Welcome!

Apache Authors: Liz McMillan, Gil Allouche, William Schmarzo, Christopher Harrold, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

Open Source as the Future of IT

Open source is playing an increasingly important role in IT infrastructure generally. Certainly, the role of open source in the compute space is well understood, and networking has been making its own migration towards open source with the OpenDaylight movement. But is open source a natural evolutionary path for all IT disciplines, or are there certain characteristics that make some areas more ripe for open source than others?

When we think about networking as an industry, we tend to compare its progress to the evolutionary track taken by the compute world. The base assumption here is that the industry will unfold in much the same way that the compute industry did, marching past some set of ubiquitous mile markers. But this view of the world sort of assumes that evolution is a two-dimensional track, and that industries are either parked somewhere along the continuum or they are moving forward towards a predetermined end.

But what if evolution doesn’t follow some set schedule or even a singular path? If we assume that technological evolution is not predetermined, then what conditions drive an industry towards open source?

There are at least three major drivers for broad open source adoption:

  • Single platform - When there are lots of applications that run on a single platform, that platform is particularly well-suited for open source. For most platform plays, the value and differentiation is not in the platform but rather in what runs on top of the platform. It makes sense that, to the extent possible, the vendors developing on top of the platform should leverage a common body of work. Re-creating foundational elements that are largely not differentiating is duplicative work that doesn’t ultimately help the end user. Additionally, a common platform helps to ensure that all the applications on top of the platform can run in what ends up looking like a fairly ubiquitous execution environment. This is largely what drove the migration of compute towards Linux. That a platform is open source and ubiquitous does not mean that it cannot also be lucrative. Companies like Red Hat have been successful at leveraging the broad install base to generate a solid revenue stream. That the platform they support is common helps to ensure that their customer base is as large as possible. Even small deviations in the underlying platform would fracture their customer base into a smaller set.
  • Single point of control - Not unlike the platform driver, when there is a single point of control for a large number of infrastructure elements, that point of control lends itself particularly well to open source. The value in a point of control lies either in managing very specific workflows (as with most single-vendor management platforms), or in broadly orchestrating workflows across disparate elements in a heterogeneous environments (as with SDN controllers). The former tends toward tightly integrated management/execution solutions; the latter provides a fertile breeding ground for open source. By adopting an open source framework for points of control, the community helps ensure that individual players do not end up with monopolistic control that can then be used to unduly influence decisions further down the technology stack. In essence, open source creates a very natural counterbalance to what would normally be competitive efforts to create “sticky” solutions.
  • Nascent technology - Innovation is always important, but in a technology’s formative stages, that innovation is necessarily less focused in a particular direction. When the outcome is uncertain, the number of potential paths approaches infinity. During these times, the best thing for the technology is unbridled support. Open source allows the widest aperture for new ideas to come into the space, which makes it ideally suited for nascent technology spaces where iterative experimentation is necessary. Open source does not preclude companies from creating protected innovations. Certainly, open source projects can be extended in commercial and even proprietary ways. But open source does ensure that access to the most important base concepts and foundational elements is uniform and open.

With these drivers in mind, it is relatively straightforward to see why open source plays a large role in certain areas of IT. On the server side, the proliferation of applications and the desire for those applications to be portable was enough to ensure the emergence of an open source compute platform like Linux. Once performance was good enough, differentiation was always going to move to the applications, which made unique platform capabilities unnecessary for the lion’s share of apps. Where performance or specialty capabilities remain important, there is still a small market for special operating environments.

As we look to networking, open source seems like a foregone conclusion as well. The push towards SDN makes the controller space particularly well-suited to open source. The desire to have a common control platform capable of near-ubiquitous deployment and with control hooks into a large number of heterogeneous elements is likely enough to guarantee a significant role for open source in networking. This is a large part of why projects like OpenDaylight hold such promise. The viability of proprietary, standalone control platforms in the face of a push towards orchestration and automation is questionable at best, except in the case of very specific (read: niche) workflows.

Storage would seem to be the next logical vertical to be impacted by open source. With a trend towards federated storage clusters, there will be a need for a central control mechanism, not unlike SDN. A single point of control spanning heterogeneous architectures is ideally suited for open source efforts.

The point here is not that open source is a necessary evolutionary step but rather that open source becomes a key ingredient as conditions in a technology space favor the value that open source brings. Where there is commonality in platform or control, open source will thrive. Where specialization is critical, open source is less relevant. As companies look at their own open source participation, this suggests that they ought to be examining natural points of convergence. The conditions more than the projects are likely to determine the success of open source across the various pockets within IT.

[Today's fun fact: Actor Tommy Lee Jones and Vice President Al Gore were freshman roommates at Harvard. Imagine the parties with one roommate a fun-loving guy and the other one named Al.]

The post Open Source as the Future of IT appeared first on Plexxi.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Michael Bushong

The best marketing efforts leverage deep technology understanding with a highly-approachable means of communicating. Plexxi's Vice President of Marketing Michael Bushong has acquired these skills having spent 12 years at Juniper Networks where he led product management, product strategy and product marketing organizations for Juniper's flagship operating system, Junos. Michael spent the last several years at Juniper leading their SDN efforts across both service provider and enterprise markets. Prior to Juniper, Michael spent time at database supplier Sybase, and ASIC design tool companies Synopsis and Magma Design Automation. Michael's undergraduate work at the University of California Berkeley in advanced fluid mechanics and heat transfer lend new meaning to the marketing phrase "This isn't rocket science."

@ThingsExpo Stories
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
ReadyTalk has expanded the capabilities of the FoxDen collaboration platform announced late last year to include FoxDen Connect, an in-room video collaboration experience that launches with a single touch. With FoxDen Connect, users can now not only engage in HD video conferencing between iOS and Android mobile devices or Chrome browsers, but also set up in-person meeting rooms for video interactions. A host’s mobile device automatically recognizes the presence of a meeting room via beacon tech...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
On Dice.com, the number of job postings asking for skill in Amazon Web Services increased 76 percent between June 2015 and June 2016. Salesforce.com saw its own skill mentions increase 37 percent, while DevOps and Cloud rose 35 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Even as they expand their presence in the cloud, companies are also looking for tech professionals who can manage projects, crunch data, and figure out how to make systems run more autonomously. Mentions of ‘data science’ as a skill ...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.