Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The NIST Cloud Federation Reference Architecture



Robert B. Bohn, Craig A. Lee, Martial Michel


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 an eleven component model. This document describes these components individually and how they function as an ensemble. There are many possible deployments and governance options which lend themselves to create a suite of federation options from simple to complex. The basics of cloud federation can be described through the interactions of the actors in a layered three planes representation of trust, security, and resource sharing and usage. A discussion on possible future standards and use cases are also described in great detail.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 500-332
Report Number


Federation, Identity, Resources, Authentication, Authorization, Cloud Computing


Bohn, R. , Lee, C. and Michel, M. (2020), The NIST Cloud Federation Reference Architecture, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created February 13, 2020