Smaller providers are tired of big players monopolizing the cloud — and now they are banding together to do something about it.

Intent on balancing out a market they claim is unfairly dominated by large public cloud providers, the newly formed Open Cloud Alliance (OCA) claims it has a strategy to level the playing field. The group is a network of providers, software vendors and system integrators.

Move Over, Please

The cloud space is growing exponentially despite security concerns. But some say that growth is imbalanced. “Today’s cloud market is controlled by large providers that lock users into their closed ecosystems,” said Rafael Laguna, CEO of Open-Xchange, a vendor recruited into the OCA program.

He said the OCA was formed to create a more customer-friendly arena. "The participating companies will solve some key challenges in cloud computing and create an environment in which users are less dependent on large providers," he added.

The OCA claims smaller local providers fall short when it comes to making the leap from web to cloud hosting services, primarily because they don’t have the infrastructure to make the switch. The group hopes to bridge the divide by establishing a platform smaller providers can use to develop their cloud portfolios.

“At the moment, the cloud market isn’t open and fair. Services are incompatible with one another, making migration difficult,” said Laguna. “But with the OCA, users are at the forefront of all decisions, creating a level playing field that delivers the quality and surety that users expect and deserve.” The goal is to give local providers the edge they need to be competitive.

The lack of trust is a strong barrier for the adoption of cloud services in small- and medium-size businesses, Laguna said, adding:

Unsurprisingly, flexible deployment options is a top priority for U.S. companies and this is exactly what OCA offers – a standardized platform that is able to connect and integrate with already existing infrastructures and directories such as Microsoft Active Directory or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). This allows SMBs to switch between cloud providers and on-premises any time they want.”

The OCA platform is designed to play well with others, including technologies like Open Stack. “We are bringing together service providers and ISVs while making choice a prerequisite for trusted cloud services,” said Laguna.