20 September 2008

Boycott the Enomaly hoax and censored cloud-computing Google Group

Update: I have been asked to remove this post by the new CEO of Enomaly on the basis that they are changing/have changed since it was written. While there are some signs that this is the case, as a matter of policy I have not yet deleted a post and I don't intend to start here. Until I work out what to do with this request, bear in mind that this is a (dated) personal opinion and that you should draw your own from the facts which you should also verify yourself (in most cases I have linked to primary sources). Thanks.

It's now been two weeks since I posted the 'Enomalism vapourware lands Enomaly in the cloud computing doghouse' article. Enomalism is still vaporware (Update: despite being rebadged 'Enomaly Elastic Computing CloudPlatform' or "EC2ECP") and the offending group is still arbitrarily censored according to 'Moderator' Khazret Sapenov's personal whims and fancies, only without me, a few other bloggers and of course Reuven Cohen himself. We've had comments ranging from '[we] decided it was not for us [as] the ability to do the most basic tasks were just not there' through comparisons to 13 year old boys in the bedroom (and worse), and perhaps most accurately:
[The Enomaly] ship is taking on a lot water and is on fire, and I don't see a rescue anywhere in sight.
Meanwhile, being "quintissential professionals" (their words) they've resorted to spreading FUD and actively and blatantly slandering me, my company, fellow professionals and the community itself and I've personally been called a liar, a charlatan and a "fake cloud expert", my posts an insomnia cure, accused of self-promotion, associated with Osama bin Laden(!!!), even compared to a dog as well as Martha Stewart (?!?) and had my sexuality questioned by 'Jeremy', a brand new anonymous coward poster who conveniently appeared at the same time as Reuven Cohen (the head honcho for those who just joined us). Defending the indefensible, he lynched James Urquhart for offering support and (like Reuven Cohen) took exception to our posting photos; an obvious if unprovable connection. Oh, and 'Jeremy', thanks for pointing out the one assertion I didn't feel the need to give proof for (my being 'the #3 poster at the time' in the offending Google Group). Here's a screenshot of the stats showing me 1 post off #2 position (like it matters - the point was that us active and early contributors who built the group by actively participating could be considered stakeholders, as they are in the open Cloud Computing Community).
"So will Enomaly open up the community voluntarily or do [they] need to be coerced? And no, I don't buy that this is a personal endeavour and I doubt anyone else will either."
While this 'guerilla warfare' style response could have been anticipated from a fly-by-night outfit with three-men-and-a-dog (hence the carefully constructed, researched and referenced article), the various private thankyou notes from people within the community who wanted to say something like this but for whatever reason couldn't caught me by surprise; thanks too all of you for your public and private words of support. These ranged from simply 'Thanks for your recent post on these guys.' to this:

Longtime listener, first-time caller, as they say.

I'm loving your blog. And I just swallowed the
Enomaly piece -- very well linked, good job providing that background material. [snip]

Keep up the great work.

Suffice to say the level of disdain for these guys within the community is both surprising and (less surprisingly) on the rise, and...
Yet you've still got a handful of people talking about Reuven Cohen like it's the second coming of Christ
...comparing him to the likes of Vin[t] Cerf, Ray Ozzie, Marc Benioff, and a bunch of others who have actually walked the walk rather than just talking the talk (although apparently the going rate for this kind of praise is a $50 bottle of red). Yes CloudCamp was a good (if obvious and inevitible) idea and the logos's cute - indeed I'd even attend if I was Silicon Valley rather than Sydney on Tuesday 30th September. Given the prospect of event organisation sends shivers down my spine I'm glad others are doing it - kudos also to co-conspirator Dave Nielsen who arguably deserves his fair share of the limelight. However the real thing these guys are seeking (and getting) credit for (EnomalismEnomaly ECP) is still to this day vapourware, with no release in sight after a long string of alphas, betas and flaky (yet according to them 'STABLE') 'release candidates'. Update: Enomalism has since been condemned to the land of vapourware for eternity (see below) and the rebadged Enomaly ECP is hidden here, behind a broken email harvester and a curious 'contact us for SVN access' message.
"Do take this seriously - I feel very strongly about this community hijacking and am not in the least bit impressed by [Khazret]'s behaviour; I won't discriminate between any of [them] (and Enomaly) in my response if the gloves do have to come off given [they] have been given ample opportunity to intervene."
Let's not forget about Khazret Sapenov, Enomaly's Director (yes, that's right, Director) of Research & Development, presumably therefore a key player in the ongoing failure to deliver, as well as fascist (in the words of his own boss, Reuven Cohen) moderator of the cloud computing Google Group. I'm not aware of any meaningful "Research" that Enomaly's "Enomaly Labs" "a(sic) emerging technology incubator" is credited for and we've already seen what the "Development" division is[n't] capable of. Then again, given he's flat out moderatingcensoring the offending group at all hours (both on and off Enomaly time) it's not at all surprising.
"One of the persistent questions we've heard over the last couple years is what "exactly" does Enomaly do?"
Meanwhile Reuven Cohen (self-proclaimed cloud "advocate", "provocateur", "pioneer" & "prominent blogger") threw a hissy fit at the weekend and quit the group 'for a few days' (only he didn't according to yesterday's activity in the group's List of Cloud Platforms, Providers and Enablers). This was almost certainly a feigned attempt to 'arms length' it, despite continuing to talk about it as his own and take credit for founding it along with a bunch of other dubious distinctions like 'creating' the term elastic computing (which I am told by a reader was in commercial use this time back in 2001 and which they didn't use until some time after Amazon popularised it). He then rebadged Enomalism as the highly original and not-copied-from-Amazon-at-all "Enomaly Elastic Computing Platform (ECP)" while "proudly and clearly stat[ing their] new mission to bring 'Clarity to Cloud Computing'".
Clarity to Cloud Computing? Forget the fact that cloud computing is well accepted to be Internet based and Enomaly's EnomalismECP is on-premises virtualisation vapourware.
If he's hoping that I'll forget about it then he's got another think coming... I'm just getting started and as I said before, he "most definitely not going to like what happens next but [he] can't say [he] weren't explicitly warned".

Speaking of Reuven Cohen, one of the more interesting revelations that surfaced from this fiasco was the claims that...
"posts are delayed [by Khazret] so that Reuven is able to post on the topic first"
...and by extension, take credit for others' leads, insights and vision. As an active poster I believe this is both possible and probable (even if others don't), especially given their recent [mis]behaviour and although also unproveable the archives certainly concur with this theory. It would go a long way towards explaining why control of the group is of such paramount importance to them and their "visionary". That and the list itself.

'The List™' you ask? So did I when I saw that I'd been publicly accused of "approach[ing the] creator of The List demand[ing] status of partner with access to [The] List of members e-mail addresses". So that would explain why I've been badgering them - fair enough they deny my unreasonable request, right? Wrong. It was never about 'The List' until they made it about 'The List' - I clearly couldn't care less who in the community is blessed as moderators (I dare not even suggest that it should have been myself) so long as one can post without fear of arbitrary (or worse, calculated) repression.
My exact words were "please add a few of the other active community members to [help] administer it"...
So judge for yourself how unreasonable I was now that you have the full story, as while Khazret Sapenov is happy to deep link employment standards legislation he conveniently doesn't bother linking his slander to its victims' posts at all. And now there's all this talk about "easily giv[ing] it up without any resistance" and "who cares, you just need the damn list, noone remembers it afterwards". In fact, Khazret Sapenov made reference his precious list (like Gollum's precious ring) on no less than eight separate occasions in his seven point defamatory diatribe and another half a dozen times in his back-to-back broadside. That's over a dozen times for something I didn't mention even once - I couldn't care less about collecting email addresses, especially when the offending post is promoting an open source prototype.

Getting to the point, let's straighten a few things out with regards to Khazret Sapenov's utterly ridiculous accusations and implications:

From How to become a cloud guru:
  • Like many I was foisted into the group after connecting on LinkedIn, hardly the same as 'Find community, get your posts injected there'. The quality of my posts is not an issue and I utterred the phrase 'compute cloud' once, while telling Reuven to calm down about standards.
  • I'm not discriminatory about who I'm "bashing" - particularly crass acts of stupidity by individuals and small organisations occasionally warrant highlighting too, and no, Enomaly is not by any stretch of the imagination "large company".
  • The Cloud Computing Community's mailing lists and wiki already have a bunch of users despite not even having been properly launched yet, and in any case I couldn't care less if I was the only user if the archives (like this blog) would still be useful to others. Of course it would be a lot easier if they would just let the community use the existing group so as to get diversity in opinions, but they have Enomaly's own commercial agenda to satisfy.
  • We've already addressed my "approach[ing] creator of the list and demand[ing] status of partner with access to list" above (it simply never happened). Same for "get[ting] some members of initial mailing list on [my] side", "promis[ing] something to them", blah blah blah.
  • Despite both of them constantly bitching about James and I posting postage-stamp sized photos, they were removed at Reuven's behest and yet he still posted mine at the top of his first diatribe. As he linked to one I had hosted on S3 I took the liberty of replacing it with something more appropriate, but the hypocrisy is laughable.
  • "Mak[ing my] buddies duplicate this post and add comments under different nicks" is a convenient way to bundle all the abuse together at my doorstep, but I'm afraid your delusional - there are plenty of people who have simply had enough of Enomaly's drivel.
  • As for The Cure of Folly, talk to me when you land your first production 32,000 user cloud computing deployment (like the one Google co-founder Sergey Brin was bragging about in the recent earnings call).
From Sam Johnston is barking at Dell, Nirvanix and Enomaly:
  • On Dell's trademark, as I explained clearly in my very first post on the subject (which popularised the group by bringing it into the mainstream press), I wasn't "struck by bright idea to trademark 'Cloud Computing'" and "upset to know that it was already taken" but rather perplexed by the ™ symbol in Dell's first Cloud Computing™ press release and surprised nobody else picked it up in almost 18 months. Being a proponent of competition without intellectual property [ab]use and seeking to level the playing field I (successfully I might add) worked to have the allocation struck down.
  • "Oh, Nirvanix screwed up?" If you call being implicated in the effective loss of hundreds of gigabytes of data held in trust on behalf of 20,000 paying customers "screwing up" then yes, they did. I take it that you're condoning your partner's [in]actions and see no problem with this then. Figures. At least you accept their responsibility.
  • The Dell scoop was big news, as evidenced by coverage by everyone from The Register to The Wall Street Journal.
  • On the censored Google Group: "Khazret Sapenov owns a good one". Exactly - therein lies the problem.
  • On taking hostages, "so they force him to give me a good bit of the list contacts", I couldn't care less about The List™ and just want an open community and a level playing field. Enomaly have proven time and time again they can't be trusted, preferring to play dirty underhanded tricks than play fair.
  • "Employment standards? Human rights?" WTF?
  • As for "I'll contact most active participants of their list to defect to my 'open' list", this is straight from fantasy land, but nonetheless it's not a bad idea - if they know about the goings on on under the table and still choose to stay then they deserve what they get. I'll look into it, especially now he's dragged the entire list into this by spreading FUD and we have a few useful feeds of the posts courtesy some "useless lurkers".
  • The Cloud Computing Community Wiki was not created because "Wikipedia is lame" but because we need somewhere to produce original research like the Cloud Computing Incidents Database; new knowledge, rather than to present the existing knowledge in a new form (e.g., summarized or classified), which is explicitly forbidden by Wikipedia.
And in general, there's no point in declaring my posts "totally off" and that I've used "bad information", "90% of [which] is not true" without specifically identifying so much as a single error or omission. I've been very careful to source everything, having a good faith belief that it is correct, and encourage them to identify any points that need updating. In any case this is just my opinion and others are welcome to draw their own conclusions.
A censored and manipulated community is worse than no community at all.
Anyway, while writing this has provided some amount of entertainment on an otherwise uneventful Paris-London train ride (and hopefully some mild entertainment for you readers), there's plenty of other more useful things I could be doing when I get back online.
That's why I'll try to stop feeding the trolls and boycott Enomaly and their censored Google Group instead. I encourage you to do the same.
That is, at least as long as they defend this indefensible position, after which time I reserve the right to pull a 180 and give them their fair chance of success (including potentially pulling these posts as it's not my intention to inflict damage but to restore order by leveling the playing field). With any luck they will do a quick cost benefit analysis on the value of hoarding and manipulating the community versus the cost of the (significant) bad will this is generating (and will continue to generate).

If you remain unconvinced need proof of their antics just follow Geva Perry's example and try to have this important issue discussed on the list - you'll soon enough be infuriated (and probably banned) too.
  • If you have a blog, blog about it.
  • If you have a talk, talk about it.
  • If you see a story, comment on it.
  • If you see a listing, rate it.
  • If someone asks, tell them (and maybe even if they don't).
But don't post to the cloud-computing group or buy Enomaly products and services until you're satisfied with their prevailing policies. And like with Nirvanix, if you have a grievance then take it to Enomaly's new page on GetSatisfaction.com which has a juicy pagerank, a faceless Enomaly employee and some resistance to censorship.

1 comment:

  1. Hey,

    Thanks for taking the time to write about these a$$holes - I just finished reading it all now and I hate to think how long it takes you to find all the supporting links! Anyway it's well worth the effort when you're tacking people who prefer to fight dirty.

    I don't know what they're thinking embroiling themselves in a scandal like this on the eve of a major product launch because it must be killing them... and for what? A mailing list that nobody trusts anymore anyway?

    Keep it up - I can't wait for the next episode in the cloud computing soap opera!

    A "useless lurker"


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