OASIS (The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) recently released details about their new initiative that aims to create open standards for the portability of cloud services and applications. This effort, the Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications or 'TOSCA,' will allow for easier deployment of cloud applications that have the proper requirements for security, governance, and compliance without worrying about being locked into a vendor. This will let the operational behavior of services to become independent of the cloud provider or the technology used to host the service.
Here's an abstract that explains what OASIS is going for:
"The concept of a “service template” is used to specify the “topology” (or structure) and “orchestration” (or invocation of management behavior) of IT services (or simply “services” from here on). Typically, services are provisioned in an IT infrastructure and their management behavior must be orchestrated in accordance with constraints or policies from there on, for example in order to achieve service level
objectives.This specification introduces the formal description of Service Templates, including their structure, properties, and behavior."
If you're more of a visual person, you can find a great slideshow that offers a few major points of the proposal here.
The initial draft of TOSCA was co-authored by many influential names in the industry, notably IBM, Red Hat, and Cisco. Simon Moser of IBM, who also is a co-chair on the TOSCA committee says:
"TOSCA will be the first standard to describe IT services that go beyond infrastructure as a service. It will define service templates across *aaS layers, connecting them to the resource abstraction layer." --Simon Moser
These proposed standards could really help many companies who are attempting to shift into the cloud. To date, migrating applications across private and public infrastructures has not been an easy task. TOSCA could very well provide the solution for this critical void and allow customers to take full advantage of cloud services. If all of this seems intriguing, you can read through the specification in full here.