A baseline of standards, Mann says, would allow an enterprise customer to have a federated cloud strategy that allows multiple cloud platforms to work together. Allowing data transfers between the systems "would be a strong starting point," Mann says. Vekiarides, meanwhile, says if storage standards do emerge in the industry, customers may still want tools provided by service providers like TwinStrata, such as optimization of cloud deployments.
Other companies seem to be capitalizing on the lack of standards. HP, for example, this week announced its converged cloud strategy, which it says is meant to help manage public, private and hybrid cloud deployments. HP blogger Terrence Ngai says standards have made life easy for consumers in other industries: "You can buy a new mattress from any manufacturer and it would still fit in your bedframe; a new memory card would still work in your camera; and a new wireless access point would still support your wireless devices. This is interoperability and portability in action." Not so in cloud yet, though, he writes.
There is some hope for standards efforts. A variety of organizations are attempting to push for standardization, including the Storage Network Industry Association, a nonprofit organization that has been involved with storage standards since 1997. The Cloud Data Management Interface, for example, is an effort by the SNIA to allow for a common toolset for deploying, retrieving, updating and deleting items stored in a cloud that each service provider would offer in APIs. Other standardization efforts as well, including by the Open Virtualization Format, which are underlying APIs that allow for easier migration of jobs between virtual machines.
The Cloud Security Alliance is even pushing for cloud providers to publish their security standards, a process that has been a slow one to catch on.
The problem is, generally, providers don't have an incentive to adopt standards, says Wayne Adams, chairman of the SNIA and a senior technologist at EMC.