Cloud Computing Manifesto Gets Lost in Heavy Fog


The opencloud.org Manifesto (always spelled upper case M) is such a buzzword-laden puff piece that I hesitate to even mention it again after my advice to ignore manifestos (see my blog post of last week). But if you want to read The Manifesto, you can find it here.


There is a lot of debate about why Microsoft, Amazon and Google would not sign on. It is so foggy I couldn't see anything to object to on either technology or market-development grounds. (Note: I base my opinion on the leaked version 1.0.9; perhaps a later version has more meat in it.) It's kind of along the lines of agreeing that all telephone numbers in a country will have so many digits or 44 will stand for the UK and that sort of thing. Some might argue that it is like Westinghouse dictating that the world decide on his alternating-current electricity distribution methodology even before Edison's direct-current technique burned up a few horses. But I don't see it that way.


The only interesting thing I saw in The Manifesto was the extent to which it reminded me of the founding of X-Open in 1984. I suspect you'd find a major overlap if you compared The Manifesto with old X-Open propaganda word-for-word.


But since I was going to write about cloud computing anyway, I opened the Google-sponsored cloud-computing research from some merchant bank that has been floating around the Web since March 20. Unlike The Manifesto, which asked the question "What is the Cloud?" and then said the question could not be answered, the Google white paper on cloud computing takes a crack at a definition:

The cloud is a network of data centers - each composed of many thousands of computers working together.

Huh? In other words, Google says the cloud is the Internet.


But Google's cloud computing white paper does not say what a network of data centers composed of only a couple of hundred or even a mere thousand computers should be called. Apparently many thousands are required, at least in the opinion of the guy with many thousands of computers in its data centers.


The Google definition agrees, maybe just coincidentally, with a Gartner press release on March 27 that says there was $46 billion in "cloud computing" services revenue in 2008, of which - maybe just coincidentally - almost half of it belonged to Google. But the Google white paper positions decade- or decades-old software suppliers such as Coda and NetSuite as avant-garde cloud-service suppliers. Again, "Huh?"


I'm sure your father told you not to believe everything you read in the newspapers. Don't believe in what you read in supplier propaganda, either. But I love how two old hands who have seen this all before get the joke. James Goodnight of SAS Institute and Larry Ellison of Oracle have both made fun of all the cloud computing hype while at the same time admitting they are happy to take advantage of it.