Cloud Service Trusts

Great Seal was created to promote a novel approach to cloud service delivery, which defines the service delivery process in terms of legal agreements that bind service providers to specific objectives and operating principles.

The proposed approach allows anyone to define a cloud service, which delivers specific cloud services, to support specific user communities, with specific assurances, formally managed by specific people, in accordance with a legally binding agreement.

Our proposal considers the entire service supply chain as an ecosystem, which is comprised of individuals and organisations that provide component services to specific communities of individuals and organisations with an expectation of mutual benefit.

The underlying principle is that each community should have free choice to select from multiple suppliers for each component service, and that cloud service fees should be distributed amongst the selected providers of component services on some equitable basis, which is not unduly biased in favour of the big tech companies.

The overall effect of the proposed approach is to democratise cloud service delivery by transferring power from the big tech companies to consumers, who are free to select component services from multiple providers, who in turn are free to select their own component services from multiple providers, based on any criteria that is acceptable and desirable to their consumer communities.

We believe this approach will support a cottage industry of cloud service providers and component service providers, which will be rewarded based on the aggregated adoption of their services.

We also believe that this approach highlights the value of individuals and small organisations as brokers for cloud services from larger entities, where the broker adds value by applying specific configuration to the more generic capabilities of those larger entities, and providing legally binding assurances about the resulting specialist services.

In particular, we believe that this approach offers a potential renaissance for business and technology innovators, who can design and develop software to support specific cloud service requirements, which is published under open source license to support global innovation and security review, but made available within the cloud service ecosystem on the basis that service providers will share revenue with the innovators that make their services possible.

We propose to operate cloud services under a legally binding declaration of trust, where settlors define the objectives and operating principles of the trust, specify the trustees and beneficiary communities, and provide initial funding.

We will need a formal language for describing such trusts, which would translate into formal implementation specifications.

Service specifications will need to be supported by virtual machine image libraries, with source code, validation evidence, and security reviews, which explicitly support alternative implementations, and include mechanisms for evaluating and selecting alternatives.

Service specifications will also need to formally address the selection and remuneration of cloud service infrastructure providers, including specialist providers that provide additional assurances about the infrastructure, such as assurances about the hardware, location, personnel, legal ownership, or independent reviews and audits.

We will also need a robust system for distribution, sharing and monetisation of information resources that support the cloud service ecosystem.

The natural basis for the information sharing network is the new Blockchain technologies that focus on securing the information supply chain, rather that supporting cryptocurrencies.

The natural basis for cloud service implementation is the emerging Unikernel market, where service specific functionality is compiled into virtual machine images that can run on any cloud service infrastructure that supports virtualisation.

We believe that Unikernels could become the basic building blocks for new cloud services and service components, which would ensure consistent delivery of the functionality, without implementation variations.

However, we would need to explicitly support alternative implementations with version control, validation records and security reviews.

Trustees would run Unikernels for the benefit of specific user communities in accordance with a formal declaration of trust.

Settlors would fund the initial creation of the trust, and define the objectives and operational principles in the declaration of trust, including the sponsorship rules for funding future service operations.

Beneficiaries would be the user communities supported by the services.

Sponsors could operate on a benevolent basis to support the user community, or could operate on a more commercial basis that allocates service costs to the users and/or communities supported.

This is a huge undertaking that may take many years to bring to fruition, but we have taken the first step by launching the open source DACOSIA project to develop the underlying technology required to support this vision.