Last night we learned major tech companies have been secretly working on something called the “Cloud Manifesto,” a new set of standards to define how different clouds might work together.
And we only know about it because Microsoft (MSFT) spilled the beans on the secret agreement, to say it wants no part of it.
Microsoft Azure exec Steve Martin:
In the coming days or weeks you may hear about an “Open Cloud Manifesto.” We love the idea of openness in cloud computing and are eager for industry dialogue on how best to think about cloud computing and interoperability.
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.
We don’t know who drafted the mysterious take-it-or-leave-it “manifesto.” Our principal guess is IBM (IBM), which has already been talking up how its private cloud solutions will be interoperable. Finding Amazon (AMZN) and/or Google (GOOG) fingerprints on it also wouldn’t be surprising.
Microsoft flatly says “no” to the “manifesto” and throws down the gauntlet to its creators, demanding that the process to determine any open standard be debated openly, whether via wiki, conference, or some other method.
There’s a rich irony here that Microsoft, traditionally seen as the stalwart for the cause of closed, proprietary software, is now using traditional open source arguments against its rivals (and makes a good point in doing so).
Cloud computing holds the promise of running startups and corporate IT departments with far fewer computers than traditional data centres or even moving processing entirely offsite. With a cloud approach promising lowered costs, moving to a cloud-based architecture is widely expected to be a major focus of IT spending for the next several years.
That make a clash of tech titans particularly interesting and important to their bottom lines.
Will the “manifesto” authors stick to their guns, release their document and bash Microsoft for not cooperating? Will geeks in the open source community, hopping mad at Microsoft for its patent fight against TomTom over Linux, trash Azure for rejecting interoperability, even though the “manifesto” runs contrary to the spirit of the open source idea? And will anyone outside of a few Internet bloggers care until the brouhaha cuts into Azure sales, and Microsoft’s bottom line?
Ball’s back in the “manifesto’s” court. Their move.