The Open Cloud Manifesto: Publish it already

There's quite a ruckus over a "open cloud computing manifesto." The gist: The document is scheduled to be published Monday and is designed to lay out principles for cloud interoperability.

There's quite a ruckus over a "open cloud computing manifesto." The gist: The document is scheduled to be published Monday and is designed to lay out principles for cloud interoperability. 

Microsoft made its thinking on the manifesto quite clear on Thursday. In a blog post, Microsoft's Steve Martin, senior director of developer platform management, said the drafting of the open cloud manifesto wasn't all that open. According to Microsoft, the manifesto was a take it or leave it affair. 

Martin says:

Recently, we've heard about a “Cloud Manifesto,” purportedly describing principles and guidelines for interoperability in cloud computing. We love the concept...We were admittedly 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.  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.  It appears to us that one company, or just a few companies, would prefer to control the evolution of cloud computing, as opposed to reaching a consensus across key stakeholders (including cloud users) through an “open” process. An open Manifesto emerging from a closed process is at least mildly ironic.

Martin's response set off another flurry of reaction. The problem: Most of the folks commenting haven't seen this manifesto or can't reveal it's contents. And frankly, the only thing that's going to matter to me is who signs on to this manifesto.

Also seeMicrosoft fights the 'open' fight amid the clouds

One thing is certain: There's a big back-story here and there will be a drawn out scrum over standards, APIs and other cloud interoperability issues. The only thing that matters in the end is that clouds---private and public---have hooks to connect in the future. In the end, customers aren't going to care about how "open" a cloud is as long as they can freely move between them. 

The reality is that the manifesto is just a document to start a conversation and anything that kicks off with a loaded term like "open" will start with a bang. Does open mean that no company that has proprietary software can play in the cloud? The other reality is that clouds are likely to be mixed source just like every other piece of software today.

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