The OpenCloud is Hazy

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The Open Cloud Manifesto effort is admirable.  It seems like a lofty goal but one centered on making this cloud thing better for all (ok, maybe not the vendors).  It also shows most of the major old school players in support - although Dell is not on the list.  As far as the newer players - Google, Amazon, Yahoo - cue the crickets.  However, before they get some serious traction, the Manifesto authors (who are they, anyway?) need to better explain a few things, including:

  1. What exactly is the cloud and how is it different from the utility computing and other outsourced infrastructrue concepts we’ve been hearing about from IBM and others for a few years?
  2. Are they more concerned with the “public” cloud or the “private” cloud, or both?  The public cloud is a more interesting thing to talk about, but is not likely to get a lot of traction as the enterprise will be more focused on the private cloud first.
  3. Why all of the concerns about shared infrastructure and mulit-company data residing on the same infrastructure?  These are issues asked and addressed ad nauseum by outsourcing vendors (both app and infra).  What is new and more troubling this time?
  4. The Manifesto discusses flexibility in switching from one cloud provider to another as a goal.  First, it’s not clear what standards are needed that don’t already exist.  Seems like with all of the HTTP, SOAP and other net-based interface protocols, we are in pretty good shape.  What else is needed here to facilitate switching?

On the topic of switching, any robust service in the cloud will require reconfiguration and retesting with a new provider.  None of the need for rigor goes away.  I personally think the switching goal is overblown because cloud users (as all users of a service) will gravitate to those with the best service/value equation.

Finally, I think the Manifesto misses out on a great opportunity to raise awareness and create a discussion around green computing and the responsibility that cloud providers have in creating this new infrastructure responsibly.

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