Trade organization looks to simplify cloud storage

Lack of standards will weaken cloud message, vice chairman says

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has formed the Cloud Storage Technical Work Group, which will develop standards, interfaces and best practices for storing data in the cloud, it announced on Tuesday.

"Rather than waiting for requirements from users who are having problems deploying the technology, we wanted to do something up front and create a technical work group that would review what the technology is about today and try to identify some gaps," said Vincent Franceschini, vice chairman on the SNIA board.

The group's first task will be to decide on a common vernacular - which will be ready toward mid-2009 - for the cloud storage space, so that the industry uses the same jargon, according to Franceschini.

The benefit for CIOs will be a better understanding of what is being made available in the cloud storage space and how to deploy it.

Later, when it starts to deliver, for example, APIs (application programming interfaces), it should help them better integrate cloud storage with their production environments, Franceschini said.

Standardization is key for the future success of the space. One of the messages often associated with the cloud is that users move spending from capital expenditures to operational expenditures, according to Franceschini.

But if that is not the case and a user has to spend money on the integration, which is a capital expense, the benefits of cloud computing will not be so powerful, he said.

Users will also play an important role by putting pressure on the vendors to standardize, according to Franceschini.

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