Open Cloud Manifesto: Much Ado and to Do

The Open Cloud Manifesto is now available for viewing on Scribd, laying out a set of goals for cloud computing, and folks are wondering what all the hubbub is about.

The much-discussed Open Cloud Manifesto is now available for viewing, and folks are wondering what all the hubbub is about.

The document, which features the tag line, "A call to action for the worldwide cloud community," says it "is intended to initiate a conversation that will bring together the emerging cloud computing community (both cloud users and cloud providers) around a core set of principles."

The document, which is supported by the Object Management Group, IBM and several other companies, states:

"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."

Indeed, more than once the manifesto document says its goal is to begin a conversation around the principles needed to support the growth of cloud computing in the industry, rather than to define the conversation. A core goal of the document is to "level set" some of the basic definitions and concepts of cloud computing. And the goals of an open cloud listed in the document are: choice, flexibility, speed and agility, and skills.

The manifesto also states that the set of core value propositions for cloud computing includes scalability on demand, streamlining the data center, improving business processes and minimizing startup costs.

Although the site that will list the companies supporting the manifesto is not live yet-the manifesto will officially be unveiled on March 30-other companies supporting the document include Enomaly and GigaSpaces, whose general manager of cloud computing, Geva Perry, is listed as having uploaded Draft Version 1.0.9 of the document to Scribd.

However, Microsoft and have both said they are not ready to support the manifesto. It was Microsoft's Steven Martin, the company's senior director of developer platform management, who raised a concern about the manifesto, calling it biased. Now folks are asking why.

Perhaps Martin's concerns lie in the section of the Open Cloud Manifesto document on the principles of cloud computing. That section reads:

"Of course, many clouds will continue to be different in a number of important ways, providing unique value for organizations. It is not our intention to form standards for every capability in the cloud and create a single homogeneous cloud environment. Rather, as cloud computing matures, there are several key principles that must be followed to ensure the cloud is open and delivers the choice, flexibility and agility organizations demand:1. Cloud providers must work together to ensure that the challenges to cloud adoption (security, integration, portability, interoperability, governance/management, metering/monitoring) are addressed through open collaboration and the appropriate use of standards.2. Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms and limiting their choice of providers.3. Cloud providers must use and adopt existing standards wherever appropriate. The IT industry has invested heavily in existing standards and standards organizations; there is no need to duplicate or reinvent them.4. When new standards (or adjustments to existing standards) are needed, we must be judicious and pragmatic to avoid creating too many standards. We must ensure that standards promote innovation and do not inhibit it.5. Any community effort around the open cloud should be driven by customer needs, not merely the technical needs of cloud providers, and should be tested or verified against real customer requirements.6. Cloud computing standards organizations, advocacy groups, and communities should work together and stay coordinated, making sure that efforts do not conflict or overlap."

Said one backer of the manifesto: "When you read the document you can't help but wonder what all the furor is about."

There will no doubt be more on that after the launch on March 30.