Intel and a group of high profile data center managers are banding together to drive cloud computing standards and interoperability. The organization, called the Open Data Center Alliance, boasts a handful of really big names, including BMW, Shell, JP Morgan Chase, and Lockheed Martin.
Andrew Feig, executive director in the infrastructure group at global financial services firm UBS is on the new organization’s steering committee. He said his motivation to participate is to get better utilization out of IT infrastructure.
“Every six months we’re getting more powerful servers and without a cloud model these efficiency gains will go out the window,” Feig said. “If you have one app running on a four year old server, and move it to a brand new server, your utilization goes from 10% to 2% on the new machine. You have to virtualize, but that’s only the first step.
“The cloud is that next evolution, completely abstracting the physical hardware from what’s running on it,” Feig said. “Virtualization is an enabler of that, but you need the intelligence to get the most out of the compute state. Virtualization is a halfway point. Getting virtualization working wasn’t easy, and getting cloud working is even more complicated.”
Feig said UBS is currently building out its internal private cloud capabilities, “But we don’t want a big integration curve if we want to look outside.” Feig said. “We’re looking for more standards to allow us to consume [public cloud]. Right now it’s a difficult meal to eat. Early adopters get locked in, and there is big pain switching later.
“There are a lot of big financial companies already using public cloud. Its not 20 years out,” Feig said. “If someone is doing a marketing launch or needs to scale up a rapid capacity for something on the Internet, why wouldn’t you do it on a public cloud?”
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.”
Intel is the organizing force behind the group as a non-voting technical advisor. The Open Data Center Alliance will offer its first public roadmap in Q1 2011.