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The Five Fundamentals of CloudEthernet

CEF President outlines priorities for action

November 20, CEF Regional Members’ Meeting, Singapore: James Walker, President, CloudEthernet Forum (CEF) announced today the “Five Fundamentals” to be initially prioritized by the CEF and its working groups. Walker listed the five key issues that had been identified and chosen by members at the CEF’s recent meeting under the acronym VASPA, namely: Virtualization, Automation, Security, Programmability, and Analytics.

“Networks are seeing a number of major transitions under the pressure of mobility and the move to cloud services,” Walker said. “Now the explosion in machine to machine (M2M) communications promises the fastest growth ever in connected devices, with 73% of devices being mobile or M2M by 2017. Unless the industry – vendors, service providers and OTT providers included – really work together to define global standards and address these challenges, then cloud computing could fall victim to its own success.”

Working groups are already being established by the CEF to address specific concerns, and members can get involved in shaping the future of the cloud computing. The scope of work is now being grouped under the following Five Fundamentals:

  • Virtualization – VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft are all working to extend their platforms to encompass network virtualization, and network service providers need to manage both the end to end transport of storage and virtual machines, and network virtualisation tunnels. How to make sure that a unified management layer can be rolled out across a network, and meet the deterministic performance requirements of cloud traffic? The role of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) in this process is also considered.
  • Automation – automated creation and deployment of VMs is evolving quickly. Storage can be established in seconds, but network automation lags far behind. Vendor independent protocols and standards are needed to accelerate network automation and delivery and creation of services, particulary across multiple service providers – such as in a hybrid cloud environment.
  • Security – the cloud is well established as a principle, data has become highly mobile, but regulatory and privacy laws must be complied with. For the cloud to remain on its growth path it needs robust structures to ensure end to end security. The industry also needs to formulate guidelines to inform the security decisions made by governments and regulators.
  • Programmability – most routers and switches can be programmed by their makers, but few are open to third party APIs. A number of groups – including ETSI and the ONF– are working on this within the domain of a single customer, but coordination is needed around the specific needs of cloud computing, and inter-provider service continuity.
  • Analytics – A continuous exchange of information between the network and the cloud service providers on network and application service performance and requirements is needed, followed by real-time analysis of whether additional resources, either from the cloud or the network service provider, are required.
  • “There is something here that touches every major cloud stakeholder – including large user organisations,” added Walker. “We have started selecting suitable members with the drive and expertise to head working groups in these five areas. If companies believe their future will be dependent on getting these issues in line, now is their chance to join the CEF and help shape the future of Cloud services. As the MEF came to define the $50billion Carrier Ethernet services market, so the CEF can shape tomorrow’s $200billion Cloud services market.”

    About The CloudEthernet Forum:
    The CloudEthernet Forum (CEF) is an industry organization of market-leading cloud service providers, network service providers, equipment manufacturers, system integrators and software developers that are focused on development of CloudEthernet technologies through open standards development. The CEF is affiliated with the 200+ member Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), which helped create the $50B Carrier Ethernet market.

    To address the $200B cloud services market, the CEF aims to accelerate and facilitate the use of standard protocols to support large scale global datacenter deployments, making cloud services easier, faster, more secure, and affordable to deploy.

    The CloudEthernet Forum is an independent MEF organization. For more information, please visit www.CloudEthernet.org