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DOA: The Open Cloud Manifesto

The Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF) publicly launched its "Open Cloud Manifesto" Monday, but the document, which advocates open standards and interoperability between cloud platforms, generated few sparks after a spokesperson indicated that the CCIF isn't vouching for it.

In an admission that the CCIF hadn't followed community "norms" with various cloud computing stakeholders, CCIF founder and spokesperson Reuven Cohen noted in his blog that "when the Open Cloud Manifesto is officially released on Monday, March 30, the CCIF's name will not appear as a signatory."

Cohen is founder and chief technologist at Enomaly, a provider of cloud computing solutions. He denies being the instigator of the "Open Cloud Manifesto," which was created by "a broader group of supporters and coauthors."

The document as of Monday had the support of 53 signers on the CCIF's Web site, but some big names went missing from the roster, including Amazon.com, Google, Salesforce.com and Microsoft.

Last week, Steve Martin, Microsoft's senior director of developer platform product management, objected that Microsoft had not been allowed to offer suggestions to change the "secret" document after reviewing it.

"An open Manifesto emerging from a closed process is at least mildly ironic," Martin wrote in his blog.

Draft 1.0.9 of The Open Cloud Manifesto was leaked last week. Its mild pages hardly seem to inspire counter-revolutionary fervor. Could statements like, "hiding vendor lock-in behind the benefits of cloud computing will lead to long-term damage to the cloud computing industry," really be what irks Microsoft and other nonsigners?

Some writers have been suggesting that Microsoft's old nemesis, IBM, has been lurking in the shadows behind the CCIF and the manifesto. An InfoWorld article found proof from the confessions of two manifesto signers, who pointed to IBM.

When asked why the CCIF's process for reviewing the manifesto was "closed," Dirk Nicol, IBM's program director of emerging technology and standards, indicated that it all stemmed from a rapid creative process.

"Key members of the cloud community, including IBM, worked together to produce this document and endorse it in order to establish a set of core principles around the open cloud," Nicol wrote in an e-mail. "This foundational activity took only a few weeks and started as an idea with a small group. It then expanded to include others as it became clear that this idea needed to be shared or formalized with the broader community. This is typical of any creative process no matter if it is writing a specification, or writing open source code."

So, is the manifesto -- with its mild language and standards talk -- an IBM conspiracy to trip up Microsoft and any impetus it may have with its Windows Azure cloud computing platform, or is it "Much Ado About Nothing"?

It's hard to get too excited if you believe SAS's CEO Jim Goodnight. As reported in a ZDNet blog, Goodnight claims he simply came up with the phrase "cloud computing" as a marketing term to spruce up an otherwise dull reference to "server farms."

Martin, in a "Moving Beyond the Manifesto" blog post, indicated that Microsoft is meeting today on the matter with stakeholders attending the Cloud Computing Expo in New York City. Martin also put in a plug for a Microsoft announcement expected on Tuesday regarding the Azure Services Platform.

"Speaking of standards -- I'm thrilled to report that we will release the 'M5' (Milestone 5) CTP (Community Technology Preview -- think Beta) for .NET Services (part of the Azure Services Platform) tomorrow!"

If standards are all one, Microsoft's announcement will no doubt be happily received by all cloud computing technology providers.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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