@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Open Source Cloud

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

An API for Cloud Infrastructure Services

The Open Grid Forum Open Cloud Computing Interface Working Group

Infrastructure On Demand on Ulitzer

If you are a cloud provider or consumer, specifically in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) landscape, it's hard not to be excited by the work going on in the Open Grid Forum (OGF) Open Cloud Computing Interface Working Group. Owing to the growing number of IaaS providers and increasing adoption of the relatively new paradigm by consumers, this group was formed with a goal of bringing about standards to manage these cloud-based infrastructures. The following goal statement on the group's home page sums up their intentions quite nicely:

"... deliver an API specification for remote management of cloud computing infrastructure, allowing for the development of interoperable tools for common tasks including deployment, autonomic scaling and monitoring"

The working group has an early draft of the specification, which while still in its infancy, gives a good peek into the direction they are heading. The current draft consists of four distinct parts:

  1. The OCCI Core and Models: Defines the resource model for the specification. This includes the resources and resource collections, and the HTTP verbs used to interact with them.
  2. The OCCI Infrastructure Models: Defines the three "kinds" of resources (compute, network, storage) associated with IaaS platforms. This document also defines actions for these resources and an extension model to enable other capabilities.
  3. OCCI XHTML5 rendering: Defines XHTML5 rendering of the resources defined by the specification.
  4. OCCI HTTP Header rendering: Defines the use of HTTP headers by implementers of the specification.

Personally, I'm not surprised to see three of the four above included as part of the specification. What I am surprised to see, and happily so I might add, is the inclusion of the XHTML5 rendering piece in the specification. This seems to set forth a common XHTML5 representation for the resources and resource collections included in the specification. Standardizing on a common representation format will make the process of client development much simpler, and it should enable aggregation at the GUI level (i.e. a single GUI for multiple IaaS providers).

Another thing I'm happily surprised about is what we don't see in the current specification documents. I didn't spot the presence of a single strange, head-scratching implementation detail making it into the draft. You may be wondering why I would be surprised about that. After all, specifications are supposed to be free of any kind of implementation detail, right? Well what they are supposed to be and what they often turn out to be can be two different animals. This becomes even more of an issue when, like with Amazon EC2, there is an existing solution in the specification's domain space that has significant adoption and traction. In my opinion the specification started off on a solid footing by dodging this potential pothole.

While the eventual completion, certification, and wide-spread industry implementation of this specification is a ways off, it is a promising beginning. Keep an eye on the work of this group, and if you are so inclined take advantage of the open process and join the working group.

More Stories By Dustin Amrhein

Dustin Amrhein joined IBM as a member of the development team for WebSphere Application Server. While in that position, he worked on the development of Web services infrastructure and Web services programming models. In his current role, Dustin is a technical specialist for cloud, mobile, and data grid technology in IBM's WebSphere portfolio. He blogs at http://dustinamrhein.ulitzer.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/damrhein.

CloudEXPO Stories
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Alex Lovell-Troy, Director of Solutions Engineering at Pythian, presented a roadmap that can be leveraged by any organization to plan, analyze, evaluate, and execute on moving from configuration management tools to cloud orchestration tools. He also addressed the three major cloud vendors as well as some tools that will work with any cloud.
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is being used on IBM Cloud, Amazon, and Microsoft Azure and how to gain access to these resources in the cloud... for FREE!
Digital transformation has increased the pace of business creating a productivity divide between the technology haves and have nots. Managing financial information on spreadsheets and piecing together insight from numerous disconnected systems is no longer an option. Rapid market changes and aggressive competition are motivating business leaders to reevaluate legacy technology investments in search of modern technologies to achieve greater agility, reduced costs and organizational efficiencies. In this session, learn how today's business leaders are managing finance in the cloud and the essential steps required to get on the right path to creating an agile, efficient and future-ready business.
CI/CD is conceptually straightforward, yet often technically intricate to implement since it requires time and opportunities to develop intimate understanding on not only DevOps processes and operations, but likely product integrations with multiple platforms. This session intends to bridge the gap by offering an intense learning experience while witnessing the processes and operations to build from zero to a simple, yet functional CI/CD pipeline integrated with Jenkins, Github, Docker and Azure.