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Data Center Group Issues Utility Computing Spec

By Michael Singer (Send Email)
Posted May 25, 2004


A consortium of companies looking to standardize data center practices released its first draft of a Framework Specification at an industry event Monday. The organization driving DCML wants to make utility computing a reality separate from the vision of HP, IBM, Sun, and VERITAS.

The Data Center Markup Language (DCML) Organization, which is led by Computer Associates, Opsware, and EDS and has about 45 members, 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, and structure, on which to build extensions, such as networks, servers, applications, and services; and the relationships with other standards, such as Common Information Model (CIM).

The draft is expected to serve as the 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 pay for computing resources as they need it based on the ebb and flow in their business demands, has become one of the hottest trends in the industry for enterprises 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.

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

For example, IBM and VERITAS recently announced a Utility Computing Working Group to create common object models for utility computing services, under the auspices of CIM, for managing 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 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 with the other formal standards bodies, such as OASIS, as well as certification and compliance programs.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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