Thursday, 3 November 2011

Open Data Center Alliance progress

The Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) held a press conference today to give an update on progress after just one year in operation. The organisation says that membership has quadrupled and now represents over $100bn in collective IT spend and that the members expect their cloud deployment to triple in the next two years.

The ODCA’s objective is to define usage models that will help IT users choose open, interoperable, industry-standard solutions in their data centres, particularly as we move to cloud computing. The organisation has estimated that delivering industry standard solutions will help accelerate over $50bn in cloud investment in the next three years. At the same time, adoption of more efficient solutions will save $25bn globally - simplified cloud management is a critical aspect of achieving this increased efficiencies.


The organisation made three main announcements today:

  • Collaborations on potential standards with the Cloud Security Alliance and DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force).

  • The release of the ODCA’s first industry best practices paper, offering seven best practices for cloud application development and resiliency.

  • The addition of Hewlett Packard (HP) and Computer Associates (CA) as members. It means the Alliance now includes representation from over 90% of the virtualisation software market and over two-thirds of the server hardware market.


For more background on the ODCA see my previous blog. I get the impression that its rapid progress over the last year has surprised even the organisation itself. It suggest a fight back from users who are concerned about the range of disparate, and often proprietary, systems in the data centre that are becoming increasingly hard to manage.

If you add a layer of energy and emissions monitoring and management on top of that (also using a variety of technologies and standards) then detailed and effective management of data centre power use is a complex process. It’s no wonder that many IT departments have limited themselves to the easy stuff, such as virtualisation. From there on it gets harder.


There lies my only concern about the OCDA. Carbon footprinting is one of the usage models it’s working on, but managing power is apparently not a priority of its members – which I find surprising. I wonder who the survey respondents were. I suspect that if you asked the CEO of these organisations then power use and carbon footprinting might have a higher priority. And you can bet your shirt that if it isn’t now it will be soon.

I would like to see the OCDA getting stuck into the data centre power management debate, helping to set standards, enable comparisons, produce best practice documents, etc. I know the organisation is reluctant to tread on the toes of other groups working on these issue, such as The Green Grid, but as a user organisation it should be much more closely involved to help champion and push through universally accepted standards. One of the organisation’s roles must surely be as a green IT educator, leveraging the experience of its most knowledgeable members. Leaving power management until it’s a priority for all members could prove costly, in more ways than one.

© The Green IT Review

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