Industry association IEEE has launched an Initiative which proposes the development of a guide and standard for cloud computing.
Speaking to thinq_ (opens in new tab) the organisation's chairman of all things cloudy David Bernstein explained why common industry-wide standards would be essential to the development of cloud computing.
Bernstein said that many governments and organisations had highlighted a lack of reference material for the cloud, and that the presence of a published reference document would help the industry.
He also said that there are a number of publications out there from industry trade associations, which some see as standards which are designed to “serve industry” alone.
"We believe there are many ways to do things, which ensures competition and serves the industry well. This applies to other areas, such as building computers,” Bernstein said. “There are multiple ways to make one, but only a few of them work really well."
Asked what the benefits for consumers and for the industry as a whole would be from the introduction and adoption of common standards, Bernstein said the best way to highlight the advantages is to compare them to the Internet when it first started.
A number of service providers such as AOL were available, but the consumer experience at the time was not as good as it is now, because there was a lack of standards for interoperability. The lack of standards for routers, email, the web, domain names, HTTP and HTML, for example, meant that some content was not viewable by all.
The situation improved as standards were approved and adopted, and the same kinds of benefits will be seen today by users of the cloud – primarily interoperability, which means “better choices, better access”, and greater mobility.
Asked how organisation would attract industry groups to take on board its standards - and, indeed, if IEEE could force companies and organisations to adopt them, Bernstein said it wouldn't be “handcuffing people and taping them to their chairs” until they embrace the organisation's ideas.
"The standards are entirely voluntary for all considered, including users, vendors and participants,” he said. "Anyone is free to adopt them if they find value in it”. Since many cloud companies are participating in the development of the standards, he argues, they are more likely to take them on board.