Microsoft joins Open Data Center Alliance

The alliance has more than 300 members

Microsoft has joined the Open Data Center Alliance, a user-led organization that aims to simplify the purchasing of data center and cloud services by promoting interoperability and common standards.

The alliance has gathered over 300 members in its two-and-a-half years of existence. Most of them are users of data center and cloud services: Banks and telcos dominate, but others include a U.S. university, a French car manufacturer and the Dutch national police agency.

Vendors are welcome to join too, either as solution provider members or, like Microsoft, as contributor members, a status that allows them to see early drafts of the organization's publications and to contribute to the technical workgroups that write them.

Those publications include "usage models" defining standard terminology to aid in the writing of requests for proposals. The usage models cover areas including service orchestration, secure federation, long-distance workload migration and interoperability across clouds. There is also a tool to help write RFPs. The Proposal Engine Assistant Tool (PEAT) can generate ODCA-recommended verbiage calling for open, standards-based solutions to a variety of requirements.

Mario Mueller, ODCA Chairman and also vice president of IT infrastructure at BMW, welcomed Microsoft's move.

"Microsoft has a lot of experience in the cloud environment, especially in open standards and interoperability," Mueller said. "In the ODCA, we collaborate on the development of interoperability standards."

For Microsoft, membership of the ODCA will open up another forum where it can connect with users of its Azure cloud platform and services, said Colin Nurse, the company's CTO for global accounts. "Listening to customers is always a good thing for the industry to do," he said.

That's a sentiment echoed by Laurent Lachal, senior analyst for cloud computing research at Ovum.

"A lot of the large accounts that Microsoft has are in the ODCA, and it needs to follow them," he said.

Nurse said the alliance's emphasis on interoperability is important too.

"We're pretty proud of the interoperability of our Azure services," he said, emphasizing the broad range of protocols and non-Microsoft languages that Azure supports, including PHP and Python in addition to Microsoft's own .Net.

It's not just about interoperability between applications running in the cloud, though: It's also about the interoperability of the underlying infrastructure, and the ability to move workloads around.

"We do have customers that offer services across multiple cloud vendors, including us, because you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket," he said.

Other cloud vendors have already joined the ODCA, including Capgemini, Rackspace, Savvis and Verizon Terremark, but two big players are absent: Amazon Web Services, and Google with its App Engine, Cloud Storage and BigQuery services.

That's understandable, said Ovum's Lachal, because those vendors already in the ODCA are focused on large companies, and understand the constituency that makes up the ODCA, while AWS and Google are not natural participants.

"I see interaction with ODCA members as more of a top-down kind of thing, whereas AWS and Google are more of a bottom-up thing," he said. ODCA can be prescriptive and slow, whereas AWS and Google are more fast-moving.

"As ODCA gains more momentum, and as Google and Amazon move up the enterprise food chain, there may be more convergence," he said.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Green data centerserversMicrosoftOpen Data Center Alliancehardware systemsManaged Servicescloud computinginternetInfrastructure servicesenvironment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?