The Data Center Markup Language (DCML) Organization today announced the formation of several technical working groups including the Framework, Applications and Services, Network and Server groups. The working groups will further define the DCML specification, which will play a critical role in enabling large-scale computing initiatives such as utility computing. The working groups kicked off their inaugural meeting at last week's DCML Member Meeting in Plano, Texas.

The DCML working groups are open to any member with an interest in and commitment to contributing to the goals of DCML. The working groups will meet quarterly and participate in online discussion forums to further define their respective categories and ensure that DCML is a comprehensive, vendor-neutral standard that will gain industry-wide acceptance.

"The formation of the DCML working groups is yet another milestone in the creation of the industry's first open data center standard to enable utility computing," said Louis Blatt, president of the DCML Organization and senior vice president of product strategy at Computer Associates. "By defining the requirements for their specific categories, the working groups will ensure that DCML builds on existing standards to provide a simplified and unified IT platform. DCML will enable organizations to relate IT resources to the applications and services that they support as well as govern the IT infrastructure through policy. This new standard will result in the ability to dynamically reallocate resources based upon changing business priorities."

Seventy percent of the survey respondents who participated in a recent IDC study, “The Marketplace's Perceived Importance of Software Standards,” cited standards as important to the future of software. Those respondents actively pursuing technology standardization believe that the most important reason to adopt standards is for the future compatibility of software.

The DCML Framework Working Group will define the overall approach, concepts and structures fundamental to DCML. The working group will also identify the process by which other working groups produce subsequent DCML definitions to support specific applications. Tim Howes, coauthor of DCML and chief technology officer and executive vice president of development at Opsware, has been named chair of the Framework Working Group.

The Applications and Services Working Group focuses on software applications and multipurpose services. It is chartered with defining the interoperability and interdependency specifications of applications and services in the data center. Darrel Thomas, coauthor of DCML and chief technologist for EDS Automated Hosting Services, and Eli Egozi, vice president of development at Computer Associates, have been named co-chairs of the Applications and Services Working Group.

The Network Working Group encompasses network hardware, embedded operating systems and configuration. It is responsible for defining the portions of DCML specific to the description of data center networking components, ranging from "simple" switching and routing elements to nodes providing advanced processing at all layers of the protocol stack. Dave Roberts, cofounder and vice president of strategy at Inkra Networks, and Christopher Burnley, director of engineering at Blazent, have been named co-chairs of the Network Working Group.

The Server Working Group focuses on server hardware, operating systems and other related software such as patches. The Server Working Group will define a format for exchanging data to enable the provisioning and management of servers in the data center. Ross Schibler, chief technology officer of Topspin Communications, and Josh Sirota, chief architect, office of the CTO, at Marimba, have been named co-chairs of the Server Working Group.

The DCML Organization is an open, independent, vendor neutral, non-profit corporation formed to create an open, freely licensed specification, Data Center Markup Language (DCML), and to encourage its broad adoption. DCML is the first standard that provides a structured model and encoding to describe, construct, replicate and recover data center environments and elements. DCML is designed to provide a mechanism to enable data center automation, utility computing and system management solutions to exchange information about the environment to make utility computing a reality. In addition to developing specifications, the organization intends to work with formal standards bodies, enable and administer certification and compliance programs, and perform user and market education. For more information about how to join the DCML Organization, or to learn more about planned activities and DCML, visit http://www.dcml.org.

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