Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Control: Customers versus Vendors

New Associations Differ in Approach and Likely Outcome

Cloud computing associations are popping up all over.  Earlier this month it was the Open Data Center Alliance, which, despite its name, aims to play a role in shaping the future of cloud computing.  Then, this week we saw the launch of the Asian Cloud Computing Association, which, despite its name, could have an impact on cloud computing around the world.

These two organizations differ most in terms of who each thinks should direct the evolution of cloud computing.  The Open Data Center Alliance is all about customers using their collective buying power to influence vendors, while the Asia Cloud Computing Association is all about vendors using their collective innovation to entice customers.  The customer versus vendor polarity of technology markets has been always with us, but perhaps never as strongly as it is with cloud computing.

As I discussed in my article on the debut of the Open Data Center Alliance, it is a customer-dominated group that aims to pool the $50b/year that represents the collective IT buying power of its members to assert a new measure of control over technology product and service vendors.  They describe themselves as "vendor-agnostic," implying a shared lack of faith or belief in any particular vendors, and they invite membership applications from companies who are "unencumbered by vendor interests."  The most accurate term might have been "vendor-neutered."

There is something decidedly defensive, maybe even obdurate, about this group's tone and language where vendors are concerned.  They seem to want vendors' offerings to be standardized, interchangeable solutions, differentiated more by price/performance than by functionality - the very definition of non-strategic technology.  And, they want vendor innovation to fall within those parameters.

One of the primary goals of the Open Data Center Alliance is to "Influence industry innovation focus with a collective membership commitment to utilize the Alliance's Usage Model Roadmap to drive purchasing decisions of data center solutions."  (The italic type and the implied chagrin are mine.)

I feel for them, I really do.  But, they should hate the players, not the game.  Predatory practices and pricing have always been far too commonplace among leading proprietary technology vendors, and I can appreciate this group's desire to change that.  However, necessity, not buying power, is still the mother of invention.  Buying power gets you Costco and Wal-Mart, not Apple and Oracle.  Innovation is, to some degree, intrinsically Faustian.  The alliance's solidarity could possibly force lower prices and higher interoperability from the vendors, but standardized innovation?  That sounds like a specious oxymoron and not a good foundation for cloud computing's future.

Now, let's zip to the other end of the spectrum where we find the new Asia Cloud Computing Association, a.k.a. Asia Cloud.

The Open Data Center Alliance is an organization founded and almost entirely populated by customers that seeks to recruit other customers and to assert requirement for the future of cloud computing to vendors around the world.  In stark contrast, Asia Cloud is an organization founded by vendors that is seeking to recruit other vendors, plus customers, policy makers, and researchers, to collaborate and agree on requirements for the future of cloud computing in Asia.  As such they represent two very different approaches to the same abstract goal of defining the to-be cloud.

Let's take a look at the vendor-driven approach of Asia Cloud and see where that might lead.

First, Asia Cloud was not founded by a cozy club of symbiotic companies - far from it.  Its charter members are Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, EMC, Microsoft, NetApp, Nokia Siemens Networks, Rackspace, Verizon, REACH (Asian satellite and voice services provider), SMART (Philippine telco), and Telenor Group (multinational mobile operator).   Asia Cloud aims to be vendor-neutral by including, rather than excluding as many vendors as possible.

Asia Cloud call itself a "collaborative forum" that combines the expertise of these and other vendors with that of customers, policy makers, and researchers to "accelerate the growth of the cloud market regionally by helping remove obstacles and leveraging opportunities" and by addressing "privacy and security concerns, compliance and regulatory mandates, licensing models, service levels, and other market risks."

Further, Asia Cloud intends to collaborate with other industry associations through an Alliances Committee and to conduct outreach and education campaigns through a Marketing Committee.

Internally, Asia Cloud is organizing a set of working groups which they describe like this:

  • Public Policy and Regulatory Working Group: will work to ensure that the interests of the cloud computing industry are represented and to contribute to public policy.
  • Security Working Group: to develop and promote cloud-friendly security governance and best practices to enterprises and policymakers.
  • Taxonomy Working Group: to support standardization and to develop a cloud computing framework.
  • Carrier-Grade Cloud Group: to identify and promote requirements for cloud computing solutions for carrier-grade applications.

This organizational scheme is not very different from that of the Open Data Center Alliance, which has a similar set of working groups, but the tone of their mission statements differ considerably.

The ODCA sees itself as a tribe of CIOs and data center managers, "creating a vendor-agnostic Usage Model Roadmap to guide us as we define open, interoperable, standards-based solutions to provide our businesses with greater efficiency, reduced costs, less complexity, increased flexibility, more choice and faster time to market."

Contrast their insular defensiveness with the expansive inclusiveness of this portion of Asia Cloud's mission statement.

"To establish collaboration among cloud stakeholders in Asia to accelerate the growth of the cloud market by:

  • Providing a platform for the members to discuss implementation and growth strategies, share ideas, establish policies and best practices relating to the cloud computing ecosystem;
  • Ensuring that the interests of the cloud computing community are effectively represented in the public policy debate;
  • Working with other societies and organizations that have similar interests and goals to Asia Cloud;
  • Promoting the common interests and benefits of the Members."

Where the ODCA seems to be massing to fight a zero-sum game with vendors, Asia Cloud seems to be focused on creating a win-win situation for everyone.  I'm betting the latter approach goes further faster and to the greater benefit of the largest number of organizations.

More Stories By Tim Negris

Tim Negris is SVP, Marketing & Sales at Yottamine Analytics, a pioneering Big Data machine learning software company. He occasionally authors software industry news analysis and insights on Ulitzer.com, is a 25-year technology industry veteran with expertise in software development, database, networking, social media, cloud computing, mobile apps, analytics, and other enabling technologies.

He is recognized for ability to rapidly translate complex technical information and concepts into compelling, actionable knowledge. He is also widely credited with coining the term and co-developing the concept of the “Thin Client” computing model while working for Larry Ellison in the early days of Oracle.

Tim has also held a variety of executive and consulting roles in a numerous start-ups, and several established companies, including Sybase, Oracle, HP, Dell, and IBM. He is a frequent contributor to a number of publications and sites, focusing on technologies and their applications, and has written a number of advanced software applications for social media, video streaming, and music education.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, m...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager - it's starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
In this presentation, you will learn first hand what works and what doesn't while architecting and deploying OpenStack. Some of the topics will include:- best practices for creating repeatable deployments of OpenStack- multi-site considerations- how to customize OpenStack to integrate with your existing systems and security best practices.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"We work around really protecting the confidentiality of information, and by doing so we've developed implementations of encryption through a patented process that is known as superencipherment," explained Richard Blech, CEO of Secure Channels Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU's GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes. In...
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...