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IBM, Microsoft, others align on open clouds

Putting "Manifestogate" behind them, IBM, Microsoft, and other organizations met Monday night, agreeing--but not committing--to approach the community about an open cloud trade organization.

IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, the IEEE/ISTO, and key members of the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum met recently to address how they could work with the community to drive cloud computing markets and technologies forward. Jesse Silver, one of the CCIF's four co-creators, spoke to me after the meeting, and Reuven Cohen released a single paragraph of minutes on his blog Tuesday morning:

Yesterday representatives of CCIF, CloudCamp, Cisco, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and the IEEE-ISTO met while attending the Cloud Computing Expo in New York. Other companies were invited but were unable to attend, generally due to the short notice. The companies agreed on a shared goal to promote use and awareness of open and interoperable cloud computing. The group brainstormed several ideas including the possibility to build on the momentum created by CloudCamp. Another topic was the ability to enable participants, from individuals and companies, both large and small, to be able to contribute to and use the results of broad community collaboration. Additionally, the possibility of a trade association or marketing association for cloud computing was discussed but no specific actions were agreed. The final topic was the need to have broader participation from the community in this discussion.

Jesse noted the conversation was extremely civil, and that each participant contributed positively to the discussion. That alone is great news to me. The atmosphere of the meeting was a key indicator to me about the likelihood that we could build open cloud standards in a cooperative, rather than competitive, fashion.

There are not a lot of details to be had about the specifics of the conversation, though it was clear that no company was willing to make any firm commitment to a specific action at this time. Just the willingness to both open future conversation to the general community and to support the organization needed to make a community targeted and productive is a great start, however.

Circumstances behind the release of the Open Cloud Manifesto on Monday morning--which was promoted by IBM and rejected very publicly by Microsoft--were not discussed. Jesse made it clear that both companies have clearly decided to put the incident behind them.

Now attention turns to Reuven's upcoming keynote at the Cloud Computing Expo, and the CCIF meeting to be held there on Thursday night. If the community embraces both the need for a trade organization and the open process proposed to establish and run it, then this may have been a very important meeting. If not, it will be another sign that the Web 2.0 era has dramatically effected industry organization and standards development.

Either way, the meeting itself signaled the acknowledgment by big business of the power of the cloud computing community. That alone is history in the making.

Update: Almost immediately after I posted this, I came across another cloud alliance that was organized to explore cloud security, thanks to Chris Hoff. Is there an opportunity here for some cooperation between the two communities (interoperability and security) moving forward?