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Open Data Center Alliance Wants You

The Open Data Center Alliance, a group of CIOs from more than 70 mega-corporations that spend more than $50 billion annually on IT, is seeking to become "a leading voice of the IT community" and help "set the direction for how emerging technologies are developed and implemented in the future," says Marvin Wheeler, chief strategy officer, Terremark, and ODCA chairman and secretary. He is part of the alliance's steering committee, whose members include representatives from BMW, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Shell and UBS.

At launch the alliance previewed its 0.5 vendor-agnostic Usage Model Roadmap which consists of 19 prioritized usage models that address emerging technical requirements for data center and cloud infrastructure and is based on open, interoperable solutions that can be sourced from multiple vendors and interoperate across data centers. It also announced five working groups and their initial objectives for the first half of 2011. The infrastructure work group will focus on proximity-based storage; management will focus on policy based power management; security on infrastructure compliance; services on common provisioning; and the fifth, government and ecosystem, will focus on cloud and licensing models.

"We've laid out some key initiatives for the working teams to have a roadmap to get started," says Wheeler. "Now that the members are officially joining... then we will see the rubber hit the road." While the alliance has set an ambitious agenda, he says they have no intention of doing all the heavy lifting. Once the members have got a little bit of rhythm going, they will work with other alliances, i.e. Storage and security, as well as vendors and system integrators. "We can't go any further, we can't complete the task without the involvement of these other cloud ecosystems."

In a somewhat surprising move, the group has announced that Intel Corporation is its technical advisor. Wheeler says when it comes to technology, Intel is as close to Switzerland as you get. "We want to get the vendor community to be involved, to follow some of these roadmaps. Intel is a great liaison because they're not out there selling the hardware and software (with) a lot of experience in advising other groups."

According to a statement from Matt Eastwood, group vice president, Enterprise Platform Research at IDC, the alliance puts the power of designing the data center into the hands of IT managers. "The Open Data Center Alliance represents the first time such a significant number of end users are committing to an industry organization with the specific goal of defining data center and cloud usage models in an open, industry-standard and multi-vendor fashion."

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