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2.3 Interoperability between Clouds at Several Layers

Read the full post-event session summary [undefineddownload pdf]
The FIA Aalborg consolidated report is also available [undefineddownload pdf]

Format of the workshop

Panel discussion, where half of the time of the panel is used by speakers introducing the topic and the other half devoted to discussion with the panel. An introductory presentation will set the scene and raise key questions/challenges. This will be followed by several position statements and a panel discussion.

Problem Statement and Objectives of the workshop

The interoperability between clouds is important not only for the protection of the end user investments, but also for the development of the cloud ecosystem and market. The main aim of interoperability is to allow the achievement of the full advantage of the cloud properties like elasticity and pay-as-you-go, instead the exploitation of a vendor infrastructure, platform or service. Nowadays, many companies still do not tie their critical applications to specific cloud provider services due to the underlying proprietary technology. To tackle this issue, the latest four years have been marked by the development of a considerable number of approaches to the interoperability problem.

Starting questions:

  • Which are the most prominent solutions?
  • Are these approaches appropriate to solve the full spectrum of interoperability problems?
  • Are these taken-up by the application developers?
  • Are these taken-up by the providers?
  • Which are the interoperability requirements of Cloud-based IoT architecture?
  • How the Cloud networking research can support interoperability?  

The objective of the workshop is to offer an image of the state-of-the-art in the field of interoperability between the Clouds and to identify the gaps in research and developments in this field as well as the status of the take-up of the current available solutions.

Session organisers:

Dana Petcu, West University of Timisoara, Romania
Steering committee responsible: Alex Galis, University College London, UK

Target audience:

Researchers and developers with interest in Clouds.
Future Internet researchers, designers and architects.
Standardization bodies representatives and participants.

Build on previous FIA sessions:

References will be made during the session to:



15:00 – 16:15

Challenges and  Position Statements

16:15 – 17:00

Panel discussion and interaction with audience


Opening & challenges statement

  • undefinedDana Petcu (West University of Timisoara, FP7-STREP mOSAIC)

The introduction will focus on:

-          Highlighting the challenges of interoperability between Clouds
Highlighting the efforts of FP7 projects
Organization of the session

Position statements

  • undefinedYvon Jegou – topic: interoperability at IaaS level (INRIA, FP7-IP Contrail)

 Interoperability in Cloud Federations

Cloud computing provides means to dynamically adapt computing capacity and to deploy new services on the fly, at reduced costs, without the need to invest in new infrastructure.   Cloud federations are expected to extend these capabilities through the aggregation of multiple cloud provider offerings.   But, the cloud computing ecosystem is currently very heterogeneous with different APIs, different hypervisor technologies, different VM formats, etc.   Identifying this need Contrail project aims to develop a tightly integrated software stack in open source including a comprehensive set of system, run-time and high level services providing standardized interfaces for supporting cooperation and resource sharing over Cloud federations.  Interoperability at all levels of the Contrail software stack is necessary to reach these objectives.  The Contrail API is based on recognized standards when possible: CIMI from DMTF and OCCI from OGF for infrastructure management, CDMI for cloud storage, OGF for application description. Specific adapters are developed to communicate with non standard interfaces.

Platform-as-a-Service freedom or lock-in.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a relatively new paradigm that enables independent software vendors (ISVs) or organisations to deploy, run, integrate and / or manage business applications, using services provided by third party.

The current PaaS market is in constant motion and interoperability and portability are increasingly relevant needs as PaaS continues its rapid adoption. Actually, there are a lot of proprietary solutions emerging that do not enable to port applications among them, neither allow developers to use tools they want. For the user, these capabilities are key to counteract the risk of vendor lock-in, a primary barrier for user’s uptake.  In addition, in the “year of the PaaS” (Gartner, March 2011), portability is of vital importance, as applications developed in one platform’s ecosystem quickly become over-dependent on that particular platform’s future.

  • undefinedThomas Edwall – topic: Cloud networking (ERICSSON, FP7-IP SAIL)

Thomas Edwall, Benoit Tremblay

Cloud Networking: Network aspects of the cloud

In the current cloud context, the main focus is about computing and storage resources.  One key element which is always forgotten is the connectivity between those components.  In SAIL, we are adding the network aspect to the cloud, both by considering the network constraints into the cloud optimisation equation and by distributing the cloud resources in the network to satisfy latency and bandwidth requirements from the applications.  To bring interoperability in the cloud, we need to consider both the north bound interface (how customers request resources) but also on the East-West interface (how data-centre and network providers actually realise the connectivity).  For the north bound interface, SAIL is proposing OCNI that extends the OCCI API, proposed by Open Grid Forum, to include connectivity requirements.  For the East-West interface, SAIL propose a new protocol, Distributed Control Plane (DCP) that allows network and data-centre providers to negotiate the actual parameters to establish end-to-end connectivity.

IoT and Cloud

While stemming from totally different environments, Cloud and Internet of Things domains are often seen as convergent.  The two concepts are however disjointed. To mix a metaphor, the cloud is about transparency: an application does not care where the data is stored or computing cycles executed, but what matters is to be connected to a theoretically unlimited computing and storage capabilities, and the technological ability of transferring terabyte torrents between data centres. With IoT devices, we get into the tiniest object, and the ability of identifying, sensing and controlling every single component. IoT is seen though as an enabler of Cloud Computing, as the predictions of scale (Cisco predicts 50 billion connected objects by 2020) of data generation by passive and active sensors, requires a new balance between human intervention and planning and autonomous M2M operations. Therefore, it is not a matter of if, but of how, when and where the tiniest, constrained objects will meet the infinite power of the cloud.

  • undefinedSilvana Muscella – topic : User requirements versus standards (Trust-IT Services Ltd, FP7 SIENA & Venus-C)

Responding to use case requirements and ensuring cloud interoperability

The recent roadmap of SIENA assess the situation, identify issues, and makes recommendations regarding the adoption and evolution of open-standards based interoperable grid and cloud infrastructures to support research in Europe. An overview of these recommendations will be shortly presented. As case study of applying these recommendations, the actions of VENUS-C in terms of cloud interoperability and responding the use case requirements will be underlined.

  • undefinedBeniamino Di Martino -- topic: Brokering between multiple Clouds (Second University of Naples, FP7 mOSAIC)

Semantic description and discovery of Cloud resources and services for interoperability

Cloud vendor lock-in and interoperability gaps arise (among many reasons) when semantics of resources and services, and of Application Programming Interfaces is not shared. Standards and techniques borrowed from SOA and Semantic Web Services areas might help in gaining shared, machine readable description of Cloud offerings (resources, Services at Platform and Application level, and their API groundings), thus allowing automatic discovery,  matchmaking, and thus supporting selection, brokering, interoperability end even composition of Cloud Services among multiple Clouds.

Panel discussion    All speakers interactions with the audience.
                          Questionnaire electronically distributed to the audience.

Call for participation:

Specialists in the interoperability between Clouds are invited to contact the organisers, so that we can see how to integrate this contribution.


  1. DMTF : Interoperable Clouds (2010),
  2. GICTF: Use cases and functional requirements for inter-cloud computing (2010)
  3. OMG: Cloud Interoperability Roadmaps Session (2009),
  4. CloudCom 2011 workshop: Market Implementation of Cloud Interoperability and Portability Research in IaaS and PaaS,


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