whither an open cloud manifesto

Many of you probably have already heard about the Open Cloud Manifesto. It’s the document that was crafted by IBM in an attempt to enunciate some broad principles to make those who are considering a leap into the the warm, puffy, interoperable clouds (in contrast to their own cold, dark, dank and proprietary data centres) get a warm and fuzzy feeling.

I’ve taken a very cursory look at it. Meh. To me, as a lawyer, it comes across as marketing fluff. Nice marketing fluff, but fluff nonetheless. For example, principle no. 2 says “Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms and limit their choice of providers.” What exactly does that mean? And why would it be limited to market position? Would this mean that vendors would be able to use other means to lock in customers, such as refusing to provide termination assistance services?

There is also the irony, as CNN has noted, that the manifesto itself was not the subject of an open or inclusive process. In addition, as reported in eWEEK, a number of leaders in the area (Microsoft, Amazon and Google) have not signed on, for one reason or another.

It will be interesting to see what the industry does with it. And even more interesting to see how it plays out when it comes to customers. For example, I’d be very interested in seeing the reaction of those who signed on if a customer asked that this manifesto be attached to their services agreement with a clause obligating the cloud services vendor to comply with and act, in the course of providing its services, consistently with the manifesto.