Cloud Computing Unification: Microsoft or Sun?

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Looks like this is generating more discussions than I have initially though. You can check the last two links in the resource section for even more detailed coverage.

Even if the Sun cloud computing solution is not yet public, they made available the specifications (Tim Bray is the lead of the spec) under a commons creative license. Moreover they made it clear that Sun would be happy to have their specification becoming the standard for the cloud computing.

On the other hand, Microsoft has built their cloud platform Azure around some open standards too: web addressability, SOAP, XML, and REST and are stating that

Our vision in taking this approach was to ensure that the programming model was extensible and that the individual services could be used in conjunction with applications and infrastructure that ran on both Microsoft and non-Microsoft stacks.

Last but not least there is a cloud manifesto initiative that is taking shape on the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum:

Our goal is to draft a document that clearly states we (including dozens of supporting companies) believe that like the Internet, the cloud itself should be open. The manifesto does not speak to application code or licensing but instead to the fundamental principles that the Internet was founded upon - an open platform available to all. It is a call to action for the worldwide cloud community to get involved and embrace the principles of the open cloud.

Now if you think about it, who wouldn't want to become the leader in the cloud computing market and coordinate and shape its future? (Forrester, Gardner and almost everybody else is speaking about the bright future of cloud computing). Most probably we will see once again some friction in the industry for the specification leadership role and for the

And the signs of the debate are already here, as Microsoft is already blaming others for not inviting them to the manifesto group (there are tons of links covering the subject in the resource section).

Recently, we've heard about a “Cloud Manifesto,” purportedly describing principles and guidelines for interoperability in cloud computing. We love the concept. We strongly support an open, collaborative discussion with customers, analysts and other vendors regarding the direction and principles of cloud computing. When the center of gravity is standards and interoperability, we are even more enthusiastic because we believe these are the key to the long term success for the industry, as we are demonstrating through a variety of technologies such as Silverlight, Internet Explorer 8, and the Azure Services Platform. We have learned a lot from the tens-of-thousands of developers who are using our cloud platform and their feedback is driving our efforts. We are happy to participate in a dialogue with other providers and collaborate with them on how cloud computing could evolve to provide additional choices and greater value for customers.

We were admittedly disappointed by the lack of openness in the development of the Cloud Manifesto.

I don't believe that either Sun's or Microsoft's current approaches can become the specification. There is indeed a lot to be learnt from their experience, but a specification will have to bring to the table all the companies involved in providing cloud computing solution plus the community. A specification created by providers only has no value with the consumers are not involved.