Tech Giants Join Forces To Fight Amazon’s Cloud

Jeff Bezos

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A long list of tech giants want to make it easier to steal one another’s cloud computing customers. They are creating a technology standard that lets enterprises easily move their applications from one cloud to another.The group includes 3M, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, EMC, IBM, Red Hat, SAP, Software AG, and others.

Note the names that are missing: Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

One of the biggest issues with cloud computing is that homegrown applications can get forever stuck with one cloud computing service provider. Some applications are pretty fussy. They need their servers, storage and networks set up very precisely and it’s not easy or cheap to get that same set up hosted by another provider. That’s what this standard sets out to address. It will provide a uniform way “to describe a complex application running on a complex environment,” its creators say.

The new standard is starting out right. It is under the umbrella of the respected standards body OASIS, whose claim to fame is XML, a set of standards that lets Web applications share informaton. It is also the home of some important Web security standards and the OpenDocument format, which lets word procesing, spreadsheets and other documents be shared among competing Office programs.

Microsoft’s absence from this group is particularly striking because Microsoft is a major corporate sponsor of the non-profit OASIS group. Like most groups of this type, it depends on membership from tech companies to pay the bills.

Amazon’s absence is less surprising: Amazon has the dominant cloud platform, but it isn’t built on standards, so customers can’t always just pick up their applications and plop them into another cloud.