Cloud Manifesto Missing Some Big Names

The posting of the Open
Cloud Manifesto on Monday was almost anti-climactic considering the brouhaha
that erupted in the days before its release. While IBM, which is leading this
effort, has assembled an impressive list of partners, equally notable is who’s
sitting it out.

Among others, IBM has lined up Cisco, EMC & VMware, Sun Microsystems, Red
Hat, Novell, Juniper Networks, AT&T and Computer Sciences Corp.

At this point, the Manifesto is mostly a familiar promise of unity and
openness, something the tech industry talks about quite a bit but rarely
delivers. It states in part:

“This document is intended to initiate a conversation that will bring
together the emerging cloud computing community (both cloud users and cloud
providers) around a core set of principles. We believe that these core
principles are rooted in the belief that cloud computing should be as open as
all other IT technologies.”

Conspicuous by their absence are Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Salesforce,
which are the biggest cloud computing vendors on the market. Microsoft hasn’t
released its Azure cloud system yet, but the other three have made their
presence felt with significant cloud offerings.

Brian Goodman, Manager of the Cloud Engineering and Experience group at
IBM, was diplomatic on the subject. “While I can’t talk to what these
companies ‘have in mind’ and their reasons for not doing it, there’s no doubt
that the conversation has to happen. And the truth is, I personally haven’t
seen anything that suggests the conversation isn’t happening,” he told

Microsoft spoiled the launch of the Manifesto last week when Steven Martin,
Microsoft’s senior director of developer platform management, said it showed
bias and had a “lack
of openness
.” Reuven Cohen, CEO of the small startup Enomaly and author of
the Manifesto, sarcastically thanked
Microsoft for bringing so much attention to the effort.

For its part, Google said in a statement to “While
Google isn’t party to the manifesto, we are a strong advocate of cloud
computing, given the substantial benefits for consumers and businesses. We
value industry dialog that results in more and better delivery of software and
services via the Internet, and appreciate IBM’s leadership and commitment in
this area. We continue to be open to interoperability with all vendors and any

The Open Cloud Manifesto’s supporters say the initiative “is meant to start
a conversation around standards and help clients ask the right questions about
cloud interoperability. This document is not a contract with vendors or a
position on what standards should be. It is directed to opening an important
discussion as clouds incorporate into business and society.”

Goodman said the initiative is designed to avoid vendor lock-in while
preserving the competitive advantages of the vendors. “We don’t look at open
standards as making everyone look alike or making it hard to differentiate,”
he said. “It allows us to interoperate and let a variety of options take place
in the environment. The way I look at it is, it’s hard to disagree with what
the content in the Open Cloud Manifesto is.”

A whispy cloud of content?

Color Gartner analyst David Smith unimpressed. “I think it’s vaporous even
by cloud standards. There’s nothing to it. Read it. It says nothing,” he told He also posted his thoughts on the
subject on a Gartner blog.

Smith noted that with very few exceptions, most of the vendors signed up by
IBM are part of what he calls the “private cloud crowd,” vendors that
establish clouds within a firm, as opposed to “public clouds” like Amazon EC2
and Microsoft Azure.

“I’m not saying these are bad things, just characterize this initative as
being driven by those who have the private cloud view of the world,” said

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