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Terms of Reference of ITU-T Focus Group on Cloud Computing

1. Scope

The Focus Group, established in accordance with Recommendation ITU-T A.7 will, from the standardization view points and within the competences of ITU-T, contribute with the telecommunication aspects, i.e. the transport via telecommunications networks, security aspects of telecommunications, service requirements, etc., in order to support services/applications of "cloud computing" making use of telecommunication networks; specifically:

  • identify potential impacts on standards development and priorities for standards needed to promote and facilitate telecommunication/ICT support for cloud computing
  • investigate the need for future study items for fixed and mobile networks in the scope of ITU-T
  • analyze which components would benefit most from interoperability and standardization
  • familiarize ITU-T and standardization communities with emerging attributes and challenges of telecommunication/ICT support for cloud computing
  • analyze the rate of change for cloud computing attributes, functions and features for the purpose of assessing the appropriate timing of standardization of telecommunication/ICT in support of cloud computing

The Focus Group will collaborate with worldwide cloud computing communities (e.g., research institutes, forums, academia) including other SDOs and consortia.

2. Rationale

According to the agreement of the fourth World Telecommunication Policy Forum (Lisbon, 2009) and the October 2009 meeting of the high level industry representatives (WTSA Resolution 68), ITU-T study groups were invited to accelerate their work related to cloud and grid computing, noting that increased services and applications using cloud and grid computing may result in the need for new levels of flexibility in networks to accommodate unforeseen and elastic demands. Also, a recently published ITU-T Technology Watch Report titled "Distributed Computing: Utilities, Grids and Clouds" describes the advent of clouds and grids, the applications they enable, and their potential impact on future standardization.

Cloud computing involves a new "as a Service" delivery models for:

  • Infrastructure "IaaS" (virtualization, data center, servers, storage, networking...)
  • Platforms "PaaS" (on demand management, information system, security...)
  • Software "SaaS" (applications...)

Cloud computing may offer several key benefits that effectively relate to economics. Applications might be deployed faster and simpler without upfront capital costs for servers and storage. For this reason, many enterprises, governments and network/service providers in the world are now considering to adopt cloud computing into their services in order to provide more efficient and cost effective network services.

The Focus Group will interact with these various activities in order to familiarize ITU-T with emerging aspects of cloud computing, in particular with the view of possible requirements on telecommunication/ICT.

It is to be noted that already there are many examples of cloud computing service offerings available.

3. FG objective

The objective of the Focus Group is to collect and document information and concepts that would be helpful for developing Recommendations to support cloud computing services/applications from a telecommunication/ICT perspective. To achieve this objective, the Focus Group will

  • update living list of standards bodies, forums and consortia dealing with aspects of "cloud computing"
  • gather new ideas relevant to and identify potential study areas to support cloud computing
  • collect visions and value propositions for cloud computing in terms of telecommunication/ICT
  • provide terminology and taxonomy for cloud computing and reuse existing terminology and taxonomy as far as possible
  • access stability and timing of cloud computing implications on telecommunication/ICT networking requirements
  • analyze telecommunication/ICT networking requirements functions and capabilities to support cloud computing services/applications.
  • suggest future ITU-T study items and related actions
  • identify potential impacts on standards development within the scope of the ITU-T, e.g., for
    • NGN including mobile and overlaying platforms
    • Transport layer technologies
    • Terminals and application aspects over integrated broadband cable and television networks
    • ICT and climate change
    • Management and control including signalling
    • Interface of networks and Interoperability
    • QoS and security
    • Distributed media-rich processing and intelligent media coding
    • Identity management

4. Relations within and outside ITU-T

The FG should work in close collaboration with all ITU-T study groups (e.g., through collocated meetings, see clause 11), for instance on the coordination of respective work programmes in order to avoid duplication and overlap of work, and on the coordination of seminars and workshops according to Recommendation ITU-T A.31.

The FG will also cooperate and coordinate its work with the other ITU sectors (ITU-R, ITU-D), and with other relevant bodies outside ITU-T (universities, research institutes, SDOs, forums/consortia, regulators, policy-makers) in accordance with Recommendation ITU-T A.7.

Special attention will be paid to collaboration with SDOs and the cloud computing sector.
ISO/IEC/JTC 1/SC 38/Study Group on Cloud Computing is of particular relevance for this Focus Group.

5. Specific tasks and deliverables

  • Benefits of cloud computing from telecommunication/ICT perspectives
  • Gap analysis of ITU-T standards for telecommunication/ICT to support cloud computing
  • Collect and summarize vision and value propositions of cloud computing with a focus on telecommunication/ICT aspects
  • Leverage expertise within the ITU-T in building telecom networks to take advantage of cloud concepts and capabilities
  • Contribute in this regard to the studies undertaken in response to WTSA Resolution 73 (ICTs and Climate Change) and Council Resolution 1307 (ICTs and Climate Change).
  • Terminology and taxonomy and to develop new definition when necessary
  • Analysis of telecommunication/ICT networking requirements functions and capabilities to support cloud computing services/applications (for both fixed and mobile)
  • Use cases of services and reference models for telecommunication/ICT to support cloud computing
  • Roadmap to guide further developments of relevant ITU-T Recommendations.

6. Parent group

The parent group is TSAG.

7. Leadership

See clause 2.3 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7

8. Participation

See clause 3 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7. A list of participants will be maintained for reference purposes and reported to the parent group.

9. Administrative support

See clause 5 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.

10. General financing of the FG

See clauses 4 and 10.2 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.

11. Meetings

The frequency and location of meetings will be determined by the Focus Group and the overall meetings plan should be announced as soon as possible. The Focus Group should use remote collaboration tools to the maximum extent, and collocation with existing meetings (e.g., study groups and research activities). The meetings will be announced by electronic means (e.g., e-mail and website, etc.) at least 4 weeks in advance.

12. Technical Contributions

Technical contributions are to be submitted at least 10 calendar days before the meeting takes place.

13. Working language

The working language will be English.

14. Approval of deliverables

Approval of deliverables will be taken by consensus.

15. Working guidelines

Working procedures will follow the procedures of Rapporteur meetings. No additional working guidelines are defined.

16. Progress reports

See clause 11 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.

17. Announcement of Focus Group formation

The formation of the Focus Group will be announced by TSAG via ITU publications and other means, including communication with the other organizations and/or experts, technical journals and the World Wide Web.

18. Milestones and duration of the FG

The Focus Group lifetime is one year from the 1st meeting.

The following milestones are proposed:

  • Holding of the first Focus Group meeting (14-16 June 2010)
  • Presentation of the first draft of the deliverables as identified in clause 5 at the TSAG meeting 8-11 February 2011

19. Patent Policy

See clause 9 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.