I see the much-ballyhooed Open Cloud Manifesto is now on the air. IBM’s Bob Sutor says some unsurprising things in When you choose your clouds, don’t make foggy choices. The standardization drums are throbbing in the political undergrowth; does it mean anything?
I’m happy to see Sun’s name on the Manifesto list (no, I didn’t know anything about our involvement till just a couple of days ago), but I’m not expecting it to change the world. The Manifesto’s theses are right up there with Motherhood and apple pie; not much to disagree with, and, to be honest, not much to run with either.
Old Story · I’ve seen this movie before: There’s a new area of technology, there’s a dominant incumbent who got there first, and there’s a bunch of other voices calling for standardization, being genially ignored by the incumbent.
It’s perfectly reasonable to suspect the incumbent of wanting to protect their turf, and also to suspect the standards-promoters of simply wanting a piece of the action.
Cynicism aside... · Now that that’s out of the way, it is extremely reasonable to worry about lock-in, and how to avoid it, with a big new infrastructure component like this. As I’ve said before, the world’s CIOs know what it feels like when some vendor gets control of a piece of your IT budget, and it doesn’t feel good.
So... I’ll help. If it starts to seem like there’s some rough consensus lurking in the industry needing to be teased out and written down, I’d put some cycles into that work. But there’d be a lot of ways to go wrong.
Practical Advice · Been there, done that, got the T-shirts. So:
Don’t make a new consortium. The Manifesto refers to “Cloud computing standards organizations” but as far as I know there aren’t any, and I like it that way. We already have the IETF and W3C and OASIS and I see no reason why this technology is so different that it needs a new home.
Don’t go too fast. When standards organizations try to invent technology, it usually comes out badly. I’d really like to wait until there are some actual deployed running APIs with a couple of different parties coding to them and the stuff actually working. Then standardize that.
Maybe it’s a variant of the Amazon Web Services APIs, or something growing out of our own proposal. Whatever; as long as it works.
Aim low. Bear Gall’s Law firmly in mind and start with the smallest thing that could possibly work.
I smell a committee in my future.