Late last week we became aware of a group of vendors promoting an Open Cloud Manifesto from a Microsoft blog post. A great deal has already been written about the manifesto and a bit of controversy it created on ZDnet, eweek, cnet, Silicon Alley Insider, and others.
The manifesto attempts to broadly define cloud computing, the issues it can create for users, and a list of principles the supporters suggest cloud vendors should adhere to:
1. Cloud providers must work together to ensure that the challenges to cloud adoption (security, integration, portability, interoperability, governance/management, metering/monitoring) are addressed through open collaboration and the appropriate use of standards.
2. Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms and limiting (sic) their choice of providers.
3. Cloud providers must use and adopt existing standards wherever appropriate. The IT industry has invested heavily in existing standards and standards organizations; there is no need to duplicate or reinvent them.
4. When new standards (or adjustments to existing standards) are needed, we must be judicious and pragmatic to avoid creating too many standards. We must ensure that standards promote innovation and do not inhibit it.
5. Any community effort around the open cloud should be driven by customer needs, not merely the technical needs of cloud providers, and should be tested or verified against real customer requirements.
6. Cloud-computing standards organizations, advocacy groups, and communities should work together and stay coordinated, making sure that efforts do not conflict or overlap.
In the end, the manifesto simply puts in words the guiding principles 3tera has held to for the past three and a half years. We’ve embraced numerous existing standards, used open source where possible, introduced no new APIs, worked with existing management systems, ensured data portability, made sure users have a choice of providers across the globe, posted all our docs and specs online from day one, and when invited we’ve participated in interoperability discussions. We’re pleased these values are being embraced.
However, the manifesto is not without issue. First, the major cloud service providers weren’t participants in it’s creation, which raises questions about it’s viability. Second, as pointed out in the Microsoft post, acceptance is required “as is” with no acceptance of feedback. Third, it’s unclear exactly who controls the manifesto, what it’s future is, and whether there’s a process for participation in moving it forward. For these reasons, we’re holding off on endorsing the manifesto at this time.
3tera is fully committed to open cloud computing not just in principle, but in deeds. When there’s a truly open effort to define interoperability, application and data portability, and cross-cloud integration we’ll be a full participant.