Cloud OSS : Inter-Cloud Provisioning Services

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SOMF Cloud Computing Model

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For our ‘Target Architecture‘ campaign I de-composed the Canadian Federal Governments’ Cloud Computing Roadmap into a matrix of each of the component part technologies they plan to adopt.

One of these components is ‘Cloud Provisioning Services‘, for enabling “everything as a service”, a common automation layer across infrastructure, platforms and software as a service, and making each ‘Cloud Aware‘.

This can be achieved by leveraging technology from the telco world, ‘OSS’ (Operational Support Systems), which can automate provisioning, configuration and billing of Cloud services, and via ‘Inter-Cloud’ protocols, do so across multiple Cloud providers internally and externally.

Cloud Orchestration

This can be found on slide 13, where it’s described as a layer that sits in between the ‘GEDS2.0’ user directory authentication systems and the virtualized services the users want to consume, like storage, servers and apps. The purpose of this element is to sit in between the two and orchestrate the automated processes for their supply and configuration.

It’s an essential element because it enables one of the primary business benefits that the business transformation will deliver for their ‘To Be’ GC infrastructure: Rapid provisioning, reducing the time to provide IT resource to internal customers from days to minutes.

The role of this element highlights the opportunity for telcos in the enterprise Cloud Computing market, but not in terms of moving the enterprise apps out of the corporate data-centre and into the outsource centre of the telco, but actually the other way around: Moving the telco software into the enterprise.

Telcos have long been users of this type of automation software, for their traditional telephony platforms, to set up new user accounts and services, and are now extending this to encompass Cloud infrastructure.

They’re also repeating the process of ‘peering’, where data is exchanged between telco networks, and combining the two to enable ‘Inter-Cloud’ services. The standards for Inter-Cloud services are being defined by the TMF, the industry standards body for these telco software systems, here in their Cloud technology program.

This is a project team of vendors like Comptel and Progress who are working with Cisco to provide software for automating this type of cross-provider provisioning.

Their recent Powerpoint presentation on this work explains how it can leveraged to achieve ‘Unified Service Delivery Management‘ (40-page PPT), a singular approach to service orchestration across networks and data-centres of multiple providers.

It provides a blueprint for managed services in the Cloud age, with a focus on virtualized Unified Communications and the combination of technologies catering for:

Service providers require an integrated, flexible, automated, service-focused intercloud management system.

ICS details a single architecture for IP networks, client-side devices, SaaS collaboration apps like Webex and the new Cloud-driven virtualized data-centre, an “application fluent” WAN that ensure security and QOS, self-service portal and order fulfilment, and via the TMF open standards the ability to automate this across multiple providers, like Qwest and BT in this example.

Cloud Peering

There are other similar standards for interoperation between Clouds.

The DMTF is an industry body led by folks like Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco, and recently they published open standards for Cloud service providers that included elements such as Cloud Interoperability, achieved through adoption of these types of systems.

As their ‘Interoperable Clouds’ white paper (21-page PDF) describes this will enable providers to build “Cloud federations” that act as secured clearinghouses for sharing this linked data, offering service providers a whole new generation of IaaS products.

Cisco positions Inter-Cloud Services as the ultimate conclusion to an overall Cloud maturity model journey.

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