Open Cloud winds up in a washout

March 30, 2009

Open Cloud winds up in a washoutGoogle and Amazon have joined Microsoft in pulling out of the Open Cloud Manifesto. The manifesto, launched today, aims to set standards to reduce technical barriers in cloud computing.

Microsoft dropped out last week saying it was concerned the plan was too secretive and that it was too early to set standards. The move prompted speculation Microsoft was worried that the manifesto’s aims might wind up giving open source systems such as Linux a strong foothold in cloud computing.

Amazon pulled out on Friday night, hinting that the standards as they stood would have little practical effect. “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.”

There’s little detail on why Google removed its backing, though the firm is insisting it supports the idea of firms working together to improve cloud computing.

Perhaps the most surprising pullout is the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum, one of the key groups behind the movement which led to the manifesto. The group says it is still committed to the concepts in the manifesto, and it appears the withdrawal is largely to do with the way the document has been drawn up: “We fully endorse the document’s contents and its principals of a truly open cloud. However, this community has issued a mandate of openness and fair process, loudly and clearly, and so the CCIF cannot in good faith endorse this document.”

The CCIF has a meeting planned for tonight where the manifesto’s development will no doubt be among the key topics up for debate.

There are still some big names signed up to the manifesto, which has launched today. These include IBM – the main authors and backers of the document – plus AT&T, Sun and Cisco. But unless the dispute proves purely administrative and political, there seems little prospect of any practical changes taking effect without the support of the major cloud computing retailers.

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