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MEF, CEF launch Open Cloud Project

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CEF chairman Jeff Schmitz says the industry faces a real challenge simultaneously integrating three relatively new concepts.
CEF chairman Jeff Schmitz says the industry faces a real challenge simultaneously integrating three relatively new concepts.

The CloudEthernet Forum (CEF) and Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) have created the Open Cloud Project in a bid to create an open test and iterative standards development programme for service providers, industry vendors and over-the-top (OTT) cloud service providers.

The CEF says its Open Cloud Project includes a dedicated proof of concept test laboratory based in Silicon Valley, California, to provide ongoing testing and support for the iterative development of the forum's CloudE 1.0 open cloud environment.

"It will also provide the basis of future compliance and benchmark testing. Informed by the experience and learning of its close association with the MEF, and seeing the benefits that rapid, iterative development has brought to the cloud industry, the CEF is taking the pioneering step of integrating testing into the standards development process right from the start."

Initial work will be focused on three areas: application performance management, cloud security and traffic load balancing. The project's open test programme will lay the groundwork for a fully inter-working cloud environment, and the advancement of best practices to manage OTT and cloud services.

Vital work

James Walker, CEF president and vice-president of managed network services at Tata Communications, says the project represents "vitally important work" if the industry is to avoid fragmentation of the cloud.

"Cloud services rely on the end-to-end interoperability of so many players - enterprises, network and data centre equipment vendors, data centre operators, orchestration layers, management and reporting platforms, security devices, network service providers - the list goes on.

"The MEF has shown a successful model of defining service types and attributes, which everyone can agree to and align with, which through this test bed we can adapt and bring to the cloud industry. Unless we can define industry best practices and global standards to establish an open cloud environment, cloud services run the risk of becoming more and more fragmented and difficult to integrate."

MEF president Nan Chen says network security and application performance management are two critical areas for future work. "The Open Project is intended to create an open test process for network function virtualisation (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and Carrier Ethernet applications. We also plan to work in conjunction with other relevant influential industry forums to maximise efficiencies and avoid any duplication of work."

Jeff Schmitz, CEF chairman and executive vice-president of Spirent Communications, says the industry faces a real challenge "simultaneously integrating three relatively new concepts - NFV, SDN and Carrier Ethernet - to create an open cloud environment".

He says the project represents a chance to test and standardise cloud services with an initial focus on application performance management, cloud security and traffic load balancing. "If you want to be involved in the future of cloud, the CEF is your chance to put your ideas to the test."

Analyst Rohit Mehra, vice-president of network infrastructure at IDC, says: "By 2017, IDC expects worldwide spending on public IT cloud services to exceed $100 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 23.5% for the period 2013-2017, five times that of the IT industry as a whole."

Hence, he says, it is important the industry look at cloud interoperability as a key goal across the spectrum of vendors and cloud service providers that will participate in this growth.

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