ISO publishes new cloud computing standards and definitions

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The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has released two new standards for cloud computing, in an attempt to “put some order in the chaos” for users.

The generally accepted definition of cloud computing was put together by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with the final version hitting the stands in September 2011. In it, cloud computing is defined as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources…that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

Yet the new standards from the ISO give a largely similar definition, choosing to call cloud computing an “evolving paradigm.” The document’s assessment of cloud’s key concepts – including broad network access, measured service, multi-tenancy, on-demand self-service, rapid elasticity and scalability, and resource pooling – ring very true with the NIST ruling.

As opposed to the NIST ruling which only proffers platform as a service, software as a service and infrastructure as a service, the ISO ruling has seven distinct cloud service categories, including network as a service (NaaS) and data storage as a service (DSaaS). Similarly, ISO expands on NIST’s 2011 definition on cloud deployment models, adding community cloud to public, private and hybrid.

There are two standards which have been released by ISO; the ISO/IEC 17788, a 16 page overview, and the ISO/IEC 17789, a 58 page behemoth.

In a blog post, ISO’s Vivienne Rojas outlines the problems with current cloud computing standardisation.

“The sky’s the limit for cloud computing, which seems set to change the entire computer industry,” she wrote. “This revolutionary concept has reached unexpected heights in the last decade and is recognised by governments and private sector organisations as major game-changing technology.”

“The cloud, as it is known, poses many issues, chiefly related to compatibility,” she added. “With more and more providers offering cloud-based services, the technology has suffered from chaotic development, making it almost impossible for companies to ascertain the quality of services offered,” Rojas added.

ISO adds that its joint ISO/IEC technical committee, JTC 1/SC 38, is piloting projects in areas such as SLAs, interoperability, and dataflow across devices and cloud services.

You can see the standards in full here.

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