Welcome!

Apache Authors: Sematext Blog , Trevor Parsons, Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, AppDynamics Blog

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
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...