The Open Cloud Initiative (OCI) was originally founded by Sam Johnston in March 2009, with the publication of the first version of the Open Cloud Principles (OCP) and the help of the cloud computing community. They are inspired by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and Open Source Definition (OSD) respectively, which have been very successful in giving meaning to the term "Open Source". We hope to be at least as successful in giving meaning to the term "Open Cloud".

Initial discussions with the cloud computing community coalesced around the following requirements:

  • No Barriers to Entry
  • No Barriers to Exit
  • No Discrimination
  • Interoperability
  • Licensing Freedom
  • Technological Neutrality and
  • Transparency

These are still visible in the Open Cloud Principles (OCP) today, and represent the user freedoms that are protected through the use of open standards.

While discussions about the need for open standards in cloud computing were ongoing, the controversial Open Cloud Manifesto was ultimately the trigger for the foundation of the Open Cloud Initiative (OCI). Developed in private, the Open Cloud Manifesto was revealed by Microsoft in a blog post on 25 March 2009. Microsoft were "disappointed by the lack of openness in the development" and called for "a truly open, transparent, inclusive dialogue on cloud interoperability and standards principles". The Open Cloud Initiative (OCI) was founded to host that dialogue, document the results and apply them to cloud computing products and services on an ongoing basis by way of a certification trademark — in the same way that the Open Source Initiative (OSI) developed the Open Source Definition (OSD) and applies it to software licenses today.

Sam then accepted a position with Google and relocated to Switzerland, temporarily stalling progress with the Open Cloud Initiative (OCI).


Progress was slow until the OSCON 2010 conference, where the board met in person for the first time and completed the requisite paperwork to form a California public benefit (non-profit) corporation. The paperwork was couriered to the California Secretary of State (who were experiencing increased processing times due to budget constraints) but never processed for reasons unknown. It would be almost a year before the board would meet again to complete the paperwork for a second time.

Independently, John Mark Walker, Sam Ramji and Shanley Kane founded an Open Cloud Meetup group which met for the first time on May 13 2010 and regularly thereafter. John and Sam met and decided to join forces at OSCON 2010 (where Sam debated with Ben Black on the assertion that What we need are standards in the cloud) and were founding directors, along with Evan Prodromou, Rick Clark and Simon Wardley.

The first AGM was held shortly thereafter on Wednesday 4 August and Noirin Plunkett was appointed to the board.


Sam accepted a position with Equinix in London which again temporarily stalled progress with the Open Cloud Initiative (OCI).

Having met in California following the Interop conference, John and Sam decided to rekindle the organisation and recruited Sam Ramji, Shanley Kane, Thomas Uhl and Marc Fleischmann as new directors. The AGM with the new board was then held on Thursday 7 July 2011 and Evan Prodromou, Noirin Plunkett, Rick Clark and Simon Wardley were appointed as directors.

The board immediately set about resubmitting the paperwork and preparing for a launch at OSCON 2011, attended by a number of the directors.