Learning from the Cloud Manifesto

March 29, 2009

I ignored the cloud manifesto, pointing out that secrecy is useful. Obviously the document was not intended to be kept under wraps, so a mini-microblogging storm raged. CNet’s The Wisdom of Crowds ran James Urqhart’s article “Cloud Computing: What We Learned from Manifestogate”. You can read this write up here. The article includes links, an itemized list of the four ways to perceive the cloud manifesto, and a conclusion that strikes a positive note: “open is good.”

In my experience, the clouds owned and operated by commercial enterprises will behave the same way opposing forces have behaved since stone age tribes split into factions and promptly embarked on chatter and warfare. The crazy idea that the cloud operating environments will behave in a way different from other technology battles is off base and not in line with what is now going on among the Apple, Microsoft, and Google camps in mobile services. I am omitting the other players because I don’t want to trot out too many examples, which are legion.

Amazon’s cloud may communicate under circumstances determined by the world’s smartest man who is now working as an order fulfillment clerk about 45 minutes from  where I am writing this post. Google will play ball as long as those folks follow the Google rules. Microsoft is going to do what Microsoft has done since its inception and make an effort to enforce its agenda.

Each of these companies will yap about open standards. Each of these companies will put their pet open source wizards on display. Each of these companies will attempt to capture  as much of the market as users, competitors and regulators allow.

At some point in the future, the agendas will shift from the cloud to the next big thing. At that point, a big dog will be in the yard and the other dogs will cooperate or get their necks broken. I appreciate Mr. Urqhart’s view. I think we’re in line for a good old fashioned standards battle. Forget cannon fodder. Think column fodder. CNet will be in seventh heaven.

Stephen Arnold, March 29, 2009


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