NIST Seeks Members for Cloud Computing Working Groups

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
July 1, 2014

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is looking for individuals from industry, government, and academia to participate in three new cloud computing public working groups: (1) cloud services, (2) federated community cloud, and (3) interoperability and portability. The working groups will address requirements of the U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap. The working groups are open to all interested parties.

These new working groups will help provide guidance to federal policy leaders on how to advance effective adoption of cloud computing by the U.S. government. Additional working groups are already addressing security, accessibility, and standards requirements in the Roadmap.

NIST developed the Roadmap to assist government CIOs and other decision makers as they address the challenges of implementing cloud services in the U.S. government in the short and long term. The Roadmap defines high-priority requirements critical to increasing cloud adoption and identifies standards and guidelines for satisfying those requirements. It also recommends collaboration with the cloud computing stakeholder community and standards organizations and coordination with other federal initiatives, including privacy and cybersecurity initiatives.

• Cloud Services Working Group
The Cloud Services Working Group will focus on how to clearly and consistently categorize cloud services under Roadmap Requirement 4. Consistent categorization is intended to help federal agencies and other buyers better understand, evaluate, compare, and select cloud services. A survey conducted by NIST showed cloud providers inconsistently used a wide variety of terms to describe their models and services. This working group will assess the use of terms such as Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Data as a Service, Network as a Service, and more. The working group will perform a study of cloud services and make recommendations as to how to implement more consistent categories.

• Federated Community Cloud Working Group
The Federated Community Cloud Working Group will focus on how to create seamless implementations across multiple cloud environments under Roadmap Requirement 5. This will involve providing guidance on effective ways to integrate across diverse provider environments and public and private cloud environments. Potential areas of focus could include assessing the applicability of grid computing models, identifying how hybrid cloud and cloud broker elements can be leveraged and harmonized, and assessing standardization efforts.

• Cloud Interoperability and Portability Working Group
The Cloud Interoperability and Portability Working Group will focus on identifying issues and characteristics necessary for fostering cloud computing innovation, commonality, and synergism across evolving environments, technologies, and implementations. Interoperability and portability are cross-cutting topics in the Roadmap. The initial focus will be on the types of cloud computing interoperability and portability, the relations and interactions between cloud computing interoperability and portability, the contexts where these elements are relevant to cloud computing and reference architectures, and the common terminology and concepts used to describe interoperability and portability.

The working groups conduct their business by email and occasional teleconference. These three new public working groups held a combined kick-off teleconference on June 25. Additional participants are encouraged to join the working groups.

Learn more about the NIST Cloud Computing Program, the U.S. Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap, and the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy.

To learn more about the working groups, visit the NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration Site.

To get involved in one of the working groups, join the relevant NIST Cloud Computing Working Group listserv to receive information about activities and upcoming teleconferences.