Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum looks for new life

The organization foundered but is looking for a restart

The founder of the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum is working to revive the organization, which fizzled in 2010.

Even though the group has been defunct for a couple of years, it still counts 1,300 people on its mailing list and 3,000 in its LinkedIn group, said Reuven Cohen, who first kicked off the forum in 2008. Cohen's company Enomaly, which offered software for building public clouds and the SpotCloud marketplace for on-demand computing, was purchased by Virtustream late last year.

Since he proposed reviving the organization on his blog and on Google+ Monday morning, he's gotten "dozens" of emails from people supporting the idea, Cohen said.

The group's original mission was to create an open community "dedicated to driving the rapid adoption of global cloud computing services." It said its work could include "advocating best practices/reference architectures for the purposes of standardized cloud computing." Its website still lists big-name supporters including Intel, Cisco Systems, IBM and RSA.

The forum foundered when Cohen ran out of time to continue maintaining it, he said. But the group also struggled with its identity, and with hindsight, Cohen believes members can define a more targeted mission.

A March 2009 blog post highlights some of the struggles the group faced. The post followed an uproar that erupted after the CCIF signed on to the controversial Open Cloud Manifesto. CCIF later removed its name from the document and in the post noted that it didn't have the governance policies in place to make such a stand.

"We lost focus," Cohen said.

"One thing CCIF was good at, because we had such a large audience, was anyone could post their harebrained schemes and have 4,000 people see it," he said. "Now there's no place to do that."

With the support of other people in the cloud industry, he hopes to revive the CCIF as a forum for people who want to discuss issues, including interoperability, in the cloud.

"I'm getting a lot of interest as I travel from folks in many parts of the world who want a place to discuss, to talk about what they're doing and there's no place to gain that visibility," he said.

The CCIF was one of many groups that have popped up over the past few years around cloud computing. The majority of them seek to develop standards, something the CCIF doesn't plan to do.

But there's also a vibrant community among people supporting OpenStack. OpenStack devotees meet regularly and discuss issues in a variety of ways around the Web.

Cohen hopes that the CCIF will represent a forum where people can discuss a wider range of issues, not just those relevant to OpenStack.

Another cloud group that gained momentum, stalled, relaunched and now may have stalled again is the Open Cloud Initiative. It formally launched in July last year with a goal of offering a set of principles that define what makes a cloud open. Leaders of the group have not replied to repeated requests for an update over the past couple of months.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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