The Service Catalog: Demystifying Cloud

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Raejeanne Skillern is director of cloud computing marketing for Intel. Follow her on Twitter @RaejeanneS

Raejeanne_Skillern, intelRAEJEANNE
SKILLERN
Intel

Here’s a straightforward way to accelerate the adoption of cloud services: Create standardized service offerings and make them transparent to users.

That’s the idea behind the new Service Catalog Usage Model from the Open Data Center Alliance. This document—one of eight Alliance usage models released recently—spells out the requirements for a standard, comprehensive catalog mechanism that will allow users to select and assess service offerings.

The service catalog will make it easy for enterprises and other consumers of cloud services to compare providers’ offerings in a formal, normalized manner. It will also drive consistency of the service obligations and the units of measurement for services. In simple terms, the catalog will give cloud users the information they need to make apples-to-apples comparisons of service offerings and prices.

To be more specific, the Alliance’s Service Catalog Usage Model describes requirements for a “self-describing data model, a standard set of structures to describe products and services, and an application programming interface (API) to enable interaction with the service catalog.” To further these requirements, the Alliance is working with the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) to drive standards for service transparency.

Catalog Enables Comparison Shopping

A while back, I heard an Alliance board members use the analogy of long-distance telephone services. When you shop for these services, you can easily compare the plans and prices offered by different communications providers—because you clearly understand the service you are buying.

That’s what the catalog will do for cloud services. It will enable an open, transparent marketplace for cloud services. That’s a good thing for organizations that want to make greater use of cloud services, and it’s a good thing for service providers who want to be able to clearly highlight the differentiation in their offerings.

For a closer look at the Service Catalog Usage Model, visit the opendatacenteralliance.org site. And while you’re there, you can register for the Alliance’s Aug. 3 Service Catalog webcast.

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