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National Australia Bank Raves About the New Open Data Center Alliance

One large bank that's joined the Open Data Center Alliance, National Australia Bank, calls it "likely to be the most important, powerful, and useful industry association in information technology."

The new Open Data Center Alliance, a user group for data center and cloud technologies that we wrote about last week, has received high praise from National Australia Bank. Denis McGee, the bank's general manager, infrastructure and security services, is on the Alliance's steering committee.

"We're please to be part of the ODCA, which has been described as 'likely to be the most important, powerful, and useful industry association in information technology within two years,'" the bank told the website Delimiter. "NAB has a keen interest in cloud computing. We see some opportunities and already make use of some 'cloud' services. It's also fair to say that 'cloud' is only at the beginning of its journey; there is a long way to go before the industry is mature and the purported benefits are realizable."

The bank said it had joined the alliance as a founding steering committee member because it saw in the group "a unique opportunity" to work together with other global IT leaders to shape standards and best practices so that businesses could create value from cloud computing.

As Andrew Feig, executive director, technology advisory group, group technology infrastructure services at UBS (another founding member of the Open Data Center Alliance) told us last week, the 70 members of the group, who represent $50 billion worth of IT buying power, will create "road maps" for vendors outlining the basic features they'd like to see in data center and cloud technologies. It plans to start releasing these road maps in the first quarter of 2011.

Providing clear specs to vendors for interoperability, provisioning and such will allow banks to focus more on their applications and less on tasks such as integrating power systems, he says. Such compatibility could be helpful toward cost-cutting. For instance, being able to turn off half a bank's servers and air conditioners off at night could save a lot of money, but only if they can all be turned off at once.

The Alliance will also delve into cloud computing guidelines because cloud and data center technologies are so intertwined, Feig says. "To try to optimize one without the other would be foolish," he says. It will look at both private and public cloud computing, he says, because they deal with the same issues, such as multitenancy and service levels.

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