This working group is involved in creating well-defined terms that describe storage services, especially in the areas of Quality of Service and Data Life-cycle. These terms should describe what the users (the scientists) can expect from the storage service, allowing them to compare different storage options and choose where to store their data with some confidence at how the storage service will behave.
The current lack of such standardised terminology makes it very difficult to compare the services and procure them. While Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) provide formal description of what the users may expect, the definition of those terms can vary between different communities and storage suppliers. There have even been cases where the lack of a common understanding have resulted in litigation during a procurement process. To this end, this working group is building a vocabulary that describes aspects of a data storage service that user communities care about. The aim is that this vocabulary may be used both when interacting with computers (e.g., in network protocols) and producing textual documents (e.g., SLAs, MoUs) to bring a common understanding of what is on offer and what is required.
A related concept is the data lifecycle: how data is handled over its lifetime. Some of these processes may be automated, provided such steps can be described in a generic fashion. By delegating these processes to some automated service, the scientists can focus on maximising their scientific output. However, this (again) requires a common language that describes what should be done. Such a language has multiple uses — it may be used when configuring storage or in higher-level documents such as a project's Data Management Plan (DMP).
The group will establish an efficient way to collect the terminology and use this to build the definitions. As the scope and the definitions themselves naturally evolve, versioning of the vocabulary will become necessary to support users that require isolation from such variability.
To be successful, this process needs to involve a community of international user, storage operators, as well as storage vendors and suppliers. Representatives of all those groups are welcome to join this process.
Note: the Storage Service Definitions WG was formally known as "QoS-DataLC Definitions"(Quality-of-Service and Data-Lifecycle Definitions) WG.