Earlier today, the DMTF announced the creation of the “Open Standards Cloud Incubator” group which will specifically focus on developing a set of informational specifications for cloud resource management.  This is one of what will probably be a number of important efforts to drive additional value and choice for customers.  This particular effort may catch the eye of folks on the enterprise side, as managing applications and infrastructure that spans premises and cloud is a very real topic of conversation.  In the end, success in the cloud for most enterprises will include the ability to utilize a broad and diverse set of computational resources, some of which may be implemented very differently from others. A sensible goal of the DMTF is to reduce the friction across different vendor offerings in these datacenter scenarios.

As we have said previously, Microsoft will approach cloud standardization from multiple angles:

·         Practical interoperability – Microsoft-based services should be easily interoperable in practice with a diverse set of applications, platforms, and other clouds.  We envision that our customers will integrate applications across multiple data centers, for example, having some of the component services running on Microsoft technology while other components run on Amazon, Google, Salesforce, or other data centers.  Microsoft will work with other cloud vendors to produce guidance on building applications, to define the interoperability protocols, and to test real-world interoperability.  

·         Standards--Microsoft will continue to invest in organizations, like DMTF, that help push the interoperability state of the art forward.  Management is a great example of this, as there will likely need to be further evolution of the management protocols, such as WS-Management, to add cloud-specific extensions.

·         Data portability -- Microsoft believes that our customers own the data that they have entrusted to our applications and platforms, and the applications they build on our platforms. Microsoft will work with other datacenter and cloud vendors to make this bi-directional, customer-centric approach a more common industry practice.

While it's still very early to talk about elaborate technical standards for cloud computing, establishing the conduits for the conversations and outlining a collaborative approach is critical. Projects like the DMTF incubator will develop requirements and use case scenarios to allow all the participants to better understand where standards for communication with cloud services can create the most value.

As always, we pledge to be open, collaborative and transparent about our efforts in the cloud standards space. If you have thoughts on where we should focus additional attention, please let us know!