Open Cloud manifesto: Is IBM the new Sith Lord of Open standards ..

IBM sith lord.jpg

Over the last few days, much has been said about the ‘closed’ ‘Open Cloud’ manifesto.

There are a number of reasons why the Open Cloud manifesto – freely circulating on the Web as leaked by the Thinking out cloud blog – is not a good idea and is in fact a backward step

Having said that, it brings to light something I blogged about before – i.e. Open now seems to be the new ‘closed’. In other words, you can claim something is ‘Open’ and then use it to hide all sorts of sins

The only good thing about this ‘manifesto’ is this will allow us to take a fresh look at Open systems and at standards

Firstly, if you want to create an ‘Open’ standard – why not simply create a Wiki and invite contributions? That process is well and truly proven and gets a neutral point of view

It is not a good idea for one vendor(supposedly IBM ) to drive a secret agenda.

Why not simply create a blog post if you wanted to create Cloud level contributions. Invite comments from all at a Wiki. Then work transparently to create a discussion.

THAT’s open!!

As it stands, it appears like an Invite only club with IBM the ringmaster (or as I say – the Sith Lord – A shadowy figure who manipulates from the background)

One of the contributors laments the leaking of the open cloud reflecting a view similar to my own

It’s probably a bad idea to release even an industry opinion piece without public commentary. IBM, et al, left the door open for Microsoft to label the entire effort as “closed” by trying to rush to a declaration of success without allowing any public community or industry input whatsoever. Big mistake, in my opinion, because open source software has changed the game forever for technical initiatives.

The document itself comes up with vague statements like:

Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms and limiting their choice of providers.

The concept of ‘lock in’ is not clear for the Cloud.

So, are we saying that IBM’s cloud will be able to invoke a process on Google’s cloud?

I doubt it. If you want to be truly compatible, we have to define process level compatibility – which I doubt anyone will truly support however ‘open’ they may claim to be. The rest may not matter that much from a customer standpoint (except possibly data level interoperability) since the most important feature of Cloud applications from a customer standpoint will be the quality of the ‘service’ itself.

The manifesto itself as many have pointed out looks to be much ado about nothing with six woolly principles which mean everything or nothing.

Much has been said of Microsoft’s reaction to the document – but Amazon’s reaction to the Open Cloud manifesto is even more interesting ..

We just recently heard about the manifesto document.

(Translation: We were not invited)

“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.”

(Translation: We have real customers .. who pay us real money .. you have a woolly document. We understand that the real issue is the service level. So, F*** off! )

Hence, the Sith lord comparison

Having said that, I think good will come of it.

Many including me had been disillusioned by the politics and the double standards of the usage of the word Open – and now we will get down to really discussing what Open standards and Open systems really mean.

This discussion is badly needed since times have moved on from the Open source/W3C debate to a different domain

To conclude, We can blame Thinking out cloud blog for leaking it, Microsoft for commenting on it, Amazon for not joining it – but the real problem is the process by which this ‘open’ manifesto was written.