Before promising young technologies are eventually absorbed into the enterprise IT ecosystem, a certain level of maturation and standardization must take place. The cloud computing industry climbed several rungs on that ladder last week as the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) gained international designation for its Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) specification.
This industry-developed open standard was ratified the Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1), a collaborative effort made by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). According to Computerworld, the CDMI specification creates an interface for accessing cloud-hosted data by preserving metadata regarding the information companies are storing in the virtual environment.
By tracing the trail of metadata, users can quickly retrieve critical information assets regardless of location. Additionally, CDMI defines service level expectations ranging from how long data should be retained to whether copies must be geographically distributed across different servers.
"With the metadata piece, it's also complementary with existing interfaces," SNIA chairman Wayne Adams told Computerworld. "The standard can be used with Amazon, for file or block data and it can use any number of storage protocols, such as NFS, CIFS or iSCSI."
This approach has clear benefits to both vendor and customer. Cloud hosts can bring their services to market faster, and at less expense, thanks to the open standard and its interoperable design. By relying on this industry-accepted framework, vendors may also be able to temper a prospective customer's data security concerns.
From an end-user perspective, the standardization offers an improved level of confidence in the craftsmanship of third-party infrastructure while reducing the training time associated with new services and promoting greater portability between environments.
"Standards from industry consortia such as SNIA are absolutely key to removing the roadblocks that customers are seeing in cloud computing," Neuralytix managing director Ben Woo explained. "CDMI makes it not only possible for customer to move data from one cloud to another, it makes it secure and easy. Adoption of the CDMI standard by cloud storage service providers should pick up significantly now that ISO and IEC have adopted it."
As Forrester Research analyst Laura Nelson noted, OpenStack was one of several major initiatives to incorporate CDMI into its plans prior to its eventual ISO accreditation. But now that the interface has support from both an influential user base and the standardization community, SNIA's prized project could be a key driver for consistency and interoperability between cloud computing environments.
Cloud Computing News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro