|By Michael Bushong||
|February 5, 2014 06:00 AM EST||
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 Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Dec. 1, 2015 06:30 AM EST Reads: 513
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 620
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Dec. 1, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 359
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Dec. 1, 2015 04:45 AM EST Reads: 458
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 470
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Dec. 1, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 469
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
Dec. 1, 2015 01:15 AM EST Reads: 125
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Nov. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EST Reads: 115
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 30, 2015 03:15 PM EST Reads: 250
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 30, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 496
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 375
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 439
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 441
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 30, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 542
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 30, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 346
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 30, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 468
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:30 AM EST Reads: 361
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 304
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 513
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 30, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 574