A new body has been launched today called the The Open Data Center Alliance. With data centres becoming the focus for IT, particularly as we move into the cloud, the objective of the organisation is to define usage models that will help IT users choose open, interoperable, industry-standard solutions in their data centres.
It’s been set up by a Steering Group of 10 global enterprises with significant IT operations; BMW, China Life Insurance Company Ltd., Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Inc., National Australia Bank, Shell Global Solutions, Inc., Terremark and UBS. There are already 70+ other companies that are members and more are invited.
The Alliance has already given a preview of its Usage Model Roadmap which will address the IT challenges and cloud infrastructure needs into the future. The usage models will become the foundation for Alliance members in their planning of future data centre deployments.
The alliance is vendor agnostic (although Intel will act as a technical advisor). It’s aimed to help users, but ICT companies can be members. Those already signed up include Atos Origin, Logica, AT&T, Nokia and others, but the major IT infrastructure and data centre players are noticeable by their absence.
An interesting development. This does seem to be a fight back by major users - the 10 Steering Committee member companies have $50 billion of technology spend annually. It reflects the fact that with IT increasingly moving to the data centres, particularly as the result of cloud computing, computer resources are becoming a utility, and that won’t work unless all the parts can work together effectively. At the moment companies are obliged to use multiple suppliers for computers, software and networking equipment which all have to be integrated and managed.
One significant aspect of the current mess, and one which the alliance is focusing on, is saving energy in the data centre. There are a number of incompatible and proprietary approaches out there (and companies are springing up all the time with new ideas) but it can only really be effective if there is a greater integration and co-ordination, for instance between the IT and cooling equipment. The ability to have this integrated, top-to-bottom approach to data centre resource and power management – a real utility delivery - is the holy grail.
I shall watch the progress of the Alliance with interest.