IBM submits Cloud Computing Ref Arch to The Open Group

By Abel Avram

IBM has recently submitted the IBM Cloud Computing Reference Architecture 2.0 (CC RA) (.doc) to the Cloud Architecture Project of the Open Group, a document based on “real-world input from many cloud implementations across IBM” meant to provide guidelines for creating a cloud environment.

CC RA emphasizes the synergies between cloud computing and SOA remarking that

The essential characteristics for Cloud Computing are on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured Service. These characteristics can be found in requirements and SOA solutions in various organizations today, although these characteristics are optional for SOA and mandatory for cloud.

CC RA outlines four architectural layers proposed to be used in cloud computing:

  • Operational Layer containing the basic cloud computing infrastructure
  • Service Layer providing cloud services. IaaS is considered a service providing infrastructure along with PaaS offering middleware and SaaS providing applications.
  • Business Process Layer. IBM introduces a new type of service called BPaaS providing business processes as services similar to what SOA offers.
  • Consumer Layer. This is the layer consuming all the services generated by the previous layers.

According to CC RA, a high level view of a cloud environment looks like this:


CC RA continues by detailing each section of the diagram including the Common Cloud Management Platform (CCMP) which contains the largest number of components:


The CC RA is built on the ELEG ( Efficiency, Lightweightness, Economies-of-scale, Genericity) principles:

  1. Design for Cloud-scale Efficiencies: When realizing cloud characteristics such as elasticity, self-service access, and flexible sourcing, the cloud design is strictly oriented to high cloud scale efficiencies and short time-to-delivery/time-to-change. (“Efficiency Principle”)
  2. Support Lean Service Management: The Common Cloud Management Platform fosters lean and lightweight service management policies, processes, and technologies. (“Lightweightness Principle”)
  3. Identify and Leverage Commonalities: All commonalities are identified and leveraged in cloud service design. (“Economies-of-scale principle”)
  4. Define and Manage generically along the Lifecycle of Cloud Services: Be generic across I/P/S/BPaaS & provide ‘exploitation’ mechanism to support various cloud services using a shared, common management platform (“Genericity”).