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Business Scenarios for the Cloud

Talking business value instead of technology

The Open Group recently announced the formation of the Cloud Work Group. According to the Open Group, this new group “exists to create a common understanding among buyers and suppliers of how enterprises of all sizes and scales of operation can include Cloud Computing technology in a safe and secure way in their architectures to realize its significant cost, scalability and agility benefits.” I think we can all get behind that goal, but how exactly do they plan on accomplishing such lofty aims?

The Open Group is tackling this by first publishing a Business Scenarios for Enterprise Cloud Computing document. According to the group this document will focus on aligning business needs with cloud computing in hopes of allowing companies that produce cloud computing technology to better understand the needs of potential consumers. More information about the document, including some initial business scenario feedback can be found here.

In addition to working toward the business scenarios document, the Open Group’s Cloud Work Group is also working with existing cloud computing technology groups. Initially, the Cloud Work Group’s website lists these groups as collaboration partners:

The Cloud Security Alliance

The Open Cloud Manifesto

The Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum

CloudCamp

The Cloud Computing Use Cases Group

The partnership between the Cloud Work Group and these other groups allows for a collaborative process “on standard models and frameworks aimed at eliminating vendor lock-in for enterprises looking to benefit from cloud products and services.

It’s very early on in the new groups efforts, but the goal and initial tactical plan seem promising. The focus on business scenarios will hopefully help to shift talk away from the pure technology of cloud computing toward the business use cases and value. Since cloud computing is offering an entirely new IT service delivery paradigm, businesses need help in understanding when to adopt this new approach and the value they can expect to derive from it in different situations.

I’m also hopeful that the work group is able to serve as a central body for the various standards efforts beginning to pop up around cloud computing. If the business scenarios work flourishes, they would be well-positioned to work with other groups to drive standards and frameworks that tackle real business problems. There's another reason a central body around the cloud's standardization efforts would be helpful. In addition to new standards that will be required, there are tons of existing standards that can and should be leveraged in the cloud computing space to reduce effort and ensure consistency. A central body can help to both drive new standards work and bring in existing standards as appropriate.

The message I get out of the Cloud Work Group seems to be that business scenarios and business value should be used to drive the technological future of cloud computing. I think we all hope this proves to be the case. I’ll be eagerly monitoring the progress of the Cloud Work Group, and you can follow along or participate as well by simply signing up.

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.

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