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Storm Gathers as IBM, Microsoft and Others Talk Cloud Computing

A couple of things before we start. First off, your editor isn't the biggest of April Fool's fans, so you won't be getting any fake news today. Second, we've promised this before, but this time, we mean it: Due to, well, lots of stuff, RCPU is going to get shorter...pretty much starting today. Try to keep the cheering to a minimum, please. Anyway.

A new -- or ostensibly new -- computing model is always a wonderful excuse for an old-fashioned slap-fest between mega-vendors. And so it is with cloud computing. When something called an Open Cloud Manifesto, which didn't even appear to be supported by the organization that sponsored it, appeared Monday, Microsoft immediately (and perhaps unnecessarily) slammed it.

Now, Microsoft and IBM, among other big names -- but not Amazon and Google -- are in some sort of weird negotiations about openness in the cloud or...something. (Microsoft and some other big vendors are also trying to convince the government that cloud computing is secure, but that seems to be another matter altogether -- one that's mainly driven by hunger for government cloud computing contracts.)

Manifestos, calls for standards, oddball negotiations, meetings among vendors about interoperability...we've seen all this stuff before. And it mostly means nothing. The fact remains that the market will decide how (or whether) cloud computing shakes out, whose model wins and whose goes down in flames. (Either that or one vendor will sabotage the whole market and steal all the revenues for itself, but we're not going any further with that thought.)

And when companies finally do get comfortable in the clouds and need to exchange data, the big cloud vendors -- should there be more than one left -- will find a way to make their systems work together, not out of a magnanimous sense of friendship but because their customers are chomping at the bit for a solution.

That's the technology industry. That's capitalism. That's the way we like it. "Manifesto" is a very 20th-century word to us, and not one that has often had a positive connotation. Let's leave it in the past and move on with the future -- a future of fierce competition and, hopefully, great innovation.

What's your take on where the cloud is moving? Send it to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on April 01, 2009 at 11:55 AM