Last week, yet another Cloud initiative began as the Open Cloud Initiative (OCI) launched from OSCON 2011 in Portland, Oregon. The OCI bills itself as a non-profit organization to advocate standards-based Open Cloud Computing. The OCI hopes to provide a legal framework based on the Open Cloud Principles Document (OCP) and apply them to Cloud computing products and services.
While conspiracy theorists will call this the “One Cloud” movement, the reality is there is little to worry about. An OCI without Amazon, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T, and more isn’t really an assembly of “leaders of Cloud computing” but more of an ideology. Academics and Open Source aside, there is very little motivation for Cloud providers to work together other than standard connectivity and a few APIs.
The biggest force in promoting the OCI’s self-proclaimed slogan of “A non-profit advocate of open cloud computing” is actually another truly powerful Open Source Movements called OpenStack. As OpenStack adoption continues to increase, they may become the defacto standard for building Clouds. OpenStack is the core platform that allows Enterprises and Service Providers to build value-added software and/or services to create new and unique offerings or businesses to their customers.
It is the difference between “talking” and “action”. While some in this industry like to debate the merits of Cloud computing and interoperability, others are creating and innovating. I have already mentioned the OpenStack movement and its importance to Cloud computing, and no conversation on this subject would be relevant without talking about Amazon.
Amazon is rapidly innovating within Cloud computing while continuing to disrupt the industry, drop their published prices, and make money. Instead of getting caught up in all this debate, Amazon is setting their agenda and putting the entire industry on the defensive. In fact, their rate of innovation is astounding while their rate of adoption is actually accelerating. What is their motivation to interoperate with other Cloud providers? As long as they have open and defined APIs into the private clouds (VMware, Microsoft, Xen, KVM) of their Enterprise customers, then they are all set.
Altruistic goals cannot be confused with the capitalistic reality of the world we live in. The OCI may have great intentions, but they plenty of work to do to make themselves relevant within an Amazon and OpenStack world.