Saturday, March 28, 2009

“Secret” Cloud Computing Manifesto Dustup

Update 3/28/2009: James Urquhart’s Cloud Computing: What we learned from Manifestogate post of 3/28/2009 provides a reasoned critique of the “Open Cloud Computing Manifesto” (see below). James points are:

  1. It's an opinion piece, not a standards proposal.
  2. Those that have publicly stated that they won't sign have the most to lose.
  3. It's probably a bad idea to release even an industry opinion piece without public commentary.
  4. It's what follows that is important here.

James agrees with me when he says in his conclusion:

I'm not convinced that a top-down formal standards approach will do anything other than repeat the mixed success of the WS-* efforts to date.

You can read version 1.0.9 of the Manifesto now from a link on Geva Perry’s The Open Cloud Manifesto: Much Ado About Nothing.

Update 3/27/2009: George Reese hits the nail on the head in his The Varieties of Openness Worth Wanting in the Cloud post of 3/27/2009 to the O’Reilly Radar blog. Here’s George’s list:

  1. We want a clear path to business continuity planning.
  2. We want the freedom to use the tools that work for us, not the ones a vendor mandates.
  3. We want the freedom to use our data as we see fit.

which I think is a great start. Tim O’Reilly says it’s “What Stallman should have been talking 10 yrs ago.

Update 3/27/2009: Reuven Cohen’s Introducing the Open Cloud Manifesto post of 3/27/2009 on the Cloud Computing Journal blog announces:

The first version of the manifesto will be published Monday, March 30th to be ratified by the greater cloud community.

This post follows Ruv’s Re: Microsoft Moving Toward an Open Process on Cloud Computing Interoperability post of 3/26/2009 with a “Their 2:28 AM pre-announcement of the manifesto was a complete surprise” subtitle.

Apparently Ruv forgot to have Microsoft sign the NDA.

Update 3/27/2009: Larry Dignan reports Amazon Web Services: No Open Cloud Manifesto for us on 3/27/2009, quoting an “Amazon spokeswoman:”

We just recently heard about the manifesto document.  Like other ideas on standards and practices, we’ll review this one, too. Ideas on openness and standards have been talked about for years in web services. And, we do believe standards will continue to evolve in the cloud computing space. But, what we’ve heard from customers thus far, customers who are really committed to using the cloud, is that the best way to illustrate openness and customer flexibility is by what you actually provide and deliver for them. …

In any event, we do believe that standards will continue to evolve and that establishing the right ones, based on a better understanding of what is needed, will best serve customers.

Mary Jo Foley seconded Larry’s conclusion in her Amazon not joining the Open Cloud Manifesto, either post of the same date.

You can read version 1.0.9 of the Manifesto now from a link on Geva Perry’s The Open Cloud Manifesto: Much Ado About Nothing.

Steven Martin’s Moving Toward an Open Process on Cloud Computing Interoperability post of 3/26/2009 takes on an unidentified “secret Cloud Manifesto”:

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. …

To ensure that the work on such a project is open, transparent and complete, we feel strongly that any "manifesto" should be created, from its inception, through an open mechanism like a Wiki, for public debate and comment, all available through a Creative Commons license. After all, what we are really seeking are ideas that have been broadly developed, meet a test of open, logical review and reflect principles on which the broad community agrees. This would help avoid biases toward one technology over another, and expand the opportunities for innovation.

In response to Steve’s request, Sam Johnston announced a new Manifesto in the Cloud Computing Community wiki (see his comment at the end of Todd Bishop’s Microsoft criticizes secret drafting of cloud-computing manifesto post of the same date.) The Manifesto lays out 10 rather innocuous “motherhood and apple pie” principles and notes that “It is complementary to the Cloud Computing Bill of Rights, which describes the rights of cloud computing users.”

The flap also caused eWeek’s Darryl Taft to chime in with a timely Microsoft Calls for Open Cloud Standards article that begins with “If Microsoft is the pot, what color is the kettle?” and concludes:

I know [Microsoft’s] Ramji and Cooney are sincere about their interaction with open source. And Martin, a straight-shooting Texan, is just as sincere –- if not more -- about the issue of openness and interoperability. All three come from Java or open-source backgrounds.

So, rather than seeing the griping of a company grasping for shortcuts because it's playing catch-up, perhaps what we're seeing is simply a different Microsoft.

Techmeme picked up the story later in the morning with links to The Register, Silicon Alley Insider, eWeek and OakLeaf Systems.

Sam credits Reuven Cohen, a cloud-computing thought leader and founder of the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum, as the source of the “secret manifesto.” This turns out to be the “Open Cloud Manifesto", as described in Ruv’s Introducing the Open Cloud Manifesto thread in the CCIF Google group, which leads off with:

Over the last few weeks I have been working closely with several of the
largest technology companies and organizations
helping to co-author the Open
Cloud Manifesto
. [Emphasis added.]

Later Thursday morning, @Ruv and @Beaker (Christofer Hoff) fired off a Tweet volley about the issue and David Linthicum posted a 15-minute How to make cloud computing interoperability work podcast.

Ruv writes about Sam’s wiki in a comment:

We [presumably Ruv and Sam] have been working on this document for weeks and it was originally supposed to be announced today, but got pushed off until Monday to make time for some last minute alterations. I am not sure what his [presumably Sam’s] intentions are. I will say his timing does seem rather suspect.

After the dust settles, I hope these folks don’t end up proposing a mess like the WS* “standards.”


thoughtCollider said...

Oh please spare us from the chattering classes of the IT industry!

What cloud computing needs just now is innovation, pioneers and doers - not standards committees. A global standards committee cursed us with the debacle of J2EE.

Would the iPhone have been invented if the smartphone phone industry was preoccupied over interoperability standards?

The leading players in cloud computing are bringing distinctive and diverse services to the market which only serves to highlight that at this point in the genesis of cloud computing we don't yet know what the problem is let alone the solution.

Anonymous said...

I propose an ACIDRAIN1 test that is targeted at Microsofts Cloud platform desgined to break Microsofts cloud efforts, and make the others look better than they really are.