Clash of the clouds: A familiar-sounding industry spat breaks out over standards

Cloud computing may be the next big thing, but its politics are as old as the mainframe. Geeks from the early years of the information-technology (IT) industry would have had no difficulty deconstructing a quarrel that has broken out among IT’s modern giants. At issue is an “Open Cloud Manifesto”, which was published on March 30th.Even before that date, accusations were flying around online. What caused the controversy was not so much the content, which is vague enough for almost everyone to agree with it. The “manifesto” essentially calls for computing firms not to fall back on bad old habits by trying to lock in customers as computing becomes a utility, generated somewhere on the network (“in the cloud”) and supplied as a service. Since there will be many different computing clouds, the manifesto points out, customers should be able to move their data and applications easily from one to another, and “open” standards, not controlled by one company, should be used whenever possible.

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