With only a few word changes, the opening of the Communist Manifesto could be easily inserted into the Open Cloud Manifesto, announced March 30, 2009:
“A spectre is haunting the cloud – the spectre of openness and standards. Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre…”
This essentially describes the fear and the motivations behind the supporters of the Open Cloud Manifesto. Supported by a number of vendors who do not have a major cloud presence, including Cisco, EMC, IBM, Sun Microsystems and VMware. Not supported by vendors who already have a major cloud presence, notably Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com. Notice a trend?
The manifesto is simple and straightforward – so simple that the six “Principles of an Open Cloud” can be summarized as “Don’t use market position to lock-in customers, and drive cloud adoption through standards and collaboration directed toward customer needs, not provider needs.” In other words, stop building cloud services and stealing our customers until we get our act together to build cloud-based solutions for them.
Clearly the principles laid out in the manifesto are noble ones, and worthy of pursuit. But we’ve seen this play before. Vendor successfully creates a new market space, competitors cry foul and demand open standards and interoperability. “We want some of your customers!” The only difference with cloud computing is this is all taking place very, very quickly.
In the end – sorry Karl – capitalism will lead the evolution of cloud computing. It starts with innovators who pave the way. Let Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com build their proprietary cloud computing services. We need pioneers before we need standards.
As this market matures, customers will demand interoperability, portability, and federation with enterprise private cloud services. It is in the interests of newcomers to the cloud computing market to work together. The longer standards for cloud provider interoperability do not exist, the longer the entrenched cloud computing innovators will own the market.
So I have no problem with the Open Cloud Manifesto. It’s driven by capitalism – and in the end, the market will benefit. But don’t expect much soon, and don’t expect Amazon, Google, Microsoft or Salesforce.com to jump on board anytime soon. In fact, I’m sure they will be bashing the Manifesto and standards efforts for quite some time.
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