John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Cloud Cult

The debut of IBM’s Open Cloud Manifesto has proven more pratfall than grand entrance. When the controversial “standards” document–which calls for the cloud, like the Internet itself, to be open–finally went live this morning, it did so without a number of important signatories. Among them: Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT)–the three largest providers of cloud computing services, and the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum–a group that helped draft the document. Seems that in the end, the process through which the Open Cloud Manifesto was created was too closed even for some of its co-authors.

“When the Open Cloud Manifesto is officially released on Monday, March 30, the CCIF’s name will not appear as a signatory,” Reuven Cohen, a CCIF founder and co-author of the manifesto, said in a message to CCIF members last night. “This decision comes with great pain as 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 can not in good faith endorse this document.”

The CCIF’s withdrawal of its endorsement comes a few days after Microsoft publicly trashed the manifesto as flawed. “We were admittedly disappointed by the lack of openness in the development of the Cloud Manifesto,” Microsoft manager Steve Martin wrote in a post to a Microsoft blog. “What we heard was that there was no desire to discuss, much less implement, enhancements to the document despite the fact that we have learned through direct experience. 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. It appears to us that one company, or just a few companies, would prefer to control the evolution of cloud computing, as opposed to reaching a consensus across key stakeholders (including cloud users) through an ‘open’ process. An open Manifesto emerging from a closed process is at least mildly ironic.”

Indeed, but perhaps to be expected given its leading proponent. IBM (IBM), after all, doesn’t really have a cloud offering of its own. Which is why the company is so keen on pushing this standard–and controlling it. As ZDNet’s Dana Blankenhorn aptly notes, “While [Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com] are selling cloud services, IBM is going into the business of building actual clouds. Open standards would benefit IBM, giving its customers assurances they are future-proof.”

Those who can, do; those who can’t, propose standards…


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald