TClouds–An Interesting Initiative for Cross Border, Secure and Open Clouds

A friend alerted me to this interesting initiative out of Europe. Trustworthy Clouds (TClouds) is a grouping that, in their own words, “aims to build a prototype Internet scale ICT infrastructure which allows virtualized computing, network, and storage resources over the Internet to provide scalability and cost-efficiency”. A consortium between a bunch of private, educational and governmental organizations, TClouds has three distinct objectives;

  • Identifying and addressing the legal and business implications and opportunities of a widespread use of infrastructure clouds, contributing to building a regulatory framework for enabling resilient and privacy-enhanced cross-border infrastructure clouds
  • Defining an architecture and prototype for securing infrastructure clouds by providing security enhancements that can be deployed on top of commodity infrastructure clouds (as a cloud of-clouds) and assessing the resilience and privacy benefits of security extensions of existing clouds
  • Providing resilient middleware for adaptive security on the cloud-of-clouds. The TClouds platform will provide tolerance and adaptability to mitigate security incidents and unstable operating conditions for a range of applications running on such clouds-of-clouds

This is a really exciting initiative – talking with organizations looking to move to the clouds, be they public or private, some common themes emerge. There tend to focus around security, legal jurisdiction and data portability. The TClouds initiative covers these three concerns within its objectives.

Initially, in order to demonstrate what TClouds can offer, two scenarios will be prototyped;

  • A smart energy grid: TClouds will show how such energy-preserving systems can be migrated to a cloud infrastructure while increasing their resilience, privacy protection and tolerance against both hackers and hardware failures.
  • A patient-centric home healthcare service will remotely monitor, diagnose and assist patients outside a hospital setting. TClouds will demonstrate how the quality of in-home healthcare can be improved cost-efficiently without reducing privacy

In theory this is a truly exciting initiative. I’m a little dismayed that the only technical partner showing on the partner listing page is IBM. Nothing against Big Blue but there’s a bunch of other public cloud providers that I’d love to see involved in something like this. I’d really get excited if I saw the likes of Amazon, Rackspace or Microsoft involved as well.

Anyway, an interesting program and one to watch. A schematic of the strategy is below…

activities_tclouds