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The Open Cloud Manifesto Is Nothing But a Vapor Tiger

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[qi:004] Late last week, we watched the big names in the IT industry play their little reindeer games over a proposed Open Cloud Manifesto put forth by IBM (s IBM). I have to say, it wasn’t worth it. As far as Manifestos go, this one is pretty benign. Who cares if it was agreed to or drafted in secret — it doesn’t commit participants to anything.

No standards, no rules — merely a general idea that clouds should work together and data should be able to travel freely back and forth among clouds. The strongest sections note that clouds should be transparent in terms of offering up the location where a company’s data sits, and issue a call to avoid vendor lock-in.

Microsoft’s (s MSFT) decision to leak and deride this most timid of Manifestos is like getting back at someone who gathers a few world leaders together to get them to all decide to “be nice to each other.” It’s a nice gesture, but it’s not going to change the way the world works, so why is Microsoft pissing on everyone’s efforts? Check out the intro to the Manifesto:

This document does not intend to de?ne a ?nal 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 is intended for CIOs, governments, IT users and business leaders who intend to use cloud computing and to establish a set of core principles for cloud providers.

This isn’t the towering rhetoric that will slay an entire proprietary code base. The entire manifesto is here, but seriously, this is not worth the crazy shenanigans that preceded it. We do need standards, and it would be nice if they were available under a creative commons license, but I for one am going to stop wasting digital ink on this Manifesto madness. Data should be able to travel easily and freely from cloud to cloud. And people should be nice to each other. Now let’s get on with our lives, OK?

31 Responses to “The Open Cloud Manifesto Is Nothing But a Vapor Tiger”

  1. Sure, the first five pages of general background are pretty innocuous, but it’s all just a set-up for the Principles on the last page. I suspect they’re what might have turned off the folks at Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Specifically:

    “2. Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms and limit their choice of providers.”

    “3. Cloud providers must use and adopt existing standards wherever appropriate.”

    Who decides when a vendor is locking in customers? Who decides when and where existing standards are appropriate? How do you enforce these? Is this some sort of binding, legal document? It seems perfectly reasonable for Microsoft et al to have reacted the way they did.

  2. Now that the Manifesto is out and in full light, Microsoft’s decision to break the embargo and make a stink about it seems petty at best. In fact, they never really levy any criticisms at the Manifesto itself, choosing instead to talk about the “process.”

    All well and good, we are where we are. The next step is up to the community. Where does this go? Can we engage in a discussion about openness and interoperability in the clouds? Will Amazon, MSFT, Google — those with the most to lose — be willing to engage?–the-open-cloud-manifesto-manifesto

    • Stacey Higginbotham

      Sam, exactly. The underlying point is still that data should be able to get from cloud to cloud easily. They should be interoperable and the services added on top of them will be what keeps them from being interchangeable. Although services tend to stop being features and start becoming necessities that should be governed by open standards fairly quickly.

    • Aaron deMello

      Hi Reuven,

      I’m still trying to figure out who actually wrote this thing. Now that the CCIF has withdrawn support for it, then who is really behind it?

  3. Stacey – the only reason you feel that way is because you havent tape recorded yourself reading it aloud and played it back backwards … if you did you would know that its Diabolical and the end of Microsoft as we know it and that would mean no more windows azure

    • Chetan

      It is not just Microsoft. It is also non-presence of Google and Amazon, two companies who are actually “doing” something with cloud computing and not offering it up as marketing spiel as some of the startups and the Big Blue.

      @Alan Wilensky, I totally agree with you. I am totally amused by the recent developments. Amused.

  4. I followed that manifesto link, and I have to say that more empty blather U have not seen in many, many years.

    The small and medium businesses that I am refocusing my services on do not care a whit for that shit, and neither do they care for “machine instances’, etc. They want easy to provision services that can take over from the internal, incumbent architecture that they have been struggling with for years.

    Another thing: The thinly capitalized startups that are popping all over the cloud horizon are going to have a tough time getting real businesses in the real world to take up their gauntlet.