Hanging Together

Is it me, or are we seeing a decided trend lately toward industry consortiums to deal with problems/opportunities/standards/whatever?...

October 28, 2005

2 Min Read
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Is it me, or are we seeing a decided trend lately toward industry consortiums to deal with problems/opportunities/standards/whatever? The newest one is a body spearheaded by IBM (with the trendy name Aperi; I guess Altria was already taken) to create a common open-source storage management platform. That should matter to all of you server admins out there who also have to figure out your storage needs -- assuming you're not using equiment from EMC, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard, none of whom are part of this effort.

That's what differentiates a group such as this from a genuine standards-setting movement. Rather, groups of this nature are based at least in part on the self-interest of the companies engaged in forming them. And that can be entirely OK as long as the customers benefit as well.

The recent move by several server makers to form a group aimed at coalescing the Itanium community is a case in point. When I spoke with folks from Unisys, NEC, Fujitsu and HP who were touting that new alliance, they acknowledged that they would stand to benefit from increased awareness of, and sales of, Itanium systems; they also cheerfully pointed out that in the end, they'd still be competing with each other for sales out in the wide world. But if they're successful, they'll also end up with a community of ISVs pooling a knowledge base that will be readily available to customers. Everybody wins under that scenario. And they all said they were taking pains to be non-exclusive about the group.

No doubt the same concept is propelling Aperi, and many of you may benefit from this effort. But you have to wonder why some companies made the cut on this and others (who claim they weren't invited) didn't. Too many cooks can spoil a broth, but collective wisdom is the font of open source, and maybe it's not entirely present this time around.

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