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3/26/2009
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Microsoft Bashes Secret 'Cloud Manifesto'

Asked to sign off on the anonymous document "without modifications," Microsoft is proposing a new Cloud Manifesto, created and discussed in a public wiki or at a conference.

Microsoft has criticized the behind-closed-doors creation of an unreleased document prescribing ways to make cloud computing services work well together, saying that other companies want to "control the evolution of cloud computing."

According to a blog post by Steven Martin, Microsoft's director of product management, another vendor (or vendors) is privately shopping a copy of a document called the Cloud Manifesto, and has asked Microsoft to sign the document "without modifications or additional input."

Microsoft wants in, but it wants to be able to provide its own spin on things. "An open Manifesto emerging from a closed process is at least mildly ironic," Martin wrote. It is unclear who is behind the Cloud Manifesto. Microsoft's main competitors in the cloud computing space, for now, look to be Google, Amazon.com, and Salesforce.com.

One group led by Enomaly founder Reuven Cohen, the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum, includes Cisco, Intel, and Sun Microsystems, but not Microsoft. In a Twitter post last week, Cohen said to expect news on "the open cloud front from several of the largest tech names."

The forum's Web site hosts a draft document outlining some interoperability methodology.

As companies and individuals move more of their information technology capabilities onto the Internet, they will increasingly need the services and platforms they use to talk to one another, whether to migrate data or simply to have mashup applications work well.

It's true that Microsoft has forced its own standards on people in the past. It has taken a dominant role in standards processes like it did with the Web services stack and Office Open XML, and it has long practiced its controversial strategy of "embrace and extend" that saw Microsoft adopt standards only to put its own spin on them to lock competitors out.

However, the company has recently begun looking outside its four walls to reach out to open source communities by supporting the use of technologies such as PHP by letting developers interact with its Windows Azure cloud platform via open REST APIs and by making standards compliance a central part of Internet Explorer 8.

In turn, Martin suggested a new Cloud Manifesto, this one created and discussed in a public wiki or at a conference by a variety of stakeholders -- vendors, customers, partners, analysts -- and made available via a Creative Commons license. "Interoperability principles and any needed standards for cloud computing need to be defined through a process that is open to public collaboration and scrutiny," he wrote.

Cloud computing consultant Sam Johnston prepared one such document last September that anyone can edit: a Cloud Computing Bill of Rights that focuses on a broader array of cloud computing prescriptions.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the challenges around enterprise storage. Download the report here (registration required).

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