In a keynote at the Cloud World Forum in London, the CEO of W3C, Jeff Jaffe (pictured), slammed the industry for not collaborating on cloud standards.
"Suppliers are not providing users with what they need. There is a great is an opportunity to grow the cloud market if there is standardisation," he said.
Comparing the cloud with the evolution of the web, he said the web has held true to the assumptions set by its founder, Tim Berners-Lee, concerning device independence and being designed for all.
He said the success of the world wide web is down to its openness and standardisation, which are lacking in cloud computing.
Among the arguments against cloud standardisation is that it hinders innovation. Jaffe argued that Cern, where the web was originally created, declared it would be royalty-free: "The web supports patents, and people are making money. Tim gave the web away for free, and the core infrastructure is not patented.
“A year ago, several standards bodies got together and asked how we created open standardisation. It was all about broad consensus and transparency."
There is a great is an opportunity to grow the cloud market if there is standardisation
Jeff Jaffe, W3C
Jaffe implied these attributes were lacking in cloud computing. He said cloud computing was being driven by supplier lock-in. "Silos lower value," he added.
Referring to a recent KPMG report, he added: “According to KPMG, a lack of standards is holding back the cloud.”
He argued that open source initiatives, such as OpenStack, are not the same as industry standards. Quoting Gartner, he said: "Open source software is not the same as open standards because no one is agreeing [on interoperability]. Even OpenStack will have difficulty with interoperability."
He said one of the big challenges for suppliers is deciding what to standardise. But lack of standards for interoperability will cause major problems for users.
"There are several incompatible PaaS [platform as a service]. The problem for people who want a standard infrastructure means the silos are getting deeper and we may never be able to create cloud standards if we don't act now," said Jaffe.