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has often been touted as the technology of the future. However, in Australia, where the vast majority of businesses fall into the small to medium range, the Cloud is the technology of right now.

The last thing SMEs need to worry about is capital expenditure on infrastructure for hardware and software, as well as the considerable cost of maintaining software compliance. The burgeoning market for Cloud Services has finally come into its own, with Australia leading the way in adoption.

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The Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) has released three “master usage models” summarising requirements from its existing publications to help simplify the delivery of cloud computing.

With Gartner projecting that the cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market will grow to more than US$24 billion by 2016, the ODCA says these new usage models will drive interoperability and accelerate service delivery.

The ODCA is an independent consortium comprising more than 300 leading global IT users. it is led by a twelve member steering committee which includes National Australia Bank. The new Master Usage Models (MUMs) addressing a number of issues including security, management and interoperability.

“The MUMs are designed to deliver a comprehensive blueprint for cloud service delivery,” said Mario Müller, Open Data Center Alliance chairman, whose day job is vice president of IT infrastructure at car maker BMW.

“Publication should send a clear mandate to providers on customer expectations for IaaS solutions, and clarify requirements from solution stack composition to business processes. The Alliance expects the MUMs to enable providers to speed solutions to market and spur innovation by enabling service differentiation through feature enhancements atop a standard solution framework.”

The publications, released as the Alliance celebrates its second anniversary, represent input from across the Alliance’s members, as well as leading solutions providers and standards organisations, and further the Alliance’s mission to accelerate cloud adoption.

The ODCA says more than 10% of its members have already made purchasing decisions based on Alliance requirements, and more than two-thirds of ODCA members have signalled their intent to integrate Alliance requirements into purchasing decisions in the next 18 months.

“Adoption of IaaS solutions is a priority for a large portion of ODCA members. Comprehensive requirements for IaaS will assist many companies as they source services that are enterprise ready, and help remove obstacles for service procurement,” said Müller.

“The consolidated input of members, providers and standards organisations has driven the creation of a series of master usage models that our enterprise members can use to guide IT planning, and our provider members can follow to deliver services to the market. This will help ensure that individual cloud offerings will work in harmony, across deployments and independent of provider, and ultimately increase the confidence of business decision makers and IT organisations.”

The initial three MUMs focus on IaaS, the requirements to orchestrate the service and acquiring the service through a commercial framework. “Establishing a master services agreement between the provider and the consumer can take several months to negotiate, and can result in high legal costs on both sides,” said Müller. “The purpose of a commercial framework master usage model is to drive efficiency and value through the standardisation of the commercial dynamics involved in the cloud lifecycle.” 

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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