Validating CDMI features – Object Expiration

Validating yet another feature of the CDMI standard (see previous post for an earlier one), Amazon announced their Object Expiration feature for S3. While not a new concept for storage interfaces, it is the first cloud implementation of this capability that I know of. The idea is simply to have the server side of the cloud do object deletion on your behalf automatically, once the lifecycle of that data has completed.

As part of overall Data Lifecycle Management, object deletion is the most common terminal state for data. CDMI has standardized the interface for this capability in cloud storage with a comprehensive Retention and Hold Management feature (Chapter 17). The granularity of the standard CDMI feature is finer than that of the S3 feature in that it allows for retention and deletion on individual objects (although you could accomplish this in S3 with prefix = object name, it doesn’t scale using the header fields that Amazon uses). The S3 prefix mechanism can be used to scope the expiration policy down to individual “directories” (forward slash terminated parts of object names), and CDMI allows this also for the semantically equivalent CDMI sub-containers.

Complying with Regulations

Although the ability to delete objects when their lifecycle completes is useful, it is insufficient for complying with regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, or for eDiscovery needs during litigation. For most enterprises, they need to show that the data has not been modified during its lifecycle. In addition, if a subpoena is issued for the data – you DO NOT want the object deleted, even if it’s retention period has expired – this can cost you millions of dollars in a pending court case…

The CDMI standard anticipates that storage clouds will want to offer a more robust, full featured retention and hold management for corporate data, and that a standard means of achieving it will be needed. Take a quick look at Chapter 17 (it’s quite compact while being comprehensive) and investigate using the standard way to achieve this function. If you are a cloud vendor trying to emulate the S3 interface, good luck to you – Amazon will continue to expand the definition of what “S3” means (like adding this feature), forcing you to constantly modify your cloud’s storage interface to keep up (as well as requiring you to reverse engineer any bugs that exist).

Validating CDMI features – Server Side Encryption

One of the features of many storage systems and even disk drives is the ability to encrypt the data at rest. This protects against a specific threat – the disk drive going out the back door for replacement or repair. So it was only a matter of time before we would see this important feature start to be offered for Cloud Storage as well. Well, today Amazon announced their Server Side Encryption capability for their S3 cloud offering. This feature was anticipated by the CDMI standard interface when it was finalized as a standard back in April 2010.

Standard Server Side Encryption

So, how does CDMI standardize this feature? Well, as usual, it starts with finding out if the cloud actually supports the feature and what choices are available. In CDMI, this is done through the capabilities resource – a kind of catalog or discovery mechanism. By fetching the capabilities resource for objects, containers, domain or queues, you can tell whether server side encryption of data at rest if available from the cloud offering (yes this is granular for a reason). The actual capability name is: cdmi_encryption (see section 12.1.3). This indicates that the cloud can do encryption for the data at rest, but also indicates what algorithms are available to do this encryption. The algorithms are expressed in the form of: ALGORITHM_MODE_KEYLENGTH, where:

• “ALGORITHM” is the encryption algorithm (e.g., “AES” or “3DES”).

• “MODE” is the mode of operation (e.g.,”XTS”, “CBC”, or “CTR”).

• “KEYLENGTH” is the key size (e.g.,”128″,”192″, “256”).

So the cloud can offer the user several different algorithms of different strengths and types, or if it only offers a single algorithm (such as the Amazon offering), the cloud storage client can at least understand what that algorithm is.

So how does the user tell the cloud that she wants her data encrypted? Amazon does this with a proprietary header of course, but CDMI does it with standard Data System Metadata that can be placed on any object, container of objects, queue or domain. This metadata is called cdmi_encryption (see section 16.4), and contains merely a string with a value chosen from the list of available algorithms in the corresponding capability. There is also a cdmi_encryption_provided metadata value to tell the client whether their data is being encrypted or not by the cloud.

Lastly, there is a system-wide capability called cdmi_security_encryption (section 12.1.1) that tells the user whether the cloud does server side encryption at all.

Server side encryption is an important capability for cloud storage offerings to provide, which is why CDMI standardized this in advance of having cloud offerings available. We expect more clouds to offer this in the future, and customers to soon realize that – without CDMI implementations, these offerings are locking them in and causing a high cost of exiting that vendor.

Plan to Attend Cloud Burst and SDC

Cloud Storage Developers will be Converging on Santa Clara in September for the Storage Developer Conference and the Cloud Burst Event

Cloud Burst Event

There are a multitude of events dedicated to cloud computing, but where can you go to find out specifically about cloud storage? The 2011 SNIA Cloud Burst Summit educates and offers insight into this fast-growing market segment. Come hear from industry luminaries, see live demonstrations, and talk to technology vendors about how to get started with cloud storage.

The audience for the SNIA Cloud Burst Summit is IT storage professionals and related colleagues who are looking to cloud storage as a solution for their IT environments. The day’s agenda will be packed with presentations from cloud industry luminaries, the latest cloud development panel discussions, a focus on cloud backup, and a cocktail networking opportunity in the evening.

Check out the Agenda and Register Today…


Storage Developer Conference

The SNIA Storage Developer Conference is the premier event for developers of cloud storage, filesystems and storage technologies. The year there is a full cloud track on the Agenda, as well as some great speakers. Some examples include:

Programming the Cloud

CDMI for Cloud IPC

David Slik
Technical Director,
Object Storage

Open Source Droplet Library with CDMI Support

Giorgio Regni

CDMI Federations, Year 2

David Slik
Technical Director,
Object Storage,

CDMI Retention Improvements

Priya Nc
Principal Software Engineer,
EMC Data Storage Systems

CDMI Conformance and Performance Testing

David Slik
Technical Director,
Object Storage,

Use of Storage Security in the Cloud

David Dodgson
Software Engineer,

Authenticating Cloud Storage with Distributed Keys

Jason Resch
Senior Software Engineer,

Resilience at Scale in the Distributed Storage Cloud

Alma Riska
Consultant Software Engineer,

Changing Requirements for Distributed File Systems in Cloud Storage

Wesley Leggette
Cleversafe, Inc

Best Practices in Designing Cloud Storage Based Archival Solution

Sreenidhi Iyangar
Senior Technical Lead,

Tape’s Role in the Cloud

Chris Marsh
Market Development Manager,
Spectra Logic

CSI Quarterly Update Q3 2011

A Message from
SNIA Links:

Follow SNIA:

SNIA Blogs:

Cloud Storage Initiative

Upcoming Activities

Get Involved Now!

A limited number of these activities are open to all, or Join SNIA and the CSI to participate in any of these activities

July Cloud Plugfest

The purpose of the Cloud Plugfest is for vendors to bring their implementations of CDMI and OCCI to test, identify, and fix bugs in a collaborative setting with the goal of providing a forum in which companies can develop interoperable products.

The Cloud Plugfest starts on Tuesday July 12 and runs thru Thursday July 14, 2011 at the SNIA Technology Center in Colorado Springs, CO.  The SNIA Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI) is underwriting the costs of the event, therefore there is no participation fee.

More Information

SNIA Cloud Burst Event

There are a multitude of events dedicated to cloud computing, but where can you go to find out specifically about cloud storage? The 2011 SNIA Cloud Burst Summit educates and offers insight into this fast–growing market segment. Come hear from industry luminaries, see live demonstrations, and talk to technology vendors about how to get started with cloud storage.

More information

Cloud Lab Plugfest at SDC

Plugfests have always been an important part of the Storage Developers Conference and this year will be the first Cloud Lab Plugfest event held over multiple days to test the interoperability of CDMI, OVF and OCCI implementations.

To get involved, please contact:

Cloud Pavilion at SNW

Every SNW, one of highlights is the Cloud Pavilion where attendees can see public and private cloud offerings and discuss solutions. Space is limited, so get involved early to ensure your spot.

To get involved, please contact:

Get your hands on a Storage Cloud


Building your own standards-based private storage cloud.

Tuesday May24th, 1-5pm

Omni Interlocken Hotel,

Broomfield, CO

This year at Gluecon SNIA will be conducting a Hands on Lab workshop for Developers,

This session will take you deeper into cloud storage than you likely have ever been. First we will explore the standard cloud storage interface called CDMI (Cloud Data Management Interface), including some of the rationale and design tradeoffs in its creation.

Learn about how to use the RESTful interface to move data into and out of a storage cloud using a common interface. Learn how CDMI enables data portability between clouds. Dig deep into features such as Data System Metadata (how you order services from the cloud), cloud-side operations, queues, query and more.

Then stick around as we load an open source Java implementation of CDMI onto your laptop to create your own private cloud. Explore the workings of the JAX-RS standard used in this implementation and the storage code working behind the scenes. Advanced users can even implement their own cloud storage features and expose them through the standard interface.

CDMI breaks out at SNW Spring

CDMI announcements at SNW Spring

The SNIA co-sponsors the Storage Networking World (SNW) conference twice a year. At the Spring 2011 SNW show, the CDMI specification was updated to version 1.0.1h (online at and the first commercial implementation of CDMI was announced.

The SNIA also put out a press release on the latest developments and progress that CDMI has made, including some new research results:

Cloud Storage Standard
Readies for Widespread Adoption

SNIA is establishing relationships with National and
International Standards Groups; Recent Market Research Reveals
CDMI will be Mainstream in RFPs

Santa Clara, Calif. (April 4th, 2011) — The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI), today announced that the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI), released as an official SNIA Architecture one year ago, continues to make significant steps toward broad acceptance.

“A critical part of delivering an industry wide standard is building a strong ecosystem of partners, alliances and supporting programs,” said David Slik, Co–Chair of SNIA Cloud Storage Technical Work Group. “As demonstrated by initiating relationships with nationally and internationally recognized standards bodies and our forthcoming CDMI Plugfest, we are making strong progress around delivering not only a strong standard, but a widely accepted and valued one.”

SNIA’s CDMI standard has been refined over the past year and is now being readied for further de jure standardization. The SNIA has joined the DAPS38 Technical Committee (which is responsible for Cloud Computing, among other technology standards) of INCITS – the primary U.S. focus of standardization in the field of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). The SNIA has also requested a Category A Liaison relationship with the ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC38 subcommittee for Distributed Application Platforms and Services (DAPS).

CDMI has been citied in numerous cloud roadmaps and studies, including those from ITU–T (International Telecommunication Union), TeleManagement Forum, SIENA (the European Standards and Interoperability for eInfrastructure Implementation Initiative), and NIST (the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology). The maturing CDMI Reference Implementation has been through initial testing of the NIST SAJACC (Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart Adoption of Cloud Computing) use cases..

SNIA CSI 2011 sponsored activities include Plugfests , with the first taking place April 19–21, 2011 at the SNIA Technology Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Cloud Plugfest allows vendors to bring their implementations of CDMI and the Open Grid Forum’s Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI) to test, identify, and fix bugs in a collaborative setting with the goal of providing a forum in which companies can develop interoperable products. For additional details on participating in the Cloud Plugfest, please visit .

SNIA CSI will repeat its “SNIA Cloud Burst Summit” in Santa Clara, California, on September 22, 2011 as an extended program with the SNIA Storage Developer Conference (SDC). In 2010, over 100 attendees participated in the Cloud Burst Summit, joining other cloud strategists and deployment professionals in this highly successful inaugural program that featured noted industry luminary Geoffrey Moore as the keynote speaker on the topic of clouds and IT transformation.

SNIA CSI has also partnered with Storage Strategies NOW to help bring to market research that will help inform the industry of the key insights around cloud storage. This information, which can be found in the IT Professionals Cloud Adoption Survey released today, will provide a valuable service to help users, vendors and the industry at–large track how adoption and use of cloud technologies should be considered. To learn more, visit www.ssg–

Deni Connor, principal analyst, Storage Strategies NOW added, “Our findings include that Email (66%) is the primary application for cloud storage, followed by backup (59%) and front office applications (45%). Additionally, 53% say that SNIA’s CDMI will be part of cloud storage RFPs/proposals; and 30% of respondents say SNIA’s CDMI is very important for public/hybrid cloud standard”.

Deni Connor, principal analyst, Storage Strategies NOW added, “Our findings include that Email (66%) is the primary application for cloud storage, followed by backup (59%) and front office applications (45%). Additionally, 53% say that SNIA’s CDMI will be part of cloud storage RFPs/proposals; and 30% of respondents say SNIA’s CDMI is very important for public/hybrid cloud standard”.

To learn more about SNIA and CSI stop by the SNIA CSI Cloud Pavilion on Tuesday and Wednesday during SNW Expo Hall hours.

About the SNIA Cloud Storage Initiative
The SNIA Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI) fosters the growth and success of the market for cloud storage for vendors, service providers, and users. Members of the CSI work together to advance the adoption of the SNIA Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI) standard, educate the IT communities about cloud storage, perform market outreach that highlights the virtues of cloud storage, and collaborate with other industry associations on cloud storage technical work. CSI member companies represent a variety of segments in the IT industry and include Actifio, Asigra, Broadcom, CA Technologies, Cisco, Cleversafe, CoreVault, Desktone, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, Iron Mountain, LSI Corporation, Mezeo, NetApp, Novell, Oracle, Scality, Sepaton, SpectraLogic, StorSimple, SwiftTest, Terasky, Terremark, and Xiotech. For more information on SNIA’s Cloud Storage activities, visit and get involved in the conversation at or

About SNIA
The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) is a not–for–profit global organization, made up of some 400 member companies spanning virtually the entire storage industry. SNIA’s mission is to lead the storage industry worldwide in developing and promoting standards, technologies, and educational services to empower organizations in the management of information. To this end, the SNIA is uniquely committed to delivering standards, education, and services that will propel open storage networking solutions into the broader market. For additional information, visit the SNIA web site at

Join the Cloud Storage Movement at SNIA’s Winter Symposium 2011

Every year the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has a gathering of their members in San Jose to coordinate the work of the various Technical Work Groups, Forums and Initiatives. This year the Symposium will take place January 24th – 27th, 2011 at the Sainte Claire Hotel in San Jose, CA. SNIA opens this Symposium to non-SNIA members who are evaluating membership, so feel free to attend. Please Register for the Symposium if you plan to be there in person.

SNIA Cloud Events

The Cloud Storage Technical Work Group (TWG) kicks off a multi-day face to face session starting at 1:00pm PT on Monday. We will be discussing the submission of CDMI for international standardization and continuing to discuss the scope of the next minor release (1.1) of CDMI. Topics include Federation and NoSQL among others. Bring your own ideas for how to improve CDMI. The full agenda has been posted publicly.

On Wednesday, the Cloud Storage Initiative will give an overview of their activities at a breakfast session starting at 8:30am. Then at noon on Wednesday, be sure and join us for the 2011 Activities Kickoff presentation in the Grande Ballroom. We will be showcasing all of the upcoming activities that you will want to be involved with over the next year. This session will be live streamed if you cannot make it in person. Regardless of whether you will be there in person or remote, please register for this update event (in addition to the Symposium registration above). More information.

Wednesday afternoon is the meeting of the Cloud Storage Initiative from 1-5pm (also in the Grande Ballroom). Be sure and join us and help plan the activities for the upcoming year.

Lastly, on Wednesday night there will be a Birds of Feather (BOF) session on a new group that is forming for the Archive and Preservation in the Cloud.

Whereas with Cloud Backup, the cloud is simply a repository of backup data, with Cloud Archive and Preservation, the Cloud is where the active processes occur that ensure long term retention, preservation and viability of data.
CDMI is uniquely designed to accommodate these needs with the Data System Metadata that it standardizes.
Cloud providers see the ability to offer more than just a best effort storage area with the promise of being the trusted steward of information for the long term.
Additional services such as eDiscovery and automatic format conversion can easily be offloaded to the cloud reducing costs.

Please join us Wednesday evening from 5:30pm – 7:00pm in the Grande Ballroom for a Birds of Feather session to kick off the formation of the CSI Archive/Preservation Special Interest Group (SIG). Light refreshments will be provided. If you would like to participate remotely, please use the following call in information:
Toll Free: 866-244-8528
Passcode: 510843#
Webex:, Meeting Name: Archive and Preservation SIG
Meeting Password: cloud2011

Why not pick one of the “open” APIs instead of CDMI?

There is a post by Jerry Huang , CEO of Gladinet on the problems with trying to be compatible with Amazon’s S3 API. Jerry suggest you look at OpenStack or a common library instead.

Amazon’s API (as with any cloud vendor’s API) is a moving target for sure, but the main issue is that these APIs are under the change control of a single vendor. Doesn’t matter how “open” the API is (in terms of copyright license) because the vendor can change it to disadvantage a competitor. So if you are a competitor, you would be foolish to use that API as the only interface into your cloud. So what happens? Each cloud vendor releases their own “open” API – similar but slightly different (enough to get around copyright), almost always RESTful and pretty much they all do the same thing.

So, you get the situation we have today with rapid proliferation of many different interfaces all pretty much the same. But that doesn’t help the poor clients. They have to code to N different interfaces to work with N different clouds. And since they are rapidly evolving, they have to keep up with all these API changes over time.

The Cloud Storage standard CDMI does not have this problem. CDMI is under the change control of a standards body (SNIA) and accommodates requirements from all the cloud storage players in it’s standardization process. More importantly, it was developed under the SNIA IP policy to help prevent any of the specification author companies from gaming the spec with their Intellectual Property. Thus cloud vendors can pick up the CDMI specification and implement it with confidence. They don’t need to come up with their own API. CDMI also has a standard way to extend the specification for vendor specific functions that still allows for core compatibility with other vendors. Want to do versioning? There is an example vendor extension in CDMI that shows you how.

From a client side point of view, Jerry also mentions common libraries. Jclouds is a good example of this (for Java). There also common libraries for other languages. While that can insulate a client from the many proliferating APIs, it’s a tough task to keep that library up to date with these APIs (just ask Adrian). The sooner the various cloud providers can implement the CDMI standard (even along-side of their existing ones), the sooner common libraries like Jclouds can just maintain a single adapter to a standard API.

SNIA Cloud Activities for 2010

Given that it’s the middle of summer it may be hot where you are, but the SNIA Cloud activities are heating up for the remainder of this year, and you don’t want to be left out.

SNIA Summer Symposium

At the end of July every year SNIA hosts a Symposium in San Jose for all the groups. The Cloud Storage TWG will be meeting from Monday afternoon through Thursday morning. The agenda is posted publicly and non-SNIA members are encouraged to attend.

Also at the Symposium Monday night is a Birds of Feather (BOF) session where we will be doing a demo of CDMI and OCCI working together in a common infrastructure. There will be time for details on the implementation and discussion afterward.

Thursday morning will be a special session to update folks on the SNIA Cloud activities for the remainder of the year. Besides the in person session at the Symposium, the session will also be broadcast as an online Webinar for folks who cannot make it in person. More information and a registration link is available on the SNIA Website.

Storage Developer Conference

In September will be the annual Storage Developer Conference (SDC) and this year Cloud is a big part of the agenda. There will be a CDMI Plugfest throughout the week, a Cloud Hands on Lab for developers, and Cloud Tracks all week including some big cloud related keynotes. But *wait* there’s more. Following SDC at the same hotel on Thursday September 23rd will be the…

SNIA Cloud Burst Event

#alttext# This is an event that is squarely focused on Cloud Storage and brings together end users, cloud providers and storage vendors for a unique experience including demos, a showcase and in depth sessions on this part of the overall cloud industry. More information is available on the Cloud Burst page.

Storage Networking World

For the past two SNWs, there has been a Cloud Pavilion with great traffic and interest from the attendees for those that participate. At this fall’s SNW in Dallas, we will repeat this successful program with a limited number of slots. In addition we will again have a hands on lab for cloud that is always well attended (by end users only). If you are looking for a speaking opportunity, please consider being a sponsor of the cloud summit at SNW where end users come to learn about the cloud and the offerings that are available.

SNW Europe

Last year SNW Europe was a huge success for the SNIA Cloud Participants, with a year over year increase in record attendance. This year will see an increasing set of activities around the cloud, including a new Cloud Pavilion and Hands on Labs. There are a limited number of slots for these and they will sell out early. Included is an opportunity for a speaking engagement as well.

“Membership has it’s privileges”

Many of these opportunities are open only to Cloud Storage Initiative (CSI) member companies. The membership fees help to fund these activities for the members and augment the work of the volunteers with paid resources. If you can help get your company involved, please contact Marty Foltyn ( for more information.