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Being an unabashed proponent of Open Source, I can avoid the news about a new industry group trying to start an initiative to open source data center design. The Open Source Data Center Initiative, announced last week, will act as a repository of technologies associated with the design of datacenters. This initiative aims to rope in smaller industry players and researchers from academia.

The complete freedom afforded by open source licenses allows for large scale innovation. We have seen the disruptive potential of open source in the traditional software world as well as in the cloud based world. In a way, open source encapsulates the freedom available in the academia and, therefore, has the potential to disrupt wide ranging fields. It is no surprise that the folks behind this new initiative thought of Open Source approach as the right model to foster innovation in the data center design.

Compared to other fields of IT, the innovation on the data center front is relatively slow because the industry as a whole is slow to change. With cloud computing capturing the imagination of enterprises and public, It is important to innovate rapidly on the data center side. There are many industry groups that are pushing for change in the data center industry suggesting many different best practices for innovation. The Open Source Data Center Initiative tries to take a different approach from the other efforts by tapping into open source philosophy to promote innovative ideas from the participants. It is a partnership between Greentech Research Foundation, Inc and University of Missouri to establish an engineering framework for datacenter design and technologies. The complete text of the agreement can be found here.

This effort is joined by one of the veterans in the data center industry, Mike Manos who is now building a cloud infrastructure for Nokia. In his blog post, he clearly highlights the role of this initiative

To be clear, this Open Source Data Center Initiative is focused around execution.   Its focused around putting together an open and free engineering framework upon which data center designs, technologies, and the like can be quickly put together and more-over standardize the approaches that both end-users and engineering firms approach the data center industry. 

Imagine if you will a base framework upon which engineering firms, or even individual engineers can propose technologies and designs, specific solution vendors could pitch technologies for inclusion and highlight their effectiveness, more over than all of that it will remove much mystery behind the work that happens in designing facilities and normalize conversations.

In my opinion, it is a pretty solid move to foster innovation. With the impending need for smart and green data centers, such an open source approach is the right way to go.

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Krishnan Subramanian

Krish dons several avatars including entrepreneur in exile, analyst cum researcher, technology evangelist, blogger, ex-physicist, social/political commentator, etc.. My main focus is research and analysis on various high impact topics in the fields of Open Source, Cloud Computing and the interface between them. I also evangelize Open Source and Cloud Computing in various media outlets, blogs and other public forums. I offer strategic advise to both Cloud Computing and Open Source providers and, also, help other companies take advantage of Open Source and Cloud Computing. In my opinion, Open Source commoditized software and Cloud Computing commoditized computing resources. A combination of these two developments offers a strong competitive advantage to companies of all sizes and shapes. Due to various factors, including fear, the adoption of both Open Source and Cloud Computing are relatively slow in the business sector. So, I take it upon myself to clear any confusion in this regard and educate, enrich and advise users/customers to take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies. I am also a managing partner in two consulting companies based in India. I blog about Open Source topics at http://open.krishworld.com and Cloud Computing related topics at http://www.cloudave.com.

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