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Artificial Intelligence: Article

Microsoft Rips Secret ‘Cloudnapping’ Manifesto

Not that Microsoft doesn't "love the concept"

Microsoft has emitted a squeal of protest much like a stuck pig over a secret "Open Cloud Manifesto" that it says is quietly being handed around the industry seeking signoffs.

It doesn't identify the author or authors of this manifesto but figures its supporters - one would guess organized by IBM given some recent whispers coming from its direction - are going to reveal themselves soon enough and is warning against them.

See, apparently Microsoft wasn't asked to contribute to drafting the manifesto, which evidently lays down "principles and guidelines for interoperability in cloud computing."

It says in a blog, "We were admittedly disappointed by the lack of openness in the development of the Cloud Manifesto."

And apparently the manifesto is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition with no room for Microsoft to maneuver.

It says "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."

Not that Microsoft doesn't "love the concept."

"We strongly support an open, collaborative discussion with customers, analysts and other vendors regarding the direction and principles of cloud computing," it says.

The trouble is that while "large parts of the draft manifesto are sensible. Other parts arguably reflect the authors' biases. Still other parts are too ambiguous to know exactly what the authors intended."

Like the pot calling the kettle black, it says, "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."

It thinks such a thing "should be created, from its inception, through an open mechanism like a Wiki, for public debate and comment, all available through a Creative Commons license" to ensure that the work is "open, transparent and complete."

It also thinks that any standards effort shouldn't be vendor-dominated and that "while principles can be agreed upon relatively soon, the relevant standards may take some time to develop and coalesce as the cloud computing industry matures."

"After all," it argues, "what we are really seeking are ideas that have been broadly developed, meet a test of open, logical review and reflect principles on which the broad community agrees. This would help avoid biases toward one technology over another, and expand the opportunities for innovation."

Arguing for the "freedom to develop" innovations that would lower cost and increase utility, it says "freezing the state of cloud computing at any time and (especially now) before it has significant industry and customer experience across a wide range of technologies would severely hamper that innovation. At the same time, we strongly believe that interoperability (achieved in many different ways) and consensus-based standards will be valuable in allowing the market to develop in an open, dynamic way in response to different customer needs." 

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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Most Recent Comments
ericnovikoff 03/29/09 12:30:00 PM EDT

Microsoft has some real issues with Cloud computing. Not just the company, but their attachment to their own product: Windows. My experience deploying customers to my company's cloud service is that the cost of deploying Microsoft solutions is typically 2-3x that of Linux-based solutions. This cost disadvantage comes from Windows' large minimum memory requirements that produce an average instance size of two times that with Linux given similar functionality, as well as the hidden extra labor costs of administering Windows over those for Linux. As a simple example, customers deploying a simple .net/IIS/SQL Server app are consuming paying twice as much as those with a similar LAMP deployment due to higher memory requirements and licensing fees which typically raise the per-hour CPU cost by 20-35%

Because of this disadvantage, interoperability or "worse" yet, portability is anathema to Microsoft's operating model for the cloud. Hence the lack of interest in open standards.

This is not to say that Windows is a "bad" platform for a cloud deployment when taking all business issues into account, but it does explain why Microsoft is cool to open cloud standards.

-Eric
ENKI
http://www.computingutility.com

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