IBM (NYSE: IBM) is spearheading an industry alliance focused on datacenter standards and improving product interoperability, claiming the initiatives will give enterprises better technology choices and greater market opportunities to vendors.
The standards effort announced today will scan across the entire data environment, from virtualization to networks, operating systems, security and service management. The alliance plans to collaborate with the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) on storage solution specifications and Green Grid, a non-profit focused on energy efficient technology funded by AMD (NYSE: AMD), HP (NYSE: HPQ), Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: SUNW) and IBM.
"It's not going to be enough to just embrace this. The goal is produce road maps and blue prints that provide customers real concrete guidance," Rich Lechner, IBM's VP of strategy enterprise systems, told InternetNews.com. "By promoting open standards and interfaces enterprises will be given the opportunity to pick different datacenter components that work best for their needs," he said.
IBM has pulled in technology notables, including Brocade and Citrix, as well as Emulex, Eaton, Juniper Networks, Novell, RedHat, Sun and VMware. Participating vendors will gain increased exposure to potentially new clients, and benefit from joint go-to-market activities and joint-development projects a well as exposure to early interoperability development, according to IBM.
Yet Big Blue, as well as at least one industry watcher, does not deny there are hurdles ahead.
"Yes, there are vendors that only want homogeneous environments, and want it 'their' way," admitted Lechner, noting that support from key players such as Sun, Novell and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) are important.
"We going across the layers of the datacenter. It's the breadth of this effort that puts it ahead of other standards work," he said.