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Cloud Talk

Andre Yee

Do We Really Need a Cloud Computing Manifesto?

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It's finally here - the ambitiously monikered "Open Cloud Manifesto". Over the past two weeks, it's been shrouded in mystery and garnered more attention for who's not signed onto its agenda. Microsoft has blogged about the lack of openness (ironically!) in the process of drafting the document. And apparently, Amazon and Google decided not to sign on either.

I was going to blog about it on Sunday prior to its release but decided to wait for its release. Now that it's officially released, I find the substance of the document decidedly anticlimatic and perhaps a little naive. Here's a sample of what I mean about its naivette -

2. Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms...

4. When new standards are needed, we must be judicious and pragmatic to avoid creating too many standards...

Does this really have to be said? And, pardon my cynicism, but which vendor would readily admit to using their "market position to lock customers into their particular platforms". At the end, apart from the rather effective job at generating hype, what did the Open Cloud Manifesto truly accomplish?

Initiatives like the Open Cloud Manifesto are never the catalysts for technology innovation and progress. In fact, such initiatives are often the inhibitors to progressive adoption because they regress into "political tug of war" rather than focusing on delivering value to the customer. I have no doubts that interoperability is essential for the future of cloud computing but forming a committee isn't going to make it happen.

Instead, market forces at work, will drive competitors like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and a host of smaller vendors to deliver interoperability in response to customer needs. What we need is real technology, delivered and working - that's what it really means to be both "pragmatic and judicious".

What do you think? Am I too cynical and unjustifiably negative? You can read the entire manifesto here


I think you are being a little too cynical about what they are trying to do here :-) Ultimately they have said they see this as a start, not the definitive view. I agree they are being a little naive not to expect market leaders to try to lock customers in to their respective technologies as this is a natural thing for market leaders to do.

I see it as being rather similar to what happened with the original Web Services (WSDL, SOAP to be specific) standards. When we originally began developing our SOA Gateway technology, we followed the WSDL and SOAP Standards very closely but found that when we got something working with IBM software, it didn't work with Microsoft. When we got it working with Microsoft, it didn't work with BEA and so on. We then came across the Web Services Interoperability WS-I forum and once we complied with their base rules, we found we could interoperate with any number of Web Services consumers.

Perhaps this can be the same thing for Cloud Computing ?

John - you've exposed me for the cynic that I am...or at least, can be on certain issues. Standards committees are one of those issues, I confess. Thanks for calling me out! ;-)

Andre Yee blogs about cloud computing, SaaS, Web 2.0 and other emerging technologies that matter to businesses.

Andre Yee

Andre Yee is an entrepreneur and technologist with nearly 20 years of experience in the business of technology.

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