Cloud Standardization

A Cooperation between Microsoft and Fraunhofer FOKUS

Jan. 01, 2009


The subcommittee SC 38 (Distributed Application Platforms and Services - DAPS) is part of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electronic Commission (IEC). Since the formation of the SC 38 Working Group WG 3 on Cloud Computing in 2009, an ongoing successful collaboration of Microsoft and Fraunhofer FOKUS has produced a number of contributions to this working group. Moreover, FOKUS provides experts that contribute to the activities of the NA 043 Committee for Norms for Information Technology and Applications NA 043-01-38 Work Committee Distributed Application Platforms and Services (“Normenausschusses der Informationstechnik und Anwendungen NA 043-01-38 AA Arbeitsausschuss Verteilte Anwendungsplattformen und Dienste“) of the German Institute for Norms (“Deutsches Institut für Normung, DIN”), that constitutes the German National Body (NB) within SC38.


As a basis for the evaluation and development of new work, SC 38 WG 3 utilizes a use case based approach. For this purpose, a methodology for the presentation and analysis of use cases has been developed by FOKUS, including

  • A classification of use cases with regard to legal, organizational, and technical aspects.
  • Templates for the presentation of use cases.
  • An approach for analyzing relationships between use cases.

This methodology is based on preparatory work done by FOKUS that is published in the whitepaper “Cloud Concepts for the Public Sector in Germany – Use Cases”.

Standing Documents

On behalf of the German NB, FOKUS maintains two Standing Documents on use cases:

  • “Standing Document SD1: Methodology and Guidelines for Cloud Computing Usage Scenario and Use Case Analysis” describes the use case methodology adopted by SC 38 WG 3
  • “Standing Document SD2: Compendium of Cloud Computing Usage Scenarios and Use Cases” is an extensive collection of cloud computing use cases based on SD1.

Contributions to ETSI Cloud Standards Coordination

In collaboration with the European Commission, the European Telecommunication Standardization Institute (ETSI) has established the so-called Cloud Standards Coordination (CSC) group as part of the European Cloud Strategy. The objective of CSC was to develop a comprehensive picture of the current state of standardization in the area of cloud computing. Experts from Fraunhofer FOKUS have acted as liaison from SC 38 towards this group. In addition, the SC38 Standing Documents have been provided to CSC as input material.


The first two international standards of SC 38 on cloud computing have been developed by a collaborative team comprising experts from WG 3 and the Study Group SG 13 of the International Telecommunication Union (Telecommunication Standardization Sector) ITU-T:

  • Information Technology – Cloud Computing – Overview and Vocabulary
  • Information Technology – Cloud Computing – Cloud Computing Reference Architecture

Both standards are expected to be published as free-of-charge documents by the end of 2014:

  • The reference architecture introduces a user and a functional perspective on cloud computing systems. The user perspective describes the major roles that parties involved in cloud computing service usage and provisioning can assume. The functional perspective describes the technical components (or functional blocks) of a cloud system.
  • Mapping to ISO/IEC 20000-1. The international standard ISO/IEC 20000-1 describes requirements on IT service provisioning in terms of processes of an IT service provider. The collaborative team of SC 38 and SG 13 has formed an ad-hoc expert group under the lead of experts from Fraunhofer FOKUS to analyze the relationship between these processes and the activities of the Cloud Service Provider role described in the reference architecture. An extensive report summarizing the results of this analysis has been compiled and submitted to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 40, the subcommittee responsible for maintaining the ISO/IEC 20000 standards family.


Cloud computing service level agreements

Recently, WG 3 of SC 38 has started a new project on Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for cloud computing. A three-part standard is under development that aims on providing a framework for defining SLAs in a unified way allowing for comparison of the offers of different cloud service providers. The three parts of the standard are:

  • Information Technology – Cloud Computing – Service Level Agreement (SLA) Framework and Terminology – Part 1: Overview and Concepts
  • Information Technology – Cloud Computing – Service Level Agreement (SLA) Framework and Terminology – Part 2: Metrics
  • Information Technology – Cloud Computing – Service Level Agreement (SLA) Framework and Terminology – Part 3: Core Requirements

New projects

With the finalization of the projects on cloud computing vocabulary and reference architecture, SC 38 has established a study group to identify new work items. A number of possible future projects have been discussed. Two of them have been accepted as new SC 38 projects:

  • Cloud computing data classification and data flows. The outcome of this project will be a standard that describes data types and data flows defined by the inter-relationship between cloud services and their usage through mobile devices.
  • Cloud computing interoperability and portability. Nowadays, the terms interoperability and portability are used in various contexts, referring to a number of different concepts. This standard will describe various types of interoperability and portability between cloud services.