Framework to define standards for a workable Cloud Ethernet service

James Walker, President, CloudEthernet Forum (CEF) announced that the CEF is starting the vital work on defining the CloudE 1.0 standards.

“What are the basic standards that need to be met for a workable Cloud Ethernet service?” asked Walker. “A car is not a car without certain basic components – wheels, engine, steering etc – so the industry must decide a set of vendor-neutral networking criteria without which cloud services cannot realistically be supported. This is a co-operative process – we’re recruiting the brightest brains and most experienced practitioners to lead each of our five fundamentals, because we need to address the challenges with full 360 degree vision.”

Walker was referring to the Five Fundamentals – Virtualization, Automation, Security, Programmability and Analytics – under which the CEF’s work is currently grouped. Virtualization is Co-Chaired by Tom Davies from Citrix’s Cloud Platforms Group; Automation by Jay Wampold from Chef; Security by Dr Hongwen Zhang from Wedge Networks; Programmability by Mehmet Toy from Comcast Cable; while an Analytics Co-Chair has yet to be appointed.

Mike Tighe, Executive Director of Data Services at Comcast Business, commended the Five Fundamental as a framework, adding: “What’s more, I’m really pleased that the CEF is basing the work on realistic use cases. No ivory tower stuff – they’re going straight for practical issues relevant to today’s business needs.”

Work is already being done on defining reference architecture for cloud definitions, together with discussion with existing standards bodies to make sure that the CEF’s work is in alignment with theirs. The aim this year is to decide initial, fundamental criteria for Cloud Ethernet to be called “CloudE 1.0”.

“This is vitally important work if we are to avoid cloud fragmentation” added Walker. “The shift to cloud computing is as fundamental and far-reaching as the shift from mainframe to personal computer that did so much to boost business in the 80s. But initially what hindered the transition was the rapid fragmentation of the PC market into rival operating systems. The same could happen to cloud services under rival cloud providers – unless we can define global standards for an industry wide global open cloud environment. CloudE 1.0 is our first step on the path to the open cloud”

Michael Howard, Infonetics Co-Founder and Principal Analyst confirmed the urgency of getting this right now, saying: “In the long view, cloud services business is just beginning, however it is expanding fast and could go in many directions quickly without standards. Today cloud services are dominated by a few big players, including AWS, Google, and Microsoft, but many telecom service providers are entering this business. The cloud services business today does not need another ‘platform war’, it needs a standards-based, open cloud environment.”