Management Matters, June 2009

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Welcome New Members

SunGard Availability Services LP



The DMTF Standards Incubation Process: Promoting Open Collaboration throughout the Standard Lifecycle

By: By Josh Cohen, Vice Chairman of the Board and Process Committee Chair

With the launch of the Open Cloud Standards Incubator in late April, DMTF initiated its first effort using the standards incubation process. DMTF incubators are designed to enable members to work together to produce informational specifications that can later be submitted for further standards development.

Why was the Incubator Created?

In the past, the development cycle for a future standard often began with a group of vendors working privately to create a specification. Once finished, this specification would be submitted to a standards body, such as the DMTF, for ratification as a standard. While these private efforts were very successful in certain situations, they also had various drawbacks. Even when operated fairly, they were still governed by agreement of the vendors involved rather than an open standards body with a well-defined process. The incubator process allows vendors to form a group within DMTF to develop such a specification. The DMTF process ensures oversight by a standards body rather than private vendor agreements. The DMTF processes themselves are defined, in a democratic process, by the members of the organization. In cases where there is a disagreement, members can use a well-defined escalation process which may proceed up to the DMTF Board of Directors for resolution. This provides a mechanism to enable transparency and resolve issues fairly and by consensus of the organization.

How is an Incubator created?

New incubators can be proposed by any two Board or Leadership member companies within DMTF. Incubator proposals are submitted to the DMTF Process Committee Chair, who notifies the general DMTF membership of the intent to form the incubator. Interested members then work to develop a charter, which must be approved by the Board of Directors before the incubator can begin working on its stated deliverables.

Once an incubator is approved, any DMTF member can participate to provide input. The Incubator may define additional requirements for members who wish to participate at a leadership level. They also define their voting rules and processes, where they do not conflict with overall DMTF processes, to allow increased flexibility. This flexibility provides vendors an alternative to private collaboration.

What is the output of an Incubator?

An Incubator will produce deliverables, such as specifications or other materials, that are considered informational specifications. Informational specifications produced by DMTF incubators are reviewed by the Board, which determines the next step for the work. Specifications developed through the incubator process are expected to evolve into permanent DMTF standards; however, there is no guarantee that DMTF will accept the specifications. More information on the incubator process is available here.

If informational specifications are deemed appropriate for evolution into standards, they may be transferred, by the Board, to an existing or new working group. That working group will apply DMTF’s standards development process to take, as input, the Informational Specifications developed by the Incubator and produce consensus-based DMTF standards.

What’s next?

In the case of the Open Cloud Standards Incubator, the incubation process allows DMTF members to begin building alignment around an approach for addressing the emerging cloud ecosystem early in the technology’s life cycle. This alignment, flexibility, transparency, and governance by the DMTF allows for a streamlined path to produce standards in a timely manner.

DMTF is very pleased to be using the incubation process to explore the possibilities for cloud standards. We look forward to the group’s continued work in this exciting space.

Upgraded Web Tools Coming Soon; Training Webinar Scheduled for June 17

In early July, DMTF will migrate to an updated version of the Kavi platform. The upgrade features several changes and improvements to the existing DMTF Web tools that will help members collaborate more efficiently.

To ease this transition, DMTF is offering a training webinar for members on June 17 at 8:00 a.m. PDT. The training will be accessible at Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the capabilities of the new platform. More information on the migration will be available in the coming weeks.

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