Microsoft has joined the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) as a contributor member.
The ODCA is an independent organization that counts dozens of companies among its members, including Nokia, Rackspace, Motorola Mobility, and AT&T. It is very publicly committed to crafting a cloud-computing future based on open and interoperable standards. As part of that vision, it hosts technical workgroups in which members gather to define the cloud’s development, usage and regulatory frameworks.
“In line with Windows Azure’s commitment to openness and interoperability, we are pleased to join ODCA and work with industry leadership on standards for the cloud,” Bill Hilf, general manager of Windows Azure, wrote in a statement accompanying the news. “We are dedicated to serving the industry and customers by providing an open, reliable and global approach to the cloud, and we look forward to contributing to the ODCA’s mission.”
Microsoft joining the ODCA seems like a pretty logical move, as it gives the company a seat at the table in defining the various aspects of cloud computing. It’s also a good bit of PR, by aligning it with other high-profile entities determined to keep the cloud seamless and open.
“The ODCA brings together leaders from across industries to work together towards a vision of open, industry standard cloud solution delivery,” Mario Mueller, BMW’s Vice President of IT Infrastructure and Chair of the Alliance, wrote in a statement. “In order to truly accelerate availability of cloud services, enterprise IT needs to work closely with cloud service and solution providers. Microsoft’s participation is a valuable addition to the organization’s mission, and we heartily welcome their membership.”
But make no mistake about it: Microsoft fully intends to seize as much market share for its numerous cloud services as it possibly can. Take its Office productivity suite, for example: Microsoft has spent the past several weeks aggressively pushing Office 365 Home Premium, which is available via the browser for a $99.99-per-year subscription fee, over the latest version of its “traditional” office software—even highlighting on its own Website how the cloud-based version is a better deal. That’s not a move by a company dabbling in the cloud; that’s one betting one of its biggest cash cows on it. Factor in Microsoft’s continuing investments in Azure, SkyDrive, the Windows Store and other online platforms, and one can see why the company likes to say its “all in” with regard to the cloud.
That could make for some very interesting discussions in those technical workgroups.