The Cloud Manifesto Disconnect

A "Cloud Manifesto" prompts controversy. Will the cloud community come together around interoperability or pursue another path?

Rich Miller

March 26, 2009

2 Min Read
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Can cloud computing providers work together productively on interoperability? Today there was evidence that there are either serious communication disconnects, or there is mischief afoot. Or perhaps both. The day began with a post from Steven Martin of Microsoft's Windows Azure team.

"Recently, we've heard about a 'Cloud Manifesto,' purportedly describing principles and guidelines for interoperability in cloud computing," Martin writes. "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."

This brought several responses from from Reuven Cohen of Enomaly, who first posted a description of his efforts to develop the Open Cloud Manifesto, and then addressed the Microsoft commentary.

"Let me say, we've been in active discussions with Microsoft about the open cloud manifesto which has literally come together in the last couple weeks," Cohen writes. "It is unfortunate they feel this way. Microsoft was among the first to review the manifesto. Their 2:28 AM pre-announcement of the manifesto was a complete surprise given our conversations."

Discussions at the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum suggest that Microsoft isn't the only party with reservations about the effort. Within hours there was a competing Cloud Computing Manifesto developed by Sam Johnston, who had previously organized a Cloud Computing Community that emerged from tensions with other cloud technologists, including Enomaly.

Who to trust? Who to believe? This feels like it could be a moment when the cloud computing community sorts out its differences and starts a more successful conversation, or heads quickly in another direction. Randy Bias of GoGrid addressed this opportunity in a comment on Martin's blog post. "I think that Microsoft's intentions and Ruv's intentions are not at odds," Randy writes. "This ongoing conversation is required to work through these kinks. ... Hopefully we can make sure the conversation stays reasonably amicable. I think we can be friendly while also have healthy contentious debats that help shed light on what is needed."

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