CHICAGO, 28 April 2009 The Open Grid Forum (OGF) has officially launched the Open Cloud Computing Interface Working Group (OCCI-WG). Its aim is the rapid development of a clean, open API for cloud infrastructure delivered on-demand. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is one of three primary segments of the emerging cloud industry in which compute, storage and network resources are provided as a service. The API will be based on existing service provider functionality, and will cover management of the entire life-cycle of virtual machines and other similar workloads (including virtual private servers and physical dedicated servers). It will as much as possible complement and build on existing work such as the Open Virtualisation Format (OVF), as well as serving as an integration point for others standards efforts including DMTF and SNIA.
Craig Lee, OGF's President, stated: "OCCI is an extremely important development that will define a much needed, open standard API in the cloud space. This is, however, just the first step of many. We are committed to working with all stakeholders and organizations to move the ball forward. As always, OGF strives to facilitate productive technical environments for work across the spectrum of distributed computing technologies."
Existing specifications for cloud infrastructure services (including the Amazon EC2 API and Sun Cloud APIs) are provided by single vendors and OCCI will be the first multi-vendor initiative to deliver a royalty-free, open standard API. This will improve cloud computing interoperability and increase competition in the space, facilitating the emergence of a marketplace of services, which will in turn increase customer choice and decrease the risk of vendor lock-in. OCCI will also be important enabler for the creation of hybrid cloud architectures that bridge multiple data centers and cloud services, through adapters and tooling that support the open API. This and related open standards will lower the cost of migration to and from public clouds, delivering automated management of peak capacity, minimizing outages and reducing costs.
OCCI will rely heavily on existing Internet standards and work already done by cloud providers, so as it is easy to both implement and consume. This will benefit software vendors and service consumers alike. For example software vendors who wish to deliver their applications as a service will find it easier to take advantage of multiple cloud infrastructure providers for hosting and management. This lowers the barriers to creating innovative cloud applications for end user desktops, web browsers and mobile Internet devices, as well as automated systems for the on demand scaling of resources that are billed on a utility computing basis.
The working group is an open body with representatives from enterprise end users through practitioners and vendors. The OGF’s open process is comparable to bodies such as IETF and the complete specification along with any companion documents will be publicly and freely available in accordance with OGF’s Intellectual Property Rules. The OCCI working group will extend, contribute to and assist the efforts of other groups throughout the process and the examination of existing APIs as well as the development of requirements through the collection of use cases, will ensure that the group is able to rapidly produce a technical implementation. A core team of four coordinators and a dozen contributors, as well as over 100 working group members, have already made significant progress towards this goal.
”Standards are an important step on the path to mainstream adoption of cloud computing,” said Chris Smith, OGF’s VP of Standards. “Open specifications give consumers the confidence they need to leverage cloud computing infrastructures, without having to worry about being locked in to a particular vendor.”
In addition to regular conference calls and email discussions, the group will be represented at the OGF 26 event in Chapel Hill, NC, USA (May 26-29, 2009) and October's OGF 27 event in Banff, Alberta, Canada (October 12-16, 2009). An implementable draft will be available at OGF 26 and a final version by OGF 27. The group is open for discussion at http://www.occi-wg.org/ and is also soliciting contributions, feedback and ideas from the cloud and grid community.
OGF is the premier world-wide community for the development and adoption of best practices and standards for applied distributed computing technologies. OGF's open forum and process enable communities of users, infrastructure providers, and software developers from around the globe in research, business and government to work together on key issues and promote interoperable solutions.