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Unisys Predicts 2007 Open Source Trends

Architectural Approaches And Specialized Stacks Will Dominate

According to Unisys experts, 2007 will be the year that open source software attains the architectural backing and distribution channels needed to gain acceptance from enterprise customers as a front-rank vehicle for deploying enterprise applications to drive business growth and innovation at a lower cost per transaction.

“There are literally hundreds of thousands of open source projects in the world today, and it’s accelerating rapidly in sophistication and acceptance,” said Anthony Gold, vice president and general manager, Open Source Business, Unisys. “Until now, Linux has been one of the most mature and widely adopted elements. In 2007, Unisys sees the entire open source stack attaining a similar inflection point in adoption for critical mainstream business solutions such as business intelligence and enterprise content management.”

Forecasting the year ahead, Unisys executives predict that:

1. Architectural Approaches to Open Source Will Begin to Predominate

While increasingly mature and accepted in mainstream enterprises, open source software – even Linux – too often proves suboptimal for enterprise-level applications if deployed in random pieces. Enterprise computing requires production environments that provide security and even more basic functions such as lockdown, backup/restore and other enterprise computing infrastructure requirements.

In 2007, enterprise open source buyers will recognize the need for that kind of holistic architecture. How they get it is another matter. Few have the in-house expertise to manage and integrate legacy systems and open source stacks to achieve it. Even fewer open source software providers have the enterprise expertise to help them. Increasingly, enterprise customers will turn to systems integrators (SI) who can give them the blueprint to create and manage an infrastructure aligned with their business strategy that integrates appropriate open source elements and optimizes their performance.

2. Specialized Stacks Will Drive a New Direction for Business Applications

The LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl) stack, focused on general functions such as operating environment and database services, has until now formed the foundation for most open source projects.

The status quo is about to change dramatically. “In 2007, we’ll see a rise in more differentiated open source stacks for specific purposes, such as business intelligence, content management and output management,” says Ali Shadman, vice president and general manager, Open Source Solutions, Systems & Technology, Unisys. “Each specialized stack will constitute a ‘black box’ – a plug-and-play; minimally configurable building block designed to fit naturally in modern data center environments and accomplish a single job from the outset. Such solutions are essential to ease IT management’s concerns about having to focus on integration of open source components instead of developing and managing innovative systems to support growth of their businesses,” says Shadman.

A key development in specialized stacks in 2007 will be the start of convergence for business intelligence (BI). “Traditionally, content management has been divorced from BI and focused mainly on managing files,” says Shadman. “Now we see the two converging in the semantic web.” The semantic web provides a way to gain a holistic view across an entire information set, including both dynamic and static information (e.g., PDFs). It enables more sophisticated data analysis across the business.

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Enterprise Open Source News Desk trawls the fast-growing world of Professional Open Source for business-relevant items of news, opinion, and insight.

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Most Recent Comments
alex christophe 12/19/06 05:49:57 AM EST

Hi,

It is with great interest I have read your article that -yet again, may only be a reflection in the Open Source light veneer that most large SIs must bear in 2007

The Open Source stacks are packaged in a way to fulfil vertical functions and -to the un-initiated, it may seem that enterprise-ready applications such as backup or desktop management aren't readily available.

The view one must take is that specialist ought to provide best of breed solutions to solve points of pain. And Linux/Open Source Professional outfits can also recognize the importance of proprietary software to solve business problems, the philosophy of which need not be discussed.

These actually do include enterprise network backup solutions like Arkeia, they also do include most of the Novell applications such as ZenWorks, they also include cutting edge and integrated email/ collaboration suites and CRM (Sugar/Zimbra or Sugar/Scalix) etc. True systems integrators work with vendors to help and influence with the development of add-ons, plugins etc to allow for an even tighter and deeper integration. An example of that includes single maibox backup and restore (includes single emails) influenced by LinuxIT, written by Arkeia for Scalix which allows the most demanding customers out there to benefit from everything ground up, from the tin to the tape in the drive that contains the Email, collaboration and CRM data organisations nowadays so heavily rely on.

The support model provided by vendors and large systems integrators is often the main barrier to adoption because it focuses too much on the OS or one element of the stack and looks at the product or piece of software in isolation from the others. From that perspective, we are offered with a disjointed view of the organisation and a potential administration nightmare with too many support contacts, too many vendors and more importantly no experts on deck, merely product specialists.

The comment I couldn't agree with more is the one reflecting on the importance of partnering with Systems Integrators and VARs.
Now, the Linux world appears to consist of two types of the above:
The large SIs who claim to be qualified by pooling self employed resources together offering more of a bureau resource. These structures add very little value and ultimately don't understand how to solve issues out of the proprietary box.
The other end of the Open Source spectrum is composed of 2 to 3 men bands, highly qualified, solutions focused individuals who like to work from their garage or utility room. Would you enterprise put their trust in such an outfit?

Perhaps that is the question that one should ask when talking about Linux, Open Source or systems integration: Who can you trust?

Alex Christophe
Corporate Solutions
LinuxIT Europe

enterprise open source news desk 11/30/06 05:12:58 AM EST

According to Unisys experts, 2007 will be the year that open source software attains the architectural backing and distribution channels needed to gain acceptance from enterprise customers as a front-rank vehicle for deploying enterprise applications to drive business growth and innovation at a lower cost per transaction.

enterprise open source news desk 11/30/06 03:37:49 AM EST

According to Unisys experts, 2007 will be the year that open source software attains the architectural backing and distribution channels needed to gain acceptance from enterprise customers as a front-rank vehicle for deploying enterprise applications to drive business growth and innovation at a lower cost per transaction.

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