Open Data Center Alliance adds to list of needed cloud improvements

The group says that vendors need to develop more cloud-friendly licensing models

The ODCA (Open Data Center Alliance) -- whose membership roster includes BMW, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and Lockheed Martin -- has expanded its vision for how cloud services should work, with requirements for more cloud-friendly licensing and better mechanisms for access control.

The advantages of public cloud services are evident to most CIOs. The hope is that the cloud's multitenant, shared infrastructure will enable greater flexibility and lower costs, according to the ODCA.

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But getting from the current IT architectures with on-site servers to a cloud-based one isn't easy. To address the challenges IT departments are faced with, the ODCA was formed in 2010.

On Wednesday, the organization published two new frameworks -- the Software Entitlement Management Framework (PDF) and the Data Security Framework (PDF) -- which detail what the members expect from vendors. The first framework addresses the need to move away from what the ODCA feels are outdated software licensing models based on system or CPU core-count metrics to ones that match cloud-based, on-demand services and dynamic scaling of resources, it said.

"We have an installed base, and we don't want to throw away those licenses. So we have to find ways to get the installed base of licenses to a more cloud-enabled model," said Mario Mueller, chairman of the ODCA and vice president of IT Infrastructure at car maker BMW.

Licensing is always a hot topic, and so is security. The Data Security Framework addresses the topic from a number of different facets, including data encryption, event management and access control. The latter is proving to be a headache for enterprises that want to move services to a public or hybrid cloud, according to Mueller. There are no good solutions that allow him to remain in control of identity management even when using public cloud services, Mueller said.

In addition to that, Mueller would also like to see better automation that is more easily integrated with processes, and improved elasticity. For applications to be able to scale up and down as needed they have to be rewritten, and vendors are working on that today, according to Mueller.

The ODCA has also issued a white paper that details BMW's cloud project, which it hopes will help inspire other enterprises. BMW has started its cloud journey by implementing a private cloud. It did that because there are still many uncertainties related mainly to compliance and security, according to Mueller.

"We would like to learn from the private cloud implementation, but the goal is to move to at least a hybrid model. But in the future, I'd love to move to a public cloud to get better use of resources at a better price point," Mueller said.

The first implementation of BMW's private cloud will go into production this autumn with SAP-as-a-service and an open-source database-as-a-service. The underlying cloud platform is also based on open-source components, but Mueller doesn't want to detail which ones.

"Let us talk about that later in the year," he said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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