Open Group launches standards to bring cloud into the mix

News Maxwell Cooter Jan 19, 2012

The Open Group has produced a set of proposals that allows for the integration of SOA and cloud

Another day, another standard.  Following the TOSCA release earlier this week, The Open Group has announced the availability of two new industry standards designed to integrate SOA within enterprise architecture, including guidelines for incorporating cloud computing.

SOA was flavour of the month a few years ago but interest in the topic appears to have waned recently.  However, according to Dr Chris Harding, director for interoperability at The Open Group, it’s not due to a lack of interest in the technology. "SOA hasn’t fallen off the radar as such,” he said, “but a few years ago we’d organise conferences which were well attended. But that was all about learning about SOA and then they’d learned about it. But that didn’t necessarily mean they were less interested in doing it – if you look at sales, there’s a steady rising graph of SOA deployment."

The new standards are: the SOA Reference Architecture (SOA RA), for evaluating SOA implementations and the cloud computing standard, the Service-Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure Framework (SOCCI), which sets out the way in which companies could build infrastructures to support both SOA and cloud initiatives.

The SOCCI standard sets out guidelines for organisations to consider that can be realised through the integration of SOA and cloud-based principles.  By introducing the standard, organisations can incorporate cloud-based resources and services into their infrastructure to provide agility, scalability and lower maintenance costs.  “SOCCI looks to apply Service oriented principles to cloud computing: the sort of principles that allows companies guidelines to build services on their resources”.

Part of this procedure is adding features like business processes. While the NIST definition of cloud computing does not allow for inclusion of business processes as a service within the remit of cloud computing, Harding said that some observers suggested that business processes should be part of the model.

While The Open Group is calling its new offerings standard, Harding said they weren’t standards in the accepted sense. "We could produce standards but we don’t do that. The kind of standards we produce are that these are the building blocks that we put together rather than the sort of thing produced by OASIS." However, he said, the organisation had produced a paper with OASIS the Object Management Group (OMG) a few years back.

Vendors were quick to offer their support."SOCCI is a classic intersection of multiple paradigms in the industry – infrastructure virtualisation, service-orientation and the cloud an inevitable convergence," said Tom Hall, global marketing manager, cloud and SOA applications, HP Enterprise Services. "This standard provides a strong foundation for HP and The Open Group to work together to evolve additional standards in the SOA and cloud domains."