Announcing the Cloud Computing Manifesto

Earlier today Microsoft savaged an undisclosed effort to develop an “Open Cloud Manifesto” in secret, tweeting that “An open cloud deserves an equally open manifesto: (and don’t show up to a party making demands without bringing something)” while blogging:

“We were admittedly disappointed by the lack of openness in the development of the Cloud Manifesto. What we heard was that there was no desire to discuss, much less implement, enhancements to the document despite the fact that we have learned through direct experience. 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. It appears to us that one company, or just a few companies, would prefer to control the evolution of cloud computing, as opposed to reaching a consensus across key stakeholders (including cloud users) through an “open” process. An open Manifesto emerging from a closed process is at least mildly ironic.

Although there’s no prizes for guessing who’s behind this let’s skip the speculation (the consortium will reveal itself “in the coming days or weeks” anyway) and get on with the job:

To ensure that the work on such a project is open, transparent and complete, we feel strongly that any “manifesto” should be created, from its inception, through an open mechanism like a Wiki, for public debate and comment, all available through a Creative Commons license. After all, what we are really seeking are ideas that have been broadly developed, meet a test of open, logical review and reflect principles on which the broad community agrees. This would help avoid biases toward one technology over another, and expand the opportunities for innovation.

It so happens that the Cloud Computing Community already has a MediaWiki (ala Wikipedia) installation ( for exactly this purpose and had previously developed a complementary document for users, the Cloud Computing Bill of Rights.

As such I am pleased to announce the Cloud Computing Manifesto which has been seeded with Microsoft’s three initial suggestions:

  1. Open Process: Interoperability principles and any needed standards for cloud computing need to be defined through a process that is open to public collaboration and scrutiny.
  2. Balanced Representation: Creation of interoperability principles and any standards effort that may result should not be a vendor-dominated process. To be fair as well as relevant, they should have support from multiple providers as well as strong support from customers and other stakeholders.
  3. Continuous Development: Due recognition should be given to the fact that the cloud market is immature, with a great deal of innovation yet to come. Therefore, while principles can be agreed upon relatively soon, the relevant standards may take some time to develop and coalesce as the cloud computing industry matures.

It’s an open wiki driven by community consensus and anyone can join and contribute (there’s no invitations, membership fees, etc.) so be BOLD and if you have something to add then go ahead.

Update: This was picked up by TechFlash in Seattle who claim “Microsoft has a reputation for attempting to work standardization processes to its own competitive advantage“. Whether true or not I’m inclined to assume good faith at least in this instance.

Update: eWeek are on the case now and have written a long, insightful article on the topic (Microsoft Calls for Open Cloud Standards) in which they refer to Bruce Perens’ comment that “Microsoft employees that Open Source projects directly deal with are as sincere as you’d like, but they aren’t top management and can’t influence top management“. They’ve fingered Amazon, Google and IBM as likely suspects (given they’re competitors with Microsoft in the cloud computing space) which reconciles with “several of the largest tech names“. If anyone knows for sure who the culprits are or has a copy of the offending “offer” then drop me a line (anonymously) or leave a comment.

By Sam Johnston

Sam Johnston CMgr FCMI/FIML GAICD MACS Snr CP is an Australian technology executive and serial entrepreneur with over 20 years experience founding and advising startups, and in leadership roles at top global technology companies including Google, Equinix, Citrix, and DXC Technology.

Sam is currently chief entrepreneur officer (CEO) at Acumino, a Singapore venture studio focusing on emerging technologies and disruptive innovation. He is working with other founders to create the businesses of tomorrow by applying his research into emerging technologies including drones, robotics & humanoids, 3D printing, computer vision & voice, augmented & virtual reality, artificial intelligence & machine learning, blockchain, chatbots, and quantum computing.

Sam has a bachelor of computer science degree from the University of New South Wales, and is based in Singapore, having worked in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the USA.