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NIST publications, work-in-process, and working group products that may be helpful to US government agencies and others in making decisions regarding the effective and secure implementation of cloud computing. To actively participate on this wiki collaboration site and NIST Cloud Computing mailing list, please register through NIST Cloud Computing website. DRAFT NIST Special Publication 500-293: US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap (Release 1.0) Volume I: High-Priority Requirements to Further USG Agency Cloud Computing Adoption Volume II: Useful Information for Cloud Adopters
Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics (On-demand self-service, Broad network access, Resource pooling, Rapid elasticity, Measured Service); three service models (Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS), Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)); and, four deployment models (Private cloud, Community cloud, Public cloud, Hybrid cloud). Key enabling technologies include: (1) fast wide-area networks, (2) powerful, inexpensive server computers, and (3) high-performance virtualization for commodity hardware. The Cloud Computing model offers the promise of massive cost savings combined with increased IT agility.
I have been working very hard trying to identify just what cloud computing is. At this point, my working definition for cloud computing is two fold. From an engineering perspecitve the cloud is a computing architecture characterized by a large number of interconnected identical computing devices that can scale on demand and that communicate via an IP network. From a business perspective it is computing services that are scalable and billed on a usage basis. It is my observation that many technologies commonly associated with computing cloud architectures are not intrinsically associated with them and could just as easily be provided by a different architecture. Thus, while they may be part of an offering that could be built on a cloud architecture they are not necessarily so.
This standard defines topology, functions, and governance for cloud-to-cloud interoperability and federation. Topological elements include clouds, roots, exchanges (which mediate governance between clouds), and gateways (which mediate data exchange between clouds). Functional elements include name spaces, presence, messaging, resource ontologies (including standardized units of measurement), and trust infrastructure. Governance elements include registration, geo-independence, trust anchor, and potentially compliance and audit. The standard does not address intra-cloud (within cloud) operation, as this is cloud implementation-specific, nor does it address proprietary hybrid-cloud implementations.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued two new draft documents on cloud computing for public comment, including the first set of guidelines for managing security and privacy issues in cloud computing. The agency also has set up a new NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration site on the Web to enable two-way communication among the cloud community and NIST cloud research working groups. United States Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra asked NIST to accelerate the federal government's secure adoption of cloud computing by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in collaboration with standards bodies, the private sector and other stakeholders. These new draft documents and the collaboration site are part of NIST's work to fulfill that mission. NIST has been researching cloud computing for several years and has been documenting a definition of cloud computing on its web page.