A couple of weeks ago, I represented EMC at ODCA’s annual event called Forecast. Open Data Center Alliance (or ODCA) is a worldwide organization comprising of Enterprise end users and providers, with both coming together to enable open and interoperable cloud. I personally am a big fan of ODCA and have mentioned many times in my previous entries the importance of the organization in solutionization. Here is a brief perspective on ODCA and how EMC is collaborating to come up with open and interoperable solutions.
ODCA’s working model
I’ll start with a brief overview of the working model, for those who may not be familiar with ODCA. ODCA operates at many levels of the solution adoption life cycle. It starts with the documentation of usage models by stating the requirements for the solutions. There is a big catalog of usage models that the organization has already published, and the organization continues to refine existing usage models as well as add new. The members take the requirements and add them to their RFP process in order to encourage the providers to align their offerings. To prove newer concepts, the members may work with providers on Proof of Concepts. ODCA announced the formation of Solution planning and a deployment work-stream, marking a higher focus on solution adoption.
ODCA comes together with its annual event in San Francisco to share its usages, PoCs, and partner solutions. I had described, in an earlier blog, the event as ‘right-sized’ for the likes of cloud technologists like me. By ‘Right-sized’ I mean targeted learning + targeted business meetings + targeted networking. Targeted learning because I get insightful discussions in my area from a mix of cloud consumers, providers, and thought leaders. Furthermore, I prefer targeted meetings and networking as most ODCA attendees tend to be actual end users or IT technologists of cloud computing.
Forecast ’14 didn’t disappoint me, even with my already heightened expectations. This year’s keynotes had a higher energy than year’s past with the inclusion of speakers like Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director of OpenStack foundation, and David Linthicum, the visionary Cloud Analyst from Gigaom Research. The tech talks were richer in content as well, with insights to how ODCA usage models could be used in real life applications and in conjunction with industry standards. An interesting Tech talk to reference here would be the work TSystem did with the Tosca model to showcase cross cloud VM migration. TOSCA is an open standard from OASIS that defines the interoperable description of services and applications hosted on the cloud. The PoC recommended the reference model for such a migration, using Tosca specification, and published the output for members to make use of.
The NDA 1:1’s were my favorite part of the event. I see others use these 1:1’s for sales and marketing, but I figure sale’s guys already get plenty of other opportunities to do that. These opportunities, in my mind, are best used to discuss strategic technology trends and directions. For example, I got a wealth of insights on my latest passion for Trusted Cloud Infrastructure. IT Director for BMW defined, for me, the use case and importance of trust in ‘connected cars’. SVP of Cloud, CapGemini, highlighted the importance of trust metrics in a managed Cloud environment. These are the kind of interactions that separates ODCA from other venues, in my mind.
EMC solutions alignment to ODCA
I introduced ODCA audience to the EMC Hybrid Cloud in my sponsored keynote at Forecast. The keynote highlighted how the EMC Hybrid Cloud addressed the requirement of interoperable cloud as stated in the usage model ‘VM Interoperability in a Hybrid Cloud Environment’. The solution supports the three ODCA usage scenarios, plus a whole lot more.
Usage scenario 1: Interoperability, which includes interconnectability and portability.
Usage scenario 2: Move or copy between private and public cloud.
Usage scenario 3: Leverage common operations across cloud
In its current release, the EMC Hybrid Cloud supports said usage scenarios between the Private Cloud and vCloud Air public cloud on the VMWare stack. In future releases, however, they plan to open it up to multiple providers and support a multi-cloud environment, much like OpenStack.
Apart from the hybrid cloud, another usage alignment to highlight would be on Scale out Storage. Isilon 7.1 supports many of the requirements listed in the usage model. For example, when ODCA calls out requirements for multi-protocol support, not only does Isilon support block and file, but it also supports HDFS. With HDFS support a user could run Hadoop queries on top of data stored in any file format. Also added is support for various security and availability requirements. So it is not surprising that we have a popular product, as it meets the requirements of end users, as stated in the ODCA usage model.
Stay tuned for a lot more products and solutions, aligned or guided by ODCA requirements, in the near future.
I feel inclined to call it a wrap for now, but look out for continued references to ODCA in my future writings. It is natural that EMC, in its quest for interoperable cloud, will continue to foster close relationship and alignment with ODCA. I wish ODCA the very best in its cause and vision, and wish to work together to see this vision through completion.