Open Data Center Alliance Publishes Usage Models

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The Open Data Center Alliance was formed last October as a “vendor agnostic” consortium hoping 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 group has grown to 280 members and claims annual IT buying power in excess of $100 billion.

This week the alliance began shaping its vision with the release of eight Open Data Center Usage Models that seek to define  “the most urgent requirements for cloud.” The group said the documents will help shape member purchasing and outline requests to vendors and solutions providers looking to deliver leading cloud and next-generation data center solutions. Publications are available as downloadable PDFs at the Alliance web site. The group is also hosting a series of webcasts on the models, which begin June 29.

Focus on Security Models

The models that may prove most useful, according to alliance chairman Marvin Wheeler of Terremark, focus on security concerns in cloud computing.  “These documents address some of today’s steepest barriers to cloud adoption by outlining requirements for a standard framework that articulates both the security capabilities to be delivered as well as how these security capabilities will be monitored by customers,” Wheeler wrote in a blog post. “To take things a step further, the Alliance is collaborating with the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) to identify standards to fulfill the Alliance’s requirements documented in these two usage models.”

Analysts said the usage models issued by the alliance will help build momentum for enterprise cloud adoption.  “The speed at which the organization formed and delivered the initial usage models sends a clear message to the cloud industry on how IT is planning to prioritize its data center and cloud planning along with the organization’s commitment to solve real challenges,” said Matthew Eastwood, group vice president, Enterprise Platform Research at IDC.

The usage models define IT requirements for cloud adoption and an Open Data Center Vision for Cloud Computing. These lay out a plan to enable federation, agility and efficiency across cloud computing while identifying the specific innovations in secure federation, automation, common management and policy and solution transparency required for widespread adoption of cloud services. Through adoption, these innovations aim to reduce $25 billion in annual IT costs within five years and unleash over $50 billion in cloud services innovation.

Highlights of the initial published usage models include:

  • Provider Security Assurance and Security Monitoring address IT’s greatest challenge for cloud adoption by proposing standard security levels for cloud services and compliance.
  • Service Catalog and Standard Units of Measurement for IaaS enable feature, price and performance comparisons across private and public clouds for increased transparency and easier IT decision-making.
  • Virtual Machine Interoperability and IO Controls address the technical foundation required for federated cloud interoperability and improved quality of service.
  • Regulation and Carbon Footprint Values outline expectations for cloud services to ensure compliance to government and corporate reporting requirements and outline a means for services to be CO2 aware for subscribers.

“This publication exceeds our expectations for a first statement of customer requirements for cloud and reflects the importance of this topic to our collective global membership,” said Curt Aubley,vice president and CTO of Cyber Security NexGen Innovation at Lockheed Martin, and Open Data Center Alliance president. “The organization’s ability to very rapidly come together, establish workgroups, and develop the initial usage models demonstrates what is possible when end users share a common vision for the requirements of shaping evolving data centers and cloud computing. The Alliance enthusiastically endorses use of the usage models for immediate use for member planning for cloud implementations and encourages the vendor and solution provider community to leverage these use case driven guidelines when developing products.”

The Alliance is collaborating with an ecosystem of standards bodies and vendors to turn these requirements into industry-backed, implementable solutions. IN addition to the Cloud Security Association, the ODCA also9 announced engagements with the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) to define IT infrastructure management requirements, The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) to drive standards for service transparency, and TM Forum’s Enterprise Cloud Leadership Council (ECLC) to advance services definition

In April the alliance established a new class of membership designed to enable solution providers to provide input on the organization’s roadmap for cloud technologies, saying the structure of the relationships would “(keep) the roadmap pure to the Alliance’s mission of publishing unbiased IT requirements for data center innovation.” Vendor members include Dell, EMC, Parallels and Red Hat.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief 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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