Kevin Fogarty just did a piece on Cloud Standards (Cloud Computing Standards: Too Many, Doing Too Little) where he highlights what seems obvious to anyone following the #cloud hashtag on Twitter: when it comes to cloud computing standards, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen, but no one has managed to make a meal. He cites example after example of big plans and broad visions that 12-24 months later have often resulted in little actual progress.

But for every effort to boil the ocean, there have been more tightly focused community standards that have gone a long way to bring meaningful standards to us. Even us pesky vendor-types have managed to contribute some useful stuff.

Take for example NetFlow from the folks over at Cisco. Prior to NetFlow, the market for network analysis was small and costly since it would require taps to collect data. Once Cisco opened up NetFlow, a wave of products came to market of all shapes and sizes that met every conceivable need. The democratization of the underlying information changed the dynamics of the market forever and for the better.

Then there is NFS from Sun Oracle which opened up the way files were read off of file servers. By democratizing access, anyone with a Berkeley Unix could access the server. This eventually went the route of RFC where it has remained in open development to this day, NetApp most recently having taken a strong hand in NFSv4. NFS proved to be a crucial technology for the industry and for the users that ran it.

Now it’s time to bring this kind of democratization of data to the application tier. We think AppFlow is the right standard for this and want to see the community adopt it as its own to foster and shape its development in the long term. There are three other companies already in the mix that will announce their participation at the upcoming Interop Las Vegas and we’re excited by the open market this creates.

If you haven’t already, take a look at AppFlow.org. If you think that standards have done you well (and if you’re using HTTP to read this, it has done you well…) then I think you’ll find that the next steps we put into standardizing application visibility will be downright awesome.