix, Juniper, HP, Huawei, Interxion, PCCW Global, Spirent Communications, Tata Communications, Telx and Verizon.

According to the CEF its members have a number of issues they want to settle.

Many complain about the difficulty of obtaining meaningful end-to-end service level agreements (SLAs), as SLAs rarely cover the entire diaspora of network, computing, storage and data center environments.

The subsequent ‘patchwork quilt’ of SLAs is effectively useless, they complain, as it fails to cover the whole system.

At the other end of the scale, SLAs frequently fail to reflect the impact on the system of a small component failure.

Other complaints include the gap in provision speed between instant cloud resources and network services that take a month to be delivered.

CEF members want a direct link between the provision of both networks and virtual resources.

Members are also hoping to tackle the lack of unity among them over compliance, regulation and privacy laws and have called for standardized systems of unified risk management and auditable processes.

Many complain that it’s impossible to enforce security policy properly when there are so many variables across the different suppliers and their product components.

The lack of a single view of performance and response to traffic spikes and moving workloads is impeding the take up of cloud, according to the CEF.

According to CEF president James Walker the root cause is that providers of network, cloud and data center services, as well as enterprises, all use different APIs and interfaces to communicate.

The CEF will have it work cut out to address the issues in time, he said.

“Other standards bodies had the space to shape standards in advance of market penetration, but cloud computing is already surging ahead in every direction,” Walker said.

According to Walker the problem is that the technologies powering advancement are evolving quickly themselves.

CEF chairman Jeff Schmitz said the OpenCloud Project is now in the design stage.

“Those who commit to the project now will help shape tomorrow and the US$200bn cloud services market,” Schmitz said.

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