The Open Cloud Manifesto

by Simon. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

Extracts from the Open Cloud Manifesto

The buzz around cloud computing has reached a fever pitch. Some believe it is a disruptive trend representing the next stage in the evolution of the Internet. Others believe it is hype, as it uses long established computing technologies. As with any new trend in the IT world, organisations must figure out the benefits and risks of cloud computing and the best way to use this technology.

What is Cloud Computing and Why is it Important?

In order to understand the core principles of an open cloud, we need to first agree on some basic definitions and concepts of cloud computing itself. First, what is the cloud? The architecture and terminology of cloud computing is as clearly and precisely defined as, well, a cloud. Since cloud computing is really a culmination of many technologies such as grid computing, utility computing, SOA, Web 2.0, and other technologies, a precise definition is often debated.

The key characteristics of the cloud are:

  • Scalability on Demand
  • Streamlining the data Centre
  • Improving Business Processes
  • Minimising Startup Costs

Challenges and Barriers to Adoption

Although the cloud presents tremendous opportunity and value for organisations, the usual IT requirements (security, integration, and so forth) still apply. In addition, some new issues come about because of the multi-tenant nature (information from multiple companies may reside on the same physical hardware) of cloud computing, the merger of applications and data, and the fact that a company’s workloads might reside outside of their physical on-premise datacenter.

  • Data and Application Interoperability
  • data and Application Portability
  • Governance and Management
  • Metering and Monitering

The Goals of an Open Cloud

Customers expect that the cloud services they use will be as open as the rest of their IT choices. As an open cloud becomes a reality, business leaders will benefit in several ways.

  • Choice
  • Flexibility
  • Speed and Agility
  • Skills

Principles of the Open Cloud

Many clouds will continue to be different in a number of important ways, providing unique value for organisations. As cloud computing matures, there are several key principles that must be followed to ensure the cloud is open and delivers the choice, flexibility and agility organisations demand:

  1. Cloud providers must work together to ensure that the challenges to cloud adoption (security, integration, portability, interoperability, governance/management, metering/monitoring) are addressed.
  2. Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms and limit their choice of providers.
  3. Cloud providers must use and adopt existing standards wherever appropriate.
  4. When new standards (or adjustments to existing standards) are needed, we must be judicious and pragmatic to avoid creating too many standards.
  5. Any community effort around the open cloud should be driven by customer needs, not merely the technical needs of cloud providers, and should be tested or verified against real customer requirements.
  6. Cloud computing standards organisations, advocacy groups, and communities should work together and stay coordinated, making sure that efforts do not conflict or overlap.


Although this is a time of great innovation for the cloud computing community, that innovation should be guided by the principles of openness. Industry participants must work together to ensure that the cloud remains as open as all other IT technologies.

The Open Cloud Manifesto can be viewed in full and downloaded from http://www.opencloudmanifesto.org.

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