Is the Open Cloud Manifesto Doomed?

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-03-29 Print this article Print

Is the Open Cloud Manifesto doomed even before it's officially announced? The top three cloud platforms have decided not to participate. So it looks like IBM, Sun, Cisco and a host of smaller companies will be on hand to represent the new Open Cloud Manifesto when it is announced on March 30.

Is the Open Cloud Manifesto doomed even before it's officially announced?

Well, if not, it's certainly been hampered. Why? The top three cloud platforms have decided not to participate. So it looks like IBM, Sun, Cisco and a host of smaller companies will be on hand to represent the new Open Cloud Manifesto when it is announced on March 30. And some say Cisco's support may be iffy. But who will not be among the list of supporters are Microsoft, Amazon and Google. How can you claim to have a true examination of what the future should hold for cloud computing without the active participation of even one of those three companies? And what about, a cloud champion in its own right. Word is they aren't in the group of supporters either.

As reported on the GigaOm site on March 27, Google will not be a part of the manifesto crowd.

Stacey Higginbotham, of GigaOm wrote:

"Spokesman Jon Murchinson e-mailed me to say, "While we are not a party to the manifesto, Google is a strong advocate of cloud computing, given the substantial benefits for consumers and businesses. We value industry dialog that results in more and better delivery of software and services via the Internet, and appreciate IBM's leadership and commitment in this area. We continue to be open to interoperability with all vendors and any data."

Meanwhile, Reuven Cohen, founder and chief technologist of Enomaly, who has taken credit for helping to author the manifesto, said in a March 29 blog post that the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) will not be a signatory of the document.

Cohen, who has identified himself as a "CCIF instigator," said:

"To this end, when the Open Cloud Manifesto is officially released on Monday, March 30, the CCIF's name will not appear as a signatory. This decision comes with great pain as we fully endorse the document's contents and its principals of a truly open cloud. However, this community has issued a mandate of openness and fair process, loudly and clearly, and so the CCIF can not in good faith endorse this document."

Meanwhile, in a statement issued to eWEEK and others, said it would have no parts of the Open Cloud Manifesto. The Open Cloud Manifesto, as described in the document itself, says:

"We believe that these core principles are rooted in the belief that cloud computing should be as open as all other IT technologies. This document does not intend to define a final taxonomy of cloud computing or to charter a new standards effort. Nor does it try to be an exhaustive thesis on cloud architecture and design. Rather, this document speaks to CIOs, governments, IT users and business leaders who intend to use cloud computing and to establish a set of core principles for cloud providers. Cloud computing is still in its early stages, with much to learn and more experimentation to come. However, the time is right for the members of the emerging cloud computing community to come together around the notion of an open cloud."

Microsoft's Steven Martin riled up the situation around an open cloud manifesto in a blog post from March 26 where he claimed it was biased.

In an interview with eWEEK, Martin said Microsoft is opposed to the Open Cloud Manifesto on procedural issues and also because it says nothing about governance, such as who will govern the evolution of the effort and what goes into the process of managing cloud computing standards.

"Who will manage this effort and determine who is in compliance?" Martin asked. "If the answer is IBM we have significant concerns about that."

That is ironic because it is Microsoft and IBM who got together to create many of the Web services specifications that have led the way for much of the cloud technology to be used. However, the discussion is only beginning, with the Cloud Computing Expo running March 30-April 1 in New York, and the CCIF's Wall Street Cloud  Computing Interoperability Forum taking place on April 2, also in New York.

Martin said Microsoft is interested in having a conversation about the future of the cloud.

Meanwhile, in a March 29 blog post, Microsoft's Martin said:

"As you might expect, several of us spent most of Thursday and Friday of last week in conversation with developers, standards body members and other vendors regarding open standards for cloud computing and how we get there collaboratively. Being in this industry for so many years, I remember a time when new technologies and platforms did not produce much interest in standards and interoperability. It was great this time around to see broad support for openness in the cloud and transparency on the approach to interoperability. I was also happy to see a number of community-driven efforts spin up last week, which will provide enormously valuable feedback in defining the desired end-state. It's important for everyone to take a step back and remember this isn't about vendors; it's about developers and end-users.

"As I indicated on Wednesday night, Microsoft welcomes the opportunity for open dialogue on cloud standards. To that end, we have accepted an invitation to meet on Monday at 4 p.m. in New York at the Cloud Computing Expo, with other vendors and members of standards bodies. From our perspective, this represents a fresh start on the conversation - a collaborative -do-over' if you will." 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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