Within eight days of each other, the Open Data Center Alliance and the Open Compute Initiative held events in New York City. I’ve written about both these groups and their events on my blog, and I’m not here today to repeat my impressions or to compare the purposes of these two groups.

However, these groups both call for open designs, based on the open software world exemplified by Linux, and both call for increased standardization in data center design. Interestingly, both groups seem to welcome a wide range of participants, including vendors, developers, and end users. On closer examination, though, neither boasts a significant representation from the facility vendor community, although Future Facilities, a data center monitoring developer, did offer its support to the Open Data Center Alliance the day following the Open Compute Initiative’s Summit.

In this regard, both “open groups” resembled the Data Center Pulse, a largely open group of end users. However, the similarity ends there, as the Data Center Pulse, while supportive of standards, consciously intended an end user only community. Why then, do these open data center organizations not recruit some of the large power and cooling vendors who have proven time and time again to have a lot to offer and shown themselves to be willing to underwrite worthwhile organizations in the industry?

That said, however, the move towards increased standardization in the data center is promising, and I hope this trend continues. Those who follow my work recognize that I have long said that the data center industry hampered itself by a lack of maturity, as indicated by a lack of standards organizations and academic interest in the area.

I admit a general unfamiliarity with the “open” method of developing standards, so I was imagining a more formal public comment/ANSI standard method favored by ASHRAE. Even so, I recognize that standards can provide the basis for nurturing innovation by making it possible for more products to be tested in the market, increasing interopability, or both. In this case, the data center industry could arrive at standard ports (physical) or APIs that would enable the successful adoption of many innovative products.

I hope these initiatives grow to include facilities more fully, succeed in their aims, and eventually spawn the kind of research activities that will mark the full maturation of the mission critical industry.