The Fog Around the Cloud- Nathaniel Borenstein

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Myths and Realities of Cloud Computing Standards

Nathaneil Borenstein- Chief Scientist, Mimecast

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The Fog Around the Cloud- Nathaniel Borenstein

  1. 1. The Fog Around the CloudMyths and Realities of Cloud Computing Standards<br />Nathaniel S. Borenstein, Ph.D.<br />Chief Scientist<br />Mimecast<br />
  2. 2. Outline<br />Cloud computing isn’t right for everything<br />But standards-centric objections are mostly wrong<br />Much standards work is pointless wasted effort<br />Cloud computing’s needs are specific, not vague<br />For most services, there are simpler ways to avoid lock-in<br />We need accountable, well-behaved vendors<br />Evaluative standards would be helpful, but aren’t critical<br />For most applications, there’s no reason to wait for standards<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  3. 3. Cloud Computing: Threat or Menace?<br />It’s natural to seek an excuse to say “No.”<br />For some paradigms, the cloud really is wrong<br />Consider the implantable defibrillator<br />No argument could convince me to go cloud-based<br />But standards are the least of the problems<br />That last fact is surprisingly typical – standards don’t magically solve most problems. <br />But yes, it’s pretty cool when they do…<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  4. 4. I Really Don’t Hate Standards!<br />Best known as author of MIME, used billions of times daily<br />Worked on lots of other standards – difficult, insanely detailed, and often pointless work<br />Why work that hard unless you really need to?<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />From the first MIME message,<br />March 11, 1992:<br />Me, missing the high note!<br />
  5. 5. Godot May Not Be Coming<br />Delaying cloud computing – or nearly anything else -- for “lack of standards” is wrong 90% of the time.<br />“Standards” are categorically useless. Particular standards can be very useful.<br />The generic objection is lazy; for some specific applications, the objection can be valid<br />Distinguish two types of standards:<br />Definitional standards can be show-stoppers<br />Evaluative standards are often desirable<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  6. 6. The Devil in the Details<br />Myriad details make standards work excruciating<br />Recently: in internationalized email, UTF8 or UTF-8?<br />Weeks of discussion behind “US-ASCII” in MIME:<br />Content-type: text/plain; charset=“us-ascii”<br />Significant “worth the bother?” threshold<br />Most worthwhile for:<br />Data formats<br />Interchange protocol<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  7. 7. What Standards are Needed for Cloud Computing?<br />Stated that generically: None!<br />What standards might improve the cloud generally?<br />Evaluative standards: security/compliance/best practices<br />What standards does a particular application need to be acceptably moved to the cloud?<br />That depends on the application.<br />Let’s look at a couple of examples.<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  8. 8. What Standards are Needed for VM Hosting in the Cloud?<br />For a definition of “needed” that stresses portability…<br />A clear data format specification<br />A clear data model definition<br />Addresses situations genuinely new with the cloud<br />Probably worth the pain of standards work!<br />But still might not justify avoiding the cloud<br />Works fine today<br />Migration is still possible without it<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  9. 9. What Standards are Needed for Email Archiving?<br />Disclaimer:<br />Intuitive guess: Data export formats<br />But must the cloud be better than current data centers?<br />Could standardize on PST (Microsoft) or NSF (Lotus)…<br />But… Surprise! It’s the least of your problems<br />Moving terabytes between vendors is the hard part<br />By comparison, format conversion is a piece of cake<br />No new standards are critically needed for the cloud.<br />This is typical.<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  10. 10. The Fear of Vendor Lock-in<br />Standards are part of the solution for some applications<br />But good vendor behavior always matters more<br />Can be locked in by terms of service<br />Can be verified with past customers<br />Can be documented with evaluative standards<br />Can become the industry norm or even the law<br />“If you ever leave us, we promise to help.”<br />A new kind of customer reference – the ex-customer!<br />But recognize the essential difficulty of terabyte migration<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  11. 11. Even the IETF is Floundering<br />Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF): home of TCP/IP, SMTP, MIME, XMPP, SNMP, etc.<br />Has gone nowhere fast with cloud computing<br />Can’t even get a BOF approved<br />Dozens of ideas, including:<br />Telecom net virtualization <br />Cloud resource mobility<br />HTTP enhancements <br />VPN extension to Private Cloud<br />Cloud P2P Video Streaming<br />It’s a good thing you probably don’t need any of them.<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  12. 12. The Real Role of Standardsin Cloud Computing<br />At a minimum: Same as anywhere else!<br />Data formats, interchange protocols<br />For example, a PST/NSF-like standard is neither more nor less needed than ten years ago<br />Service quality evaluative standards, a la ISO 9000<br />Possibly some service management standards, e.g. SNMP MIBs<br />But in general, nothing that should be holding you up.<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  13. 13. Summary<br />Fuzzy talk about “standards” isn’t helpful; there are no shortcuts to real understanding.<br />With a few exceptions, standards aren’t a major impediment to migrating to the cloud<br />Specific applications will need new standards; a few of these will even be specific to the cloud<br />Focus on the vendor: commitment to quality, portability, recognition of data ownership<br />Over time, evaluative standards a la ISO 9000 should make it easier to evaluate vendors<br />But don’t postpone dinner until every restaurant is reviewed!<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />
  14. 14. Any Questions?<br />The Fog Around the Cloud -- Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast<br />Nathaniel Borenstein<br /><nsb@mimecast.com><br />The first MIME message, with audio: http://www.guppylake.com/nsb/mime.html<br />

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