Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Article

Open Source, the Fuel for Cloud Disruption

When it comes to contributing to open source initiatives, it’s all about co-creation

Open source has proven to be a good option for building, managing, and delivering scalable infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) clouds. Typically, most open source cloud platforms support multiple virtualization technologies, giving enterprises a range of choices from multiple vendors of closed as well as open source technologies. Some examples are Eucalyptus, OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, OpenNebula, Red Hat OpenShift, Xen Cloud Platform Project (XCP), and the newest kid on the block, Citrix Cloudstack 3. While some apprehension still exists around open source use, there is a shift in attitude as enterprises look to capitalize on efficiency and technologies like virtualization and cloud computing as these become highly essential components in IT architecture.

OpenStack is a massively scalable cloud operating system that helps in the delivery and management of infrastructure. OpenStack is initiated by Rackspace and NASA, and is supported by almost 180 organizations, including Intel, Dell, Canonical, AMD, Cisco, HP, SUSE Linux, Red Hat, and IBM. It is a collaborative effort by thousands of developers and technologists globally aimed at helping SMBs, service providers, data centers, corporations and researchers roll out and leverage industry-grade public and private clouds.

Cloud Foundry is an open PaaS initiated by VMware enabling users to choose from multiple deployment clouds, development frameworks, and application services. Eucalyptus has been in the space for more than three years and it helps with implementing IaaS clouds. It also provides a great hybrid cloud deployment option since it supports Amazon AWS application programming interfaces to build and deliver applications atop. Red Hat's OpenShift, an auto-scaling PaaS, is also getting traction and support from many organizations. XCP helps with server virtualization and building cloud platforms for enterprises using Xen hypervisor. OpenNebula is another open source standard for data center virtualization. It offers customizable solutions for the management of virtualized data centers based on Xen, VMware, and KVM. Citrix CloudStack on the other hand is supported by almost 50 organizations including software and service providers like RightScale, Engine Yard, Opscode, CumuLogic, Puppet Labs, Hortonworks, Equinix, Juniper Networks, and ScaleXtreme.

Today, the above referenced open source platforms and technologies are being adopted and leveraged by small to large organizations for different reasons and for different capacity. Some are being used to create and deliver internal infrastructure, applications or workloads; while others are being leveraged to build public cloud services. Similarly, the open source virtualization platforms like Xen and KVM are already a critical piece of many cloud solutions today. One such example is Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform. AWS IaaS cloud is perhaps the most popular public cloud - estimated to be a $1 billion cloud business. Amazon's core cloud service EC2 (compute service) is powered by Xen. This alone should provide some reassurance to people who are still skeptical, but despite all the advancements in open source cloud platforms, CIOs have been apprehensive about open source software because of the absence of a formal support infrastructure. Some other concerns include security, lack of proper roadmaps, complexities tagged with IP rights, and capabilities to evaluate and assert endorsements to open source projects. But it's not all negative - open source innovations are acting as a catalyst to cause positive shifts in computing paradigm; ultimately helping CIOs, and we continue to see the market size of open source cloud software get bigger day by day.

Open source is also driving another interesting change. When it comes to contributing to open source initiatives, it's all about co-creation. Today, CIOs or service providers are all expected to "do more with less," which results in tight constraints on budgets. Timelines foster the culture of co-creation through collaborative efforts rather than competition. A good thing is that now organizations are getting multiple open source options to solve problems and they are able to choose the specific one that will best help meet their requirements. We've reached a point where it's important for organizations to create a strategy around open source platforms, and target the ones that align with business propositions that help meet strategic goals rather than focusing on tactical goals only. In the context of cloud computing, experts believe that open source is promising to make the technologies behind the cloud a commodity.

Sometimes people tend to misunderstand the cost model associated with open source and hence fail to account for the inevitable costs as well. There seems to be confusion between a no-cost vs. low-cost option. Although open source software doesn't incur any cost for acquisition since there is no license fees or annual charges, organizations still need to account for administration and support costs. In any case compared with commercial software platforms, total cost of ownership will be significantly lower.

Security has always been a talked-about issue with open source and it's a very valid concern. In the new era of open source innovations, the fact that communities and participations sponsored by technology organizations are not only getting stronger, but also fueling the advancement through co-innovation patterns, has changed the perspective on open source security as well. Open source software is available to anyone and everyone to use and work with. This means a large community of developers globally contribute to the code; they inspect it, review it, test it for various scenarios, and analyze the code for vulnerabilities. This process makes the open source software more secure, delivering the quality software back, to test and inspect it again and again. It keeps evolving all the time, while intelligence is added by many brains. In the context of a commercial software product, the vendor organization helps you solve the problem; and in the open source scenario, perhaps the whole technology world conspires toward your success.

There are other advantages of open source in cloud as well as virtualization - affordability (lower TCO), flexibility to customize, transparency in the stack, no vendor lock-in, better interoperability, and commitment toward portability when it comes to migrating workload. Having a choice of selecting technologies, frameworks and tools to build applications and peripherals proves to be another advantage. The value of community participation and support from a vast base of developers across geographies brings more firepower and extra leeway.

No doubt closed source projects will continue to have markets; however, they will be put under constant pressure due to the impact and penetration open source platforms are creating and are capable of advancing. Open source is very much happening and cutting across all the layers of cloud architecture. This means organizations today can't afford to ignore open source and will need to either do talent investment, experimentation or lay out a full-blown strategy when thinking about cloud as an enabler. The future may belong to businesses that take on new technology bets - try different computing and delivery approaches, experiment with constantly evolving technologies that are more open and collaborative. Open source adoption is and will continue fueling the disruption that new edge technologies like cloud computing are causing... what do you think?

More Stories By Jiten Patil

Jiten Patil is Principal Technology Consultant & Cloud Expert, CTO Office, at Persistent Systems Limited, a global leader in software product development and services. He has 15 years of industry experience and has spent the past 6 years working with cloud service providers, ISVs and enterprises in the field of SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and hybrid cloud computing solutions. His key expertise is in guiding organizations for cloud strategy and roadmap, solution architecting for public & private application services, platform services, multi-tenancy methodologies, application enablement and migration, devising new cloud solutions, tools and IP products, and doing competitive assessment across cloud technologies. He can be reached at [email protected] / Twitter @jiten_patil

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...