The brouhaha over IBM's Open Cloud Manifesto appears entirely political and that's a good thing. (Picture by John Blankenhorn.)
IBM got together with some smaller cloud vendors to put out a document saying, in effect, that "open clouds are happy clouds" but the four biggest vendors of cloud-based services -- Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com -- all responded "now just a goldarn goldarn."
What's happening? Distrust of IBM is what's happening.
While today's big four are selling cloud services, IBM is going into the business of building actual clouds. Open standards would benefit IBM, giving its customers assurances they are future-proof.
The service revenues of Big Four don't get that help. Amazon, for instance, is getting monthly checks from their customers, customers who trust them,, and having to meet some IBM "standard" in the market is cost without benefit.
All this moved both Google and the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum to pull out of IBM's manifesto at the last moment. They are not yet ready to make nice.
Why is this good news? Partly because IBM is being treated seriously again, suspiciously again. IBM has been using open source for years to re-enter the mainstream of competition, and it's now mission accomplished.
Hopefully, this will also flush out the technical discussions necessary to create a real consensus going forward, an open and transparent standards process in which users are genuinely engaged and reporters get to bring popcorn.
In the end open cloud standards are in the best interests of the user community, just as open standards are good everywhere. But the market is still too new for anyone to dictate what the standards will actually be.
We don't know whether the market will want one cloud, several clouds, or whether clouds will become, as in IBM's vision, just another mainframe alternative. The market just has not yet sorted it out yet.
So relax and enjoy the show.