I took some time out of my day at CloudOpen today to dial in for a briefing from some of the companies behind a new industry standard, Cloud Application Management for Platforms (CAMP), a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) management Application Programming Interface (API) specification. I’m always dubious about these sorts of initiatives, I wrote an post earlier in the year about another such standard, TOSCA and was reminded of that by a comment made by Randy Bias, founder of CloudScaling at a session today when he pointed out that getting a few companies together to determine a standard is meaningless unless it goes hand in hand with actual market adoption.
CAMP is a specification that has been initiated by vendors CloudBees, Cloudsoft Corporation, Huawei, Oracle, Rackspace, Red Hat, and Software AG. It’s designed to wrap some structure around public and private cloud application deployments and packaging or, in other words, to set an industry standard around the way PaaS works.
CAMP is providing a common development vocabulary and API standard and is designed to help moving between public and private cloud and also between different PaaS vendors.
Look at the list of contributing companies and compare that to the leading names in PaaS. Do a Google search on PaaS and see who comes up – the PaaS space is dominated by names like CloudFoundry (in all it’s different flavors – Stackato, IronFoundry, AppFog etc), Heroku and Engineyard. There are several others but those are the big names. Those behind this initiative are, with a few exceptions, either infrastructure vendors or PaaS vendors with little adoption. So why is this telling?
I was listening to Apigee Director of Strategy Sam Ramji talk yesterday about standards. He defined three classes of organization – those who are irrelevant, the challengers and the incumbents. Incumbents fight to avoid openness, challengers fight hard to achieve openness and the irrelevant? Well no one really cares what they do. CAMP doesn’t seem to follow this model because PaaS is a very young segment, and there are multiple companies who have incumbency. The companies pushing for a PaaS standard can’t rightly claim a dominant incumbent that needs to be brought down by open standards, rather they’re trying to find de facto ways of becoming important.
This sounds a little harsh, and I accept that anyone can join CAMP so we could well see one of the larger PaaS companies sign up. Until we do though, and in the absence of any pressing call for PaaS standards, CAMP is of little importance in my view.