Microsoft has established the Interop Vendor Alliance, a group of software and hardware vendors designed to promote interoperability between hardware and software systems.
Members include Microsoft partners AMD (Quote) , Business Objects (Quote), Novell (Quote) and XenSource, as well as rivals BEA Systems (Quote) and Sun Microsystems (Quote).
The group will work with customers to identify their top interoperability issues based around systems management, virtualization, identity management, data integration, storage management, portal integration and interoperability of developer tools.
Microsoft (Quote) officials said customers have been as concerned about interoperability issues as they have been about security and reliability.
Sam Rosenbaum, business development manager at Microsoft, said there isn't one definitive way to address interoperability issues between vendors, which is what the alliance hopes to resolve.
"The goal is to make interoperability easier and more efficient for our customers, and to create best practices for integrating these disparate systems," said Rosenbaum.
Vendors will gather feedback from vendors on customer scenarios where they are feeling the "pain points," said Rosenbaum.
The group will share best practices that result from testing and collaboration among vendors and customers through the Interop Vendor Alliance Web site.
Vendors will also be able to post descriptions, white papers and case studies about their work that provide interoperability with Microsoft on the site.
There have been numerous efforts to create interoperability and information exchange between products over the years, whether it's standard file formats or network protocols.
But that still wasn't enough, according to Jason Matusow, senior director for interoperability at Microsoft.
"Customers are telling us standards have come a long way and have helped the interoperability effort, but when the customers get the products from multiple vendors and put them in their environment, they are finding that standards alone aren't solving the problem," he said.