Microsoft has joined the Open Data Center Alliance (OCDA) today as a contributing member in order to help the independent IT consortium draw up and develop new standards for cloud computing.

The addition will help strengthen the credibility of the OCDA, given Microsoft’s global influence and experience producing Windows Azure – its cloud computing platform that helps other businesses build, deploy and manage applications and services.

Microsoft will be contributing to the OCDA’s mission “immediately” and joins hundreds of other members including Nokia, eBay, AT&T and CERN.

The OCDA exists to identify the needs of data centers worldwide and draw up usage models that can help them in an open, industry-standard and multi-vendor way. It also aims to influence the industry by encouraging its members to adopt the Alliance’s recommended usage models.

“In line with Windows Azure’s commitment to openness and interoperability, we are pleased to join ODCA and work with industry leadership on standards for the cloud,” said Bill Hilf, general manager of Windows Azure. “We are dedicated to serving the industry and customers by providing an open, reliable and global approach to the cloud, and we look forward to contributing to the ODCA’s mission.”

The ODCA is led by a twelve member steering committee that includes BMW, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and China Unicom. Intel also serves as a technical advisor.

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