Secret 'Cloud Manifesto' finally launched

The much-discussed "Open Cloud Manifesto," signed by 36 vendors in support of cloud-computing interoperability, was officially released today.

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The much-discussed "Open Cloud Manifesto," signed by 36 vendors in support of cloud-computing interoperability, was officially released today.

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.

Forrester analyst Stefan Ried wrote in an initial comment, “People are desperately waiting for The Cloud, meaning a single interoperable cloud based on standards which will allow customer to switch from one vendor to the next.

“The Open Cloud Manifesto is the right step in a young and still fragmented market. The supporting members have now the chance to work on interoperability guidelines similar to the Open Ajax initiative or prepare drafts of future standards to be filed in one of the existing standard bodies. Hopefully these major vendors that have not signed the document will change their mind and find a common sense with the open cloud vendors.”

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

But key omissions from the participant list include Amazon -- known for its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service -- Google 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."

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.

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