Once-Secret 'Cloud Manifesto' Sees Light of Day

The much-discussed "Open Cloud Manifesto," signed by dozens of vendors in support of cloud-computing interoperability, was officially released on Monday following several days of discussion in the tech media and the blogosphere last week.

By Chris Kanaracus
Sun, March 29, 2009

IDG News Service — The much-discussed "Open Cloud Manifesto," signed by dozens of vendors in support of cloud-computing interoperability, was officially released on Monday following several days of discussion in the tech media and the blogosphere last week.

The six-page document -- the existence of which was leaked early by a Microsoft blog post on Thursday -- includes six principles. The first asks that cloud vendors "ensure that the challenges to cloud adoption (security, integration, portability, interoperability, governance/management, metering/monitoring) are addressed through open standards."

Other principles say that vendors "must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms"; should use existing standards whenever possible; be careful about creating new standards or modifying existing ones; focus on customer needs versus "the technical needs of cloud vendors"; and that various cloud-computing groups, communities and projects should try to work in harmony.

Participating vendors include IBM, Sun Microsystems, VMware, Cisco, EMC, SAP, Advanced Micro Devices, Elastra, Akamai, Novell, Rackspace, RightScale, GoGrid and a number of others.

But key omissions from the participant list include Amazon -- known for its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service -- and Microsoft, which recently launched the Azure cloud platform.

An Amazon spokeswoman issued a statement saying the vendor only recently learned of the manifesto and "like other ideas on standards and practices, we'll review this one, too."

Last Thursday, Microsoft official Steven Martin trashed the manifesto on his official blog, saying it is flawed and was developed in secret.

Microsoft believes such a document should be developed through a process such as a wiki, allowing for public input and debate, Martin said. His post also spilled the beans on the manifesto's imminent release Monday.

And a group that had originally signed onto the manifesto, the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum, has decided to remove its name from it, according to a forum postSunday.

"This decision comes with great pain as we fully endorse the document's contents and its principles of a truly open cloud. However, this community has issued a mandate of openness and fair process, loudly and clearly, and so the CCIF can not in good faith endorse this document," group organizers wrote.

However, all the advance publicity may end up raising the document's profile, said Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and Linux at IBM.

"If anything maybe it will cause people to go, 'What is this thing?' and they can read it and decide for themselves," Sutor said.

The document is "not just hype," he added. "In the future, customers are going to use multiple cloud providers but their data is going to have to be portable. Customers are not going to be willing to be locked in."

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