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Outsourcing specialist EDS and systems management software partner Opsware are spearheading DCML.

EDS and Opsware are proposing a derivative of XML aimed at helping the systems in data centres better communicate with each other and with systems management and provisioning tools. Such a language would also put incompatible servers and applications under the control of one central DCML-driven console.

Opsware is spearheading the Data Center Markup Language (DCML) effort for very good self-serving reasons. Opsware's eponymous provisioning and management tool automates the initialization of operating systems and applications from bare metal to a running stack; it also reprovisions that server as needed and can be used to apply software patches to dozens of popular programs.

If DCML could be developed and accepted by the industry, Opsware could bring a lot more machine types under its control. Then again, so could another software vendor - which is always the risk in proposing any standard and championing it.

IBM, Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, and Microsoft all have their own ideas about delivering utility-based computing and centralized control of heterogeneous systems and incompatible applications, and none of the three big IT platform providers were part of the DCML launch yesterday.

The big industry players never champion a standard unless it is one of their own, so this is not surprising. If DCML gathers steam, they will get on board and try to differentiate themselves, their tools, and their approaches to systems management and utility computing.

Oddly enough, DCML may be just the tool that allows each of these vendors to attack what are essentially proprietary approaches to systems management and utility computing among IBM, HP, Sun, and Microsoft platforms.

EDS wants DCML to fly because such a language will, in theory, make it easier for it to control the machines that it uses to run outsourced applications. But the sword will cut both ways. What is easier for EDS will also be easier for IBM Global Services, HP Services, Sun Services, Control Data, and other outsourcers who also use DCML-based tools.

And just in case utility computing takes off as an outgrowth of outsourcing, EDS wants to be ready and have the right tools, partnerships, and technologies in place. That's why EDS is always seen standing next to Opsware.

Source: Computerwire/Datamonitor

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