Roundup: The Open Data Center Alliance

Does the data center sector need another industry group? Intel and a group of major IT end users thinks so. Yesterday they launched the Open Data Center Alliance, a “vendor agnostic” consortium that intends to use the collective buying power of its members to shape technical requirements for data center and cloud infrastructure based on open, interoperable solutions.

The Open Data Center Alliance says its members represent $50 billion in collective IT spending, and are committed to a Usage Model Roadmap that will guide their data center and cloud purchasing decisions.

Intel serves as the technical advisor for the group, which is led by a steering committee composed of BMW, China Life, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Inc., National Australia Bank, Shell, Terremark and UBS.

“We believe the Open Data Center Alliance will quickly become a leading voice of the IT community,” said Marvin Wheeler, Chief Strategy Officer, Terremark, and Open Data Center Alliance Chairman and Secretary. “As a member of this Alliance, Terremark is helping to set the direction for how emerging technologies are developed and implemented in the future.”

The Open Data Center Alliance joins a number of other industry groups focused on standards, advocacy or end-user education, a group that includes The Green Grid, Data Center Pulse, AFCOM, the 7×24 Exchange, BICSI, The Critical Facilities Roundtable and The Uptime Institute, along with a growing number of smaller groups incubating on LinkedIn and other social media.

Here’s a look at coverage of the alliance’s launch from major IT publications:

  • ReadWriteCloud – It’s always a question when alliances come upon the scene. They tend to come and go, often existing to serve as marketing platforms for vendors more than anything else. But ODCA may be a different story. It’s in large part driven by customers who want to adopt cloud computing but find obstructions and often considerable expense when exploring the potential options for deployment.
  • GigaOm – Individually, each initiative has promise, but it’s as a collective that they hold the most potential. As we’ve seen with other alliances and grand visions, however, pulling off such an ambitious undertaking can be a real challenge.
  • The Register – Intel insists that the Open Data Centre Alliance is not its lapdog nor an Intel user group. BMW IT chief Mario Muller, an Alliance steering ccommittee member (and himself overlord of BMW’s 9-data-centre, 1600-terabyte, 1000 HPC corporate cloud) said that he and the other 70-and counting Alliance member CIOs controlled $50bn pa of IT spending, and that they are determined that the Alliance will be “vendor agnostic”.
  • Server Farming (Tech Target) – Cloud vendor interoperability is one of the major agenda items for the Open Data Center Alliance. Developing a standard to switch from one cloud vendor to another seamlessly isn’t going to be easy. But money talks. “The buying power of the membership is front and center — $50 billion and growing,” Feig said. “This isn’t going to take seven years to get a standard ratified. You’re either compliant or your not. I want to have an erector set of choices.”
  • ZDNet – Intel hopes to be the ringleader—technically a “unique advisory role”—as these companies pool their cloud research capabilities.
  • InformationWeek – Speeding cloud development and interoperability is likely to speed Intel and AMD chip consumption. That’s why Intel orchestrated the alliance. It will set best practices and standards that allow enterprises to proceed with cloud operations.
  • InfoWorld – The group’s formation is notable for couple of reasons: First, it signals that cloud computing has indeed captured the hearts and minds of major organizations worldwide. Second, it establishes an organized front for for companies outside the IT industry to flex their economic muscle and push vendors toward embracing open standards in the data center and cloud environments, in the name of flexibility. This vision arguably butts heads with the direction taken by major vendors such as IBM, HP, Cisco, and the like, who would like nothing more than to lock customers in to their own technologies.
  • ZDNet – Intel hopes to be the ringleader—technically a “unique advisory role”—as these companies pool their cloud research capabilities. That buying power is why this open data center push is interesting. Given the buying clout, vendors will have to play the cloud interoperability game. While it’s unclear how successful this alliance will be it is at least shedding the spotlight on cloud interoperability, a big emerging issue.

Here’s a video from the Open Data Center Alliance providing an overview of its mission:


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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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