Intel sole advisor to customer cloud alliance

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Intel sole advisor to customer cloud alliance

Alliance strives for vendor-neutral cloud computing standards.

Intel is the sole vendor on an international end user alliance that advocates vendor-agnostic open standards for cloud computing.

Launched last month, the 120-member Open Data Center Alliance was led by large enterprises including the National Australia Bank, BMW, Lockheed Martin and Shell.

The alliance represented more than $50 billion of annual IT expenditure on launch, and planned to include "anyone who is building cloud or data centre infrastructure and is unencumbered by vendor interests".

Intel has served the group as sole "technical advisor" since its launch. A spokesman for the alliance today said it had no plans to appoint any additional technical advisors.

"Due to Intel's unique role in the industry and deep experience with industry consortiums, Intel was asked to fulfill this role at the direction of the steering committee," she told iTnews.

"The alliance steering committee will determine if additional technical advisors are required in the future, and is currently discussing paths of engagement with vendors of data centre hardware and software.

"Broad industry engagement will be driven by alliance workgroups to foster spirited vendor-neutral debate on development of usage model documents."

Earlier this week, Intel told journalists in Sydney that it was excluded from most alliance discussions.

"We wanted this to be about the customer," said Jason Fedder, regional general manager of Intel's data centre products group. "We don't have a say."

Fedder also noted that the alliance had denied membership to government organisations, to keep discussions free from bureaucratic regulations.

But the alliance disputed this, noting that it would "welcome membership from government agencies who can agree to the alliance's membership terms".

"Anyone building cloud or data centre infrastructure and is unencumbered by vendor interests can become a member of the alliance," the spokesman said.

"Given the Alliance mission of a vendor-agnostic usage model roadmap, the steering committee is currently defining the scope of membership for companies who produce hardware or software for the data centre arena."

NAB was the only steering committee member from Australia. A spokesman for the bank said it had a "keen interest" in cloud computing, and already made use of some cloud services.

Earlier this year, the bank revamped its website, launched mobile banking applications, and created official accounts on Twitter and YouTube.

After having saved "more than six digits" from a three-year Collaborative Workspace Program, the bank also considered introducing customer-facing telepresence and videoconferencing in various branches.

"It's also fair to say that 'cloud' is only at the beginning of its journey; there is a long way to go before the industry is mature and the purported benefits are realisable," a spokesman for NAB stated.

"NAB joined the ODCA as a founding Steering Committee Member because we see a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with other global IT leaders to shape standards and best practices so that businesses can create value from cloud computing."

The alliance was expected to release a vendor-agnostic 'Usage Model Roadmap' by early 2011, to define the requirements of various usage models for the cloud.

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