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The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, a non-profit international consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of open standards for the global information space, launched an open standards initiative to enhance the portability of cloud applications and services. The OASIS Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) Technical Committee will advance an interoperability standard that is designed to make it easier to deploy cloud applications without vendor lock-in, while maintaining application requirements for security, governance and compliance.

The inititative will enable the interoperable description of application and infrastructure cloud services, the relationships between parts of the service and the operational behavior of these services (for example, deploy, patch, shut down)–independent of the supplier creating the service, and any particular cloud provider or hosting technology. TOSCA will also make it possible for higher-level operational behavior to be associated with cloud infrastructure management.

IDC s research shows cloud initiatives are top priorities for many enterprise IT teams, said Mary Johnston Turner, IDC research vice president for enterprise systems management software. The goal of these cloud programs is to reduce costs and improve business agility by creating highly flexible IT environments that can quickly respond to changing business priorities. To date, however, most cloud implementations have been unable to easily migrate applications across heterogeneous public and private infrastructure resources. TOSCA s aim is to enable broad cloud portability by providing an open standard to describe a complex application running on a complex environment. This is a critical missing link for customers that want to take full advantage of hybrid cloud architectures and the full range of available cloud services.

An initial draft specification for TOSCA was jointly authored by Capgemini, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, EMC, IBM, NetApp, PwC, Red Hat, SAP AG, Software AG, Virtunomic, and WSO2. This specification will be contributed to the OASIS TOSCA Technical Committee for further development and advancement within the open-standards process, the organization said. By improving service and application portability in a vendor-neutral ecosystem, TOSCA will streamline the migration of existing applications to the cloud as well as cloud-bursting, said Paul Lipton of CA Technologies, co-chair of the OASIS TOSCA Technical Committee. It could also facilitate the evolution towards more dynamic, multi-cloud provider applications.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Cisco, EMC, SAP Back Cloud Portability Standards Initiative