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Cloud4SOA project launched to resolve semantic interoperability issues between cloud platforms

The consortium partners of the Cloud4SOA project announce the launch of a 3-year collaborative effort to resolve the semantic interoperability issues that exist in current clouds platforms and on introducing a user-centric approach for applications which are built upon and deployed using cloud resources.

The European Commission FP7 funded Cloud4SOA initiative (Cloud Interoperability Framework and Platform for User-Centric, Semantically-Enhanced Service-Oriented Applications Design, Deployment and Distributed Execution) aims to combine three fundamental and complementary computing paradigms, namely cloud computing, service oriented architectures (SOA) and lightweight semantics, to propose a reference architecture and deploy fully operational prototypes.

>>The call for interoperability
Cloud computing’s quick rise to the market is flourishing due to clear industry-ready benefits: a business model to decrease capital expenditure, a "pay-as-you-go" service model, public/private/hybrid infrastructure as a service (IaaS) combinations, platform as a service (PaaS) for the developer, storage solutions, dynamic provisioning, and more.

At its high pace the cloud paradigm brings associated risks, as well, with vendor "lock-in" among the top of the list. Cloud vendors will be pressed to ensure interoperability with parallel (and competing) platforms as users become more invested in their hosting services and environment. The future will need a compromise between vendor-distinct innovation and user-friendly standardization that allows movement of applications and data between providers.

Although standardization is in its infancy for clouds, the call for this interoperability between vendors’ platforms not only serves to surpass this barrier in adoption but also ensures increased competition in this evolving user-focused market.

>>The Cloud4SOA approach
The Cloud4SOA project will identify and analyze the semantic interoperability problems within the cloud by carrying out a comprehensive analysis, particularly focused on the PaaS layer, while including stakeholder experience, requirements and feedback. The Cloud Semantic Interoperability Framework will be the result of this exercise, acting as a roadmap for creating such user-oriented flexible platforms.

The Cloud4SOA Reference Architecture will then be designed to resolve the most problematic semantic interoperability issues, introducing an open, generic architecture for a semantically interoperable cloud, capitalizing on service oriented architecture, lightweight semantics and user-centric design and development principles.

To validate this architecture, Cloud4SOA will implement, deploy and evaluate its usability, applicability and adaptability by developing a proof-of-concept platform which will be applied in different scenarios and setups across three European industrial and business showcases.

>>The European SME cloud market
In addition to its collaboration with standards bodies, Cloud4SOA will reach out to the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) participants in the European cloud market, including IaaS and PaaS providers, as well as user demands. By highlighting known and potential barriers in interoperability and portability, their consistent feedback is key towards such a framework and platform. This dynamic keeps the project practical and relevant throughout its lifecycle, needed to accurately address this rapidly evolving cloud market.

As a catalyst, Cloud4SOA will establish an expert group on cloud semantic interoperability to aid the community building process for discussion and development in Europe. This group will also be an important external feedback vehicle for project results, including the Cloud4SOA Semantic Interoperability Framework.

>>About the Cloud4SOA consortium
The Cloud4SOA initiative is a diverse nine-member, pan-European consortium representing industry, SMEs, research institutions and academic universities, coordinated by Atos Origin.
- Atos Origin (Spain)
- National University of Ireland Galway (Ireland)
- SingularLogic (Greece)
- Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (Greece)
- cloudControl (Germany)
- Cyntelix (Netherlands)
- Portugal Telecom Inovação (Portugal)
- Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT (Germany)
- RomTelecom (Romania)
Francesco D’Andria
Cloud4SOA Project Coordinator
Atos Origin

Alex Deeg | idw
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