Microsoft shuns Open Cloud Manifesto

On Monday, an 'Open Cloud Manifesto' will be published. It appears that Microsoft will not be a signatory, and the major cloud player Amazon has also given it a cool reception.

On Monday, an 'Open Cloud Manifesto' will be published. It appears that Microsoft will not be a signatory, and the major cloud player Amazon has also given it a cool reception.

The manifesto was co-authored by Reuven Cohen from the Toronto-based cloud provider Enomaly. Although the precise terms of the manifesto will only become apparent with its draft publication on Monday, Cohen summed up its nature in a Thursday blog post:

The manifesto does not speak to application code or licensing but instead to the fundamental principles that the Internet was founded upon - an open platform available to all. It is a call to action for the worldwide cloud community to get involved and embrace the principles of the open cloud.

Earlier on Thursday, Steven Martin, a development platform product manager for Microsoft, said in his own blog post that Microsoft would not be signing up.

"We love the concept," Martin wrote. "We strongly support an open, collaborative discussion with customers, analysts and other vendors regarding the direction and principles of cloud computing."

However, Martin wrote, Microsoft was "disappointed by the lack of openness in the development of the Cloud Manifesto".

"What we heard was that there was no desire to discuss, much less implement, enhancements to the document despite the fact that we have learned through direct experience," Martin wrote. "Very recently we were privately shown a copy of the document, warned that it was a secret, and told that it must be signed 'as is,' without modifications or additional input."

Microsoft's Martin concluded that "any 'manifesto' should be created, from its inception, through an open mechanism like a Wiki, for public debate and comment, all available through a Creative Commons license".

Cohen then posted two more blog posts on the subject, the first expressing surprise at Microsoft's "pre-announcement" of the manifesto, and the second, on Friday, thanking Microsoft for publicising the manifesto.

Then Amazon, arguably the biggest player right now in the cloud computing scene, weighed in. A spokeswoman for the provider told our sister site ZDNet.com that Amazon had "just recently heard about the manifesto document" and had reviewed it. Beyond that, she did not give any firm commitments:

We do believe standards will continue to evolve in the cloud computing space. But, what we've heard from customers thus far, customers who are really committed to using the cloud, is that the best way to illustrate openness and customer flexibility is by what you actually provide and deliver for them.

As Larry Dignan, ZDNet.com's editor-in-chief, says: "Translation: It's a bit early to be tossing a manifesto around about cloud computing standards".

It is hard to judge the manifesto's worth before seeing its contents and the list of actual signatories. It is interesting, however, to see Microsoft chastising the document's authors for not being open and collaborative enough in their pursuit of common standards for an emerging technology.

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