There is some buzz going on related to an Open Cloud Manifesto. Microsoft and Amazon are not (yet) active participants...(ahem) two of the major cloud computing players...and there is already a bit of skepticism brewing.
Who is driving this manifesto? Who are they trying to benefit if they aren't involving Microsoft and Amazon early on? Why is it a secret until published this coming Monday?
Without seeing it first-hand it is hard to comment in detail. However, my gut tells me that a group got together wanting to beat others to forming a cloud-focused organization supposedly for the community’s benefit. This group wants ownership of the process, like a new OASIS or WS-I, so they (big mistake) tried to come up with a plan before showing Amazon, Microsoft and perhaps others – expecting them to be bullied into signing, instead of coordinating their early participation. Perhaps they were afraid they could not “run the show” if they showed their cards too early? Who knows.
Clearly Amazon and Microsoft are in agreement that they will not sign this manifesto “as-is”. Where is Google in this?
I’m skeptical that there needs to be a manifesto in the first place. Bottom line is companies will innovate and expose APIs, services and hosting capabilities as they see fit to win customers. They will provide SLAs that are either acceptable or not. They will either succeed or not based on their ability to deliver on their promises for 24/7 monitoring, uptime, deployment and management capabilities, features, and fair billing practices. Do we need a manifesto to tell companies how to do business? Where was the manifesto for companies that how our web sites? Where were they when I hosted my site with a vendor that went out of business and lost my files? Could a manifesto have helped me choose a better host?
As I said, cloud computing vendors will succeed or fail based on the value of what they offer to "their community" and how well they follow through. Do all vendors need to be grouped into a limited set of cloud computing requirements that could stifle innovation for a specific user base? Do all vendors have to price the same way? Should all of their SLAs be identical? I think not.
I think that what WOULD be helpful is community guidance on what are good practices for cloud computing. There is a summary of a Cloud Computing Bill of Rights (see link below) already available. The problem is it that it currently sounds like they are trying to dictate what an SLA must provide, and how pricing should work (among other things) and it sounds almost like it will be used as ammunition for punitive actions. That is just wrong. I'll say it again: cloud computing vendors will succeed or fail by their own hand. There doesn't need to be outside governance to force Amazon, Microsoft or others to produce a decent SLA, pricing policy, safe hosting environment or valuable feature set.
It would be better to guide the community on things that they should look for in an SLA to feel comfortable hosting applications with a cloud vendor. No different than what I am already doing having written my share of 60 page SLAs for applications in my charge. Of course cloud computing is supposed to (among other things) make hosting applications more accessible for small businesses that can't hire an IT staff to manage 24x7 operations, and that can't afford to provision enough machines for period peak loads. Businesses should not just host and forget, however...they must still monitor how the provider is doing. This is where some education comes in...for it can be more difficult to know what to look for in an SLA to trust hosing with another company, and it can be difficult to know how to monitor how the vendor is doing. What we do know is that a cloud computing vendor can probably do a better job with their dedicated resources for hosting, failover, load balancing, peak load provisioning, and so forth. We need great SLAs, competitive pricing models, and follow through. I seriously doubt a manifesto is necessary to achieve this.
I’m missing the value proposition of this manifesto so far. I will be interested to read what the initial manifesto looks like. The details aren't clear at all from the current buzz.
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