Editor’s note: Local Tech Wire asked Raleigh-based rPath to spell out why the venture-backed startup that focuses on virtualization technology is supporting the “Open Cloud Manifesto” for shared (“cloud”) computing. Jake Sorofman, vice president of marketing for rPath, responded. Other manifesto supporters include Red Hat, IBM, Cisco and EMC – companies that all have a major presence in the Triangle.

RALEIGH, N.C. – First, I’ll admit it: I am completely and utterly biased about the need for the At rPath, we’ve tried in our own focused ways to spur industry-wide discussion on definitions and good practices for cloud computing.

I like to think we’ve made a constructive contribution to this cause (see, as examples, and ). But it really takes a vendor with the reach and resources of IBM to kick this sort of thing into high gear. rPath is glad to be part of this and any initiative that helps turn cloud confusion into cloud clarity. I think it makes our jobs a lot easier.

I’ve heard a few commentators suggest that the Manifesto is innocuous at best, vacuous at worst. Personally, I believe this misses the point—and the intent—of the document. The reality is that communication cannot happen without foundational knowledge and language as its currency of trade. Without this, any discourse is a frustrating exercise in futility where every exchange is like ships passing in the night.

In my mind, the Manifesto lays the foundation for the conversation we all need to have: What is cloud? What isn’t cloud? What are the roles and responsibilities of the vendor community? How do ensure its promise is fully realized—and not exploited?

Does the Manifesto answer every question we may have about cloud or offer the exact blueprint for success? Certainly not. But it does a very effective job of laying out the rudiments, the barriers to adoption, key tenets and principles in a way that pretty much anyone can understand. And because it is sponsored by IBM, it will become required reading by pretty much everyone with a stake in the game.

rPath couldn’t agree more with the notion of the Open Cloud. In fact, one of the key guiding principles behind our approach to automating application delivery is “build once, deploy anywhere.” We know customers want options—and flexibility—with respect to how and where they deploy their applications. This is bound to become even truer as cloud deployment options proliferate.

So, with the Manifesto published, where does this leave us as participants in the evolution of cloud computing? This is only a start. With the Open Cloud Manifesto as a foundation, we have the opportunity to put the principles to use and report back on our experiences. The result will be an evolution of understanding that will help mitigate the risks and confusion that currently pervade this topic.

The Open Cloud Manifesto is a positive step on the path to the cloud. rPath is pleased to be part of it.

About the author: Before joining rPath, Jake Sorofman was senior vice president of marketing and business development for JustSystems, the largest independent software vendor in Japan and a leader in XML technologies. Before that, Jake was VP of product marketing with Mercury Interactive (now part of HP Software), where he was responsible for the Systinet product line. He joined Mercury though Mercury’s $105 million acquisition of Systinet Corporation. Before Mercury, Jake led marketing for two WebSphere products at IBM Software Group, which he joined through the acquisition of Venetica.