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Data Center Group Issues Utility Computing Spec

A consortium of companies looking to standardize data center practices released its first draft of a Framework Specification at an industry event Monday.

The Data Center Markup Language (DCML) Organization, which includes about 45 members and is led by Computer Associates, Opsware and EDS, , said version 1.0 will be the first standard to provide a model and to describe, construct, replicate and recover data center environments and elements.

The San Ramon, Calif.-based group said draft 1.0 defines a conceptual data model; processing rules for interpreting DCML document instances; semantics, grammar, structure, on which to build extensions, such as networks, servers, applications, and services; and the relationships with other standards such as CIM .

The draft is now expected to serve as a base on which future DCML subgroups can publish additional specifications.

"DCML offers the only vendor-neutral specification and builds upon existing standards to provide the core competency of associating assets with services, roles, environment architecture and IT policies," Louis Blatt, president of the DCML Organization said in a statement.

Utility computing, or on-demand computing, in which companies can pay for computing resources as they need it with regard to ebbs and flows in business demand, has become one of the hottest trends in the industry for companies looking to cut costs by automating the infrastructure in their data centers.

But one of the pitfalls associated with this grand undertaking is the number of disparate products from competing vendors in the data center. While IT administrators have worked around running say, IBM software on servers from Sun with adapters and plug-ins, new interoperability tactics are required for utility computing models.

Rivals HP, IBM, Sun Microsystems, and VERITAS are all spearheading their own utility computing models, with different approaches and architectures.

For example, IBM and VERITAS announced a Utility Computing Working Group to create common object models for utility computing services under the auspices of the Common Information Model (CIM) for the management of disparate hardware, software and services.

While two disparate standards could conceivably divide the industry, the fact the two sets of rivals are working together to crack the interoperability issue demonstrates the importance for assuaging customers' concerns.

DCML said it is that it is working in the same vein as other organizations focused on standardizing IT components such as SNIA for storage and CIM for desktops. The group is also working on working with the other formal standards bodies such as OASIS as well as certification and compliance programs.



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