News Feature | July 15, 2014

NIST Forms New Cloud Working Groups

By Christine Kern

Cloud Working Groups

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced three public working groups to address cloud services, federated community cloud, and interoperability and portability. The working groups will bring together industry, government, and academic experts to address requirements laid out in the Cloud Computing Standards and Technology Roadmap.

According to a June 23 announcement, NIST’s Cloud Computing Program, or NCCP, has identified three areas challenging cloud adoption that will be addressed by the working groups. NCCP, which provides leadership and guidance for public and private entities on cloud computing use, has hosted a variety of meetings since the roadmap's release.

The three working groups are:

  • The Cloud Services working group, which will perform a study of cloud services and methodologies to determine their properties to clearly and consistently categorize cloud services. 
  • The Federated Community Cloud working group, which will define the term “federated cloud” and develop a path to its implementation. It is charged to develop a framework to support disparate community cloud environments — including those that access internal and external cloud resources from multiple providers.
  • The Interoperability & Portability for Cloud Computing working group, which will identify the types of interoperability and portability needed for cloud computing systems; the relationships and interactions between interoperability and portability; and circumstances where interoperability and portability are relevant in cloud computing.   

The Cloud Services group will address the roadmap's Requirement 4 — clearly and consistently categorized cloud services. The cloud computing definition promulgated by NIST categorizes cloud services as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Recently, dozens of new types of cloud services and acronyms for them have popped up in the marketplace. The new public working group will use the NIST Cloud Computing Reference Architecture to provide consistent categories of cloud services so buyers know what they are committing to before signing potentially costly, long-term contracts.

For more information on participating in the new public working groups, including call-in numbers, go to For more on the NIST Cloud Computing Program see

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