NIST Cloud Federation Reference Architecture draft: now available in Public Comment

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20 Aug

NIST Cloud Federation Reference Architecture draft: now available in Public Comment

Cloud computing is becoming a deeply important infrastructure for society, not only powering much of the World Wide Web but also mobile applications, business systems, autonomous vehicles, and the Internet of Things. As other infrastructures have evolved—such as the global telephone system and the Internet itself—deep interoperability has been standardized, enabling service providers to federate with one another. Using such federation concepts, in a manner transparent to the end user while addressing security and privacy issues, an Internet Service Provider will facilitate access to the entire global internet and leverage the capabilities of many service providers behind the scenes.

NIST defines a Community Cloud as supporting organizations that have a common set of interests (as defined in NIST 800-145), where "there is a need to clearly define and implement mechanisms to support the governance and processes which enable federation and interoperability between different cloud service provider environments to form a general or mission-specific federated Community Cloud."

Requirement 5 of the NIST Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap (NIST SP 500-293), encourages the development of frameworks to support seamless implementation of federated community cloud environments as part of its interoperability and portability guidance. Cloud Federation will lead to a landscape of new options for how individuals and businesses will interact with the cloud. Data scientists will find the capabilities to access information related to data sets that are only available at a given location, and be able to access this information on site, and given a federation relationship with the local provider, access to compute and identity federation as well.

The NIST Cloud Federation Reference Architecture document is now in a Public Comment period until September 20, 2019. All public comments can be emailed to: or reported in the Comment Template Form (Spreadsheet File).

This document presents the NIST Federated Cloud Reference Architecture model. This actor/role based model used the guiding principles of the NIST Cloud Computing Reference Architecture to develop a model with 11 components: Administrative Domains, Regulatory Environments, Identity Providers, Cloud Service Consumer, Cloud Service Provider, Federation Operator, Federation Manager, Federation Auditor, Federation Broker, and Security. Those are described individually and how they function as an ensemble.