Canadian cloud manifesto author surprised by Microsoft protest

Drafters of a document espousing open cloud computing are surprised over Microsoft’s sharp criticism of their “open cloud manifesto” according to the head of a Canadian company that helped to write the document.

The open cloud manifesto is scheduled for release on Monday.

“I was surprise that Microsoft would pre-empt the announcement with claims of being shut out. I was in active discussions with their top representatives on the issue this last couple of weeks, said Reuven Cohen, founder and chieft technologist of Enomaly a Toronto-based cloud computing start up.

In a blog posting attributed to Steve Martin , Microsoft said the document was drafted privately and that it the company was asked to sign it without revisions.

Cohen said the post made it appear that companies have been secretly working on the document for a long time. “I have been an advocate for an open Internet for a long time. But work on the document has been going on for only a few weeks. I was even amazed that the industry would come together on this at such a short time.”

He would not categorically name the other companies involved but said the original members come from start ups like Enomaly as well as from the “top 10 largest companies in the world.”

“If Microsoft is interested in the matter, then that’s an indication of the size of other entities involved,” Cohen said.

While the Enomaly executive did not name other companies, a document available on IBM’s Web site also refers to a manifesto on cloud computing — this one called an “architectural manifesto” about the “possibilities (and risks) of cloud computing” – hinted that IBM may be one of the large technology companies taking part in the project.

Late Friday afternoon, Cohen also posted on Twitter that IBM has signed up as a sponsor for the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum (CCIF), an vendor-neutral, open community of technology advocates, and consumers dedicated to driving the rapid adoption of global cloud computing services.

IBM has not returned ITWorldCanada’s calls and e-mail requests for a statement on the issue.

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Despite Microsoft’s strong reaction, Cohen appear to have left the door open for the software company. “I still hope that Microsoft would be able to sign in before Monday. This is a unique opportunity for the industry to make the best use of and to speed up further adoption of cloud computing” he said.

On his ElasticVapor blog, Cohen said: “If Microsoft is truly committed to an open cloud ecosystem, this document provides a perfect opportunity to publicly state it.”

Cohen told ITWorld Canada that the document is not intended to tackle application code, open source software and licensing issues. He also aired some doubt on the choice of the word manifesto.

“Manifesto is such as scary word. I don’t know why we chose it. But this document was meant to be thought provoking, a call to action for the worldwide cloud community to embrace the principles of the open cloud.”

“Our fundamental principle,” Cohen said, “is that the Internet is an open environment Like the Internet, the cloud should be open to everyone.”

He said companies involved in cloud computing should develop products and services that are “portable, interoperable and compatible.”

“If I have a cloud computing application, I should be able to take it to any vendor and make it work,” Cohen said.

(With files from Elizabeth Montalbano)