The OpenStack Pulse 2014 – new 451 report

We’ve recently updated our coverage of OpenStack with a new report, ‘The OpenStack Pulse 2014.’

The OpenStack project continues to be something of a lightning rod and also something of a dichotomy in the industry. On one hand, it has drawn the involvement of hundreds of supporting vendors and more than 17,000 individual members. It ranks highly among priorities, particularly for private clouds, among 451 Research survey respondents.

Yet critics are quick to point out issues: the continued difficulty of installing and implementing OpenStack; the challenges of pushing it to production and fragmentation — including different vendor objectives and agendas. Despite its downsides, one thing remains clear: OpenStack is a major concern and focus for large enterprises and service providers today.

Read the full article.

Red Hat’s acquisition-fueled climb to the cloud

Red Hat is famous for its ability to focus squarely on a market and technology and build success from there, as it did with Linux. However, the company increasingly has diverged from its roots and historical laser focus on the enterprise x86 server market with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The overarching theme and identity of Red Hat is still open source software, but the main driver for the company clearly is now cloud computing, which is intertwined with open source.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

451 Take on Red Hat-CentOS

There was a somewhat quiet, cost-free acquisition of sorts in the Linux world earlier this year when Red Hat announced it was joining forces with Red Hat Enterprise Linux community clone CentOS. The move, which effectively brings organization, governance, backing and technology of CentOS under Red Hat’s brim, is interesting for a few reasons.

First, it illustrates the continued presence and power of unpaid community Linux distributions like CentOS. Second, it’s part of the changing Linux market, which is being driven by cloud computing and new types of uses on the rise. Third, it also may be a sign that open source software users and customers are exerting more influence than ever before.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Definition of devops harkens open core debates

When open source software was still getting established in the enterprise five years ago or so, there was a lot of discussion about so-called open core ripoffs. The concern was that anyone and everyone was proclaiming an association with open source software, even if most or all of their products were proprietary. Today, a similar debate has arisen about devops, a convergence of software development and IT operations for optimal speed, efficiency and other advantages.

For those concerned about misuse or abuse of the term “devops” — which has come to be positively associated with rapid releases, collaboration, efficiency and effectiveness rather than the somewhat rogue movement it was considered a few years ago — there may be some lessons in open source software that indicate the movement and the term will endure, regardless of the posers.

Read the entire article at LinuxInsider.

Open source woven into latest, hottest trends

We may not see or hear much about open source in the latest cloud or Big Data offerings, but it’s playing a significant role in the most disruptive trends in enterprise IT.

Just as we’ve seen with open source in cloud computing, it is an integral part of trends that currently are disrupting consumer and enterprise IT markets, including hybrid cloud computing, automation and devops, and Big Data.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

451 Research perspectives on OpenStack and Amazon APIs

There’s been an interesting debate on the OpenStack cloud computing project and its API compatibility with Amazon. The discussion and debate over the open source cloud software’s compatibility with cloud leader Amazon’s proprietary APIs was just beginning when the 451 Group released The OpenStack Tipping Point in April. With the advancement of the OpenStack software and community — along with lingering questions about the desired level of compatibility with Amazon’s cloud — the matter is heating up. However, the issue of Amazon cloud compatibility is largely a non-issue.

Enterprise customers are focused on solving their computing and business challenges. They typically center on promptly providing their customers and internal users and divisions with adequate resources and infrastructure; speeding application development and deployment; and avoiding so-called “Shadow IT,” which normally involves use of Amazon’s cloud. Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

I’m not the only one with an opinion around here. My 451 Research colleagues have also weighed in on the matter and 451 Research subscribers can view their argument that Amazon API compatibility may be a fool’s errand.

The OpenStack Tipping Point – new report

Since its start in the summer of 2010, the OpenStack open source cloud computing project has been the subject of a lot of hype. Today, the technology, backers and use of OpenStack are giving substance to all of that sizzle and skepticism is giving way to service provider and enterprise use cases across the globe. OpenStack is still relatively immature and still requires a high degree of technical aptitude to deploy, but its community continues to grow in both providers and users, both of which are focused on making the software easier to deploy, manage and scale.

*Coming of age
The OpenStack project itself is not even three years old, but thanks to maturing technology, growing membership and the OpenStack Foundation formed last year, OpenStack has matured to the point it is getting attention from large service provider and enterprise users, including companies in telecommunications, retail and research. Large supporters of OpenStack such as Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM and Rackspace are using OpenStack internally and also in new cloud offerings. We also see vitality in the number of startups and smaller players bringing OpenStack to the market, including Cloudscaling, eNovance, Mirantis, Morphlabs, Nebula and Piston Cloud Computing. We’ve also seen large vendors make acquisitions of key OpenStack players, such as Red Hat’s acquisition of scale-out storage specialist Gluster for $136m in October 2011, VMware’s acquisition of open source networking player Nicira for $1.26 billion in July 2012 and Oracle’s acquisition of cloud management vendor Nimbula in March 2013. We have no doubt as the OpenStack technology and market matures, it will present additional acquirers and targets along the way.

The fact that there were already open source cloud computing options in the market when OpenStack was established helped contribute to a discussion of open source software, open standards and open clouds. We expect OpenStack and other open source cloud options, such as CloudStack, Eucalyptus, Joyent and OpenNebula, will continue to co-exist in the market and will all benefit from the increased credibility they all bring to open source cloud computing. Just as different Linux distributions and different open source hypervisors have helped drive one another in the industry, we are likely to see open clouds do the same thing.

*Components mature, emerge
In addition to its foundation and growing support among vendors and implementors, OpenStack is also gaining traction because the technology of the open source project is maturing and advancing. The main OpenStack components for compute (Nova), networking (Quantum) and storage (Swift) are becoming more credible for enterprises and service providers beyond bleeding edge users. Where there are some of the biggest gaps in OpenStack, such as dashboard/UI, identity services, orchestration or metering, additional components and sub-projects are emerging. While OpenStack continues to require a good degree of technical aptitude to deploy, the OpenStack community seems to be scatching the right itches for broader enterprise and service provider use.

OpenStack users have also indicated that although the OpenStack technology may be lacking in certain features and functionality, they appreciate the ability to be part of the community that solves issues and having more control of their own IT destiny.

*OpenStack Drivers
OpenStack is being driven largely by the growing number of enterprise and service provider organizations that want to put more of their operations and offerings in the cloud. Many companies are seeking the scalability and elasticity of public clouds, but desire more control and want private clouds, where OpenStack is finding some traction. this is particularly true for continuous integration and continuous deployment or devops implementations that combine application development and IT operations for greater efficiency and speed. We are seeing two types of adoption of devops: more proactive efforts that center on speed and iteration and more reactive effors that focus on providing IT resources to developers, productivity and business units so they do not go outside the organization for public cloud, free or low-cost options, also known as ‘shadow IT.’

Other OpenStack drivers parallel the advantages we’ve seen for open source software: cost savings, flexibility and avoiding vendor lock-in. OpenStack users have also indicated it has been helpful to be able to access OpenStack source code and customize it for integration with existing infrastructure and systems. We’ve also heard from some OpenStack implementors that their developers and engineers prefer open source tools and frameworks that give more flexibility.

*OpenStack Hurdles
Despite the size and number of OpenStack supporters and vendors, the open source cloud computing software still represents a technical challenge for many organizations. Baseline features and functionality, such as metering and billing, are just now taking shape in OpenStack and while issues are being rapidly addressed, the software is not ready out of the box by an means.

Another challenge with the project and its use among more enterprises and service providers is the fact that OpenStack talent is in short supply. This is one of the biggest challenges of deploying OpenStack and while users may seek third-party help, their options are somewhat limited. This facet of OpenStack is quickly changing with more training and certification efforts in the works as well as a new OpenStack Operations Guide that was published last month.

We at 451 Research have also fielded more inquiries and questions on OpenStack. In response, we’ve published an extensive report on OpenStack available to 451 Research subscribers here.

Automation, devops drive open source deeper in the enterprise

Server provisioning and configuration management and automation are the latest examples of where the tech industry is being driven, largely by open source software. The leading open source server and IT infrastructure automation frameworks, Opscode Chef and Puppet Labs’ Puppet, sit on the leading edge of significant trends under way in enterprise IT — particularly disruption from cloud computing and devops, where application development and IT operations come together for faster, smoother delivery of software and services.

I’ve discussed the importance of open source software in cloud computing and in trends such as devops and polyglot programming. Consistently across all of these trends and the technologies that go with them, there are prominent roles for Chef and Puppet.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Open source ushers mobile OS changes

The year is starting out with what may turn out to be significant changes in the mobile operating system market, with open source software playing a significant role just as it has in enterprise software, virtualization and cloud computing.

With fading heavyweights and interesting new challengers, there are changes afoot in the mobile OS market, but we must first acknowledge the market today is still mainly a duopoly of Apple with iOS and Samsung with Android.

However, if we look back five years, we see how dramatically the mobile OS landscape has changed. Given the pace of today’s device and application development and support, as well as users from consumers to the enterprise, we can expect similarly dramatic changes in the coming months and years.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Linux predictions for 2013

As 2012 draws to an end, it’s an opportune time to look ahead and consider what we can expect in the Linux OS community and market for 2013. So here are my top five Linux predictions for the coming year:

1. Continued Cloud Dominance and Influence

As we consider a number of key trends in enterprise software and systems, it’s clear how critical cloud computing is to the industry. The strong connection between Linux and cloud computing will continue to fuel Linux throughout 2013 with public clouds, private clouds, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS all contributing to broader and greater use of Linux.

Linux makes sense for cloud computing because of availability, scalability, cost, flexibility, clustering, performance and other advantages. The latest example of Linux vitality in the cloud is the OpenStack project, which continues to grow and evolve in the enterprise.

OpenStack also represents the latest Linux battleground, with Red Hat, SUSE and Canonical all vying to support enterprise deployments. Linux is a big part of cloud computing — not only technically, but also culturally, and in conversations between vendors and customers.

We see Linux, open source and openness having an impact on discussions of “open clouds,” highlighting the wider impact of Linux on the cloud. We plan to delve deeper into this topic as we consider Linux in the cloud with a 451 Research report in 2013.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Rise of Polyglot report is out

We recently wrote about a disruptive trend we are following along with cloud computing, devops and open source software in the enterprise. Our 451 Research subscribers also got a preview of our findings in a recent spotlight report.

Polyglot programming is the use of many different languages, frameworks, services, databases and other pieces for individual applications. The trend takes today’s developers and IT shops beyond .NET and Java to node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby, Spring and further still to Erlang, Scala, Haskell and others. Also in the mix are widely used API Web services, such as JSON, REST and SOAP, which are increasingly significant to building applications, as well as developer and user communities. There is also polyglot disruption present at the database layer with MySQL still being popular, but with ample use of the growing number of alternatives (NoSQL, PostgreSQL, NewSQL, etc.), including virtual and cloud-based services. Don’t forget today’s applications will likely pull in effective user-interface technologies such as Javascript, XML and HTML5, whether for internal enterprise, Web, mobile, consumer or converged audiences.

Although there is added pain in programming with multiple languages, benefits such as scalability, interoperability and concurrency increasingly necessitate it for optimal efficiency and quality.

Now we are pleased to present our latest special report, ‘The Rise of Polyglot Programming.’ The report investigates the drivers, disruption, challenges and opportunities from the trend. We also present market sizing and growth implications for polyglot programming, drawing on data and analysis from our Market Monitor service to show how polyglot programming will be part of a growing opportunity worth more than $35bn by 2015.

Like FOSS fog, cloud confusion may not matter

The general public knows little about the true technology fundamentals of cloud computing, suggests a recent survey commissioned by IT vendor Citrix. Almost a third of the roughly 1,000 U.S. adults polled thought cloud computing was related to weather.

However, the ascendance of Linux and open source software 10 years ago demonstrated that everyday people do not have to understand, appreciate or knowingly participate in a technology in order to leverage it in their lives.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

OSS support grows among proprietary players

VMware continued its embrace of open source software with its recent acquisition of open source and virtual network provider Nicira. The move continued VMware’s aggressive M&A strategy and its effort to transition from proprietary software and virtualization to a broader market and cloud computing, largely through open source software.

With previous open source software acquisitions that have included Rabbit Technologies’ RabbitMQ messaging, Zimbra email and collaboration and SpringSource, VMware seems to have found it paramount to participate and integrate with open source software technology and communities, despite its heritage as a strictly proprietary virtualization vendor.

VMware continues to back and sell mostly proprietary software and products, but its broader engagement of open source also highlights how nearly all vendors in today’s market are, at least to some extent, users or purveyors of open source software. We’ve also seen examples of how the vendors that resist open source are likely to find themselves isolated from vibrant communities if they stick to a closed technology approach.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Microsoft hearts Linux, just not Red Hat

Just when you thought it couldn’t top itself — having contributed Linux kernel code under the GPL, broadly supported Linux alongside Windows with its systems management and other software, and spun off a new subsidiary dedicated to openness, Microsoft showed yet more Linux and open source love recently, adding an impressive Linux lineup to supported software on its Azure cloud.

However, there’s one major Linux player that’s sort of getting left out of the love-fest. It’s enterprise Linux leader Red Hat and its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which has to sit by while other distributions, including RHEL community clone CentOS and market competitors SUSE and Ubuntu, get first-class treatment in Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Future of open source survey highlights progress, changes, challenges

451 Research was pleased to collaborate on the Future of Open Source Survey 2012 with North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software. This year’s survey garnered 740 responses from a variety of vendors and non-vendors in the industry. Overall, the survey highlighted some subtle and sometimes dramatic changes in what is driving open source software. It also made clear that while there is still a good degree of education and awareness yet to occur around open source software, there is a large amount of open source code making its way into today’s enterprise, webscale, consumer and other computing environments.

Some of the key findings:

*The survey reinforced the prominence and influence of open source software in the enterprise and in key trends driving it, as we and others have highlighted for some time with reports such as Seeding the Clouds and Mobility Matters. When asked which technology areas would see the most significant open source software community innovation from, respondents ranked ‘cloud’ highest at 40%, then ‘mobile apps’ (19%) and ‘mobile enterprise’ (15%) for a combined 34%, then ‘analytics’ with 10%. These areas are indicative of where we see open source software projects, communities, vendors and consortia continuing to broaden use of open source software.

*The survey asked what are the top barriers to selecting open source software when compared with proprietary alternatives, resulting in unfamiliarity (48%), lack of internal technical skills (47%), lack of vendor support (35%) and legal concerns about licensing (33%) as the top answers. Although this indicates there is still some trepidation and lack of awareness around open source and commercial options for support, other survey responses indicate open source software is still spreading to new industries and customer categories. When asked about the most important trend for open source software over the next two to three years, respondents identified the top choices as: adoption in non-technical segments such as government or healthcare (42%); enterprise adoption (40%) and growth in industry-specific communities (10%).

*The survey also showed there is a heavy volume of new, meaningful code coming out of open source software’s many communities. When asked what share of their deployed code they anticipate will be open source software over the next five years, about one third of survey respondents (32%) reported open source had already reached major deployment at 75% or more of their code. Another one third of respondents (30%) said open source will make up half to 75% or more of its deployed code. About a quarter of respondents (23%) indicated open source would make up 25-50% of their deployed code over the next five years, while 15% of respondents said the open source share of deployed code would be a quarter or less.

*We also saw a high rate of open source participation from the survey. When asked about community engagement with open source and their preferred method, 49% of respondents said consuming code, 36% said reporting patches or fixes, 31% said contributing new features, 28% said initiating new projects, 25% said contributing through partners or industry alliances. We believe this shows a high rate of open source participation beyond using code, which is also a meaningful contribution. This also indicates a greater willingness to get involved with open source projects and to start new projects.

*The survey also highlighted the changing drivers of open source software in the enterprise. When asked what are the top factors that make open source software attractive, respondents identified freedom from vendor lock-in (60%), lower acquisition and maintenance cost (51%), better quality (43%) and access to source code (42%) as the top answers. While we had seen vendor lock-in fade as a factor and cost as paramount two or three years ago, today vendor lock-in has become much more of a factor for customers. We believe this has to do wtih cloud computing and customers’ desire to maintain flexibility as they figure out how to best leverage cloud resources. The survey also showed that cost, which we also equate to time and efficiency, is always a strong factor, with 62% of respondents identifying reduced cost of development and maintenance as the main reason they use open source or initiate projects.

*The survey also reinforced our belief that while open source software lays the groundwork and underlies much of cloud computing, the cloud is also giving back to open source by providing vendors a way to differentiate free downloads from paid, cloud-based services. In fact, it seems support and services subscriptions are a much higher priority for open source software vendors than so-called ‘open core’ models that provide software for free and certain extensions, features or support as paid. When asked which revenue generation strategies are likely to create the most value for open source vendors over the next two years, respondents ranked an annual, repeatable support and service agreement as the top answer (52%). Other open source revenue models, such as ad-hoc services and support (41%), value-add subscription (40%), hosted or cloud software services (38%) all ranked higher than a closed-source license or open core model (12%).

For our full analysis on the results of the 2012 Future of Open Source Survey, see our Spotlight report. The results were also presented this week on a panel at the Open Source Business Conference and that presentation is available at the Open Source Delivers blog.

Reading between the lines of the Linux contributor list

The recently released Who Writes Linux kernel contributor list reveals that some of the usual supporters of Linux — Red Hat, SUSE, IBM, Intel, Oracle — remain firmly behind the open source OS.

There has also been a lot of attention on the other contributors, which now include Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT). What I find most fascinating about the Linux contributor list — beyond the increasing rate of code change with some 10,000 patches from 1,000 developers representing 200 companies in each quarterly kernel release — are the contributors that show some new direction and potential for Linux, in this case the processor players.

Whenever the Linux contributor report comes out, there is also typically some focus on those that use the Linux kernel code but do not necessarily appear among its list of core contributors.

One of the most frequent names to come up in this regard is Canonical, backer of the popular Ubuntu distribution.

Read the full article at LinuxInsider.

Open APIs: The Fifth Pillar of Modern IT Openness

Last year, I wrote about the key pillars of openness in today’s enterprise IT industry, highlighting open source software, real open standards, open clouds, and open data as the ‘Four Pillars of Modern IT Openness.’

More recently, I wrote about what I now consider to be the fifth pillar, which is open application programming interfaces (APIs). Of course, when we talk about ‘open’ anything — open source, open standards, open clouds, open APIs — there tends to be debate about what is really open, how we should define open and who should or should not be able to carry the phrase. My focus on open APIs and on APIs in general generated some good discussion, as well as some pushback, regarding the value of APIs compared to open source software, which APIs are open, and how open is open enough?

I want to make clear I am not saying open APIs are better than open source. The real point is that the activity, development and innovation happening around APIs — particularly as cloud computing and hybrid public-private use continues to evolve — is reminiscent of the way open source software began disrupting the industry some two decades ago.

The other point is that while customers are typically interested in open source software for flexibility, cost savings, mitigating vendor lock-in, performance, ROI or other reasons, my conversations with both vendors and customers indicate much of the integration in the cloud centers on the openness of the APIs. When customers have stable, documented APIs, it is often more conducive and effective to work there, rather than on the source code. If code, development and deployment are disrupted by closed, changing, weak or undocumented APIs, then developers, customers and the market are likely to quickly move on to other APIs, perhaps ‘open APIs’ that are well documented and include examples. Similar to the other pillars of modern IT openness — open source software, open standards, open clouds and open data, open APIs are most effective and efficient when combined with the others.

Let’s not let open APIs become another version of ‘open standards’ that were anything but 10 years ago. Instead, we should seek to use and call out truly open APIs, which would typically mean connection to open source software, open standards, open clouds and open data as well. However, we must also be aware of the threat, competition and pressure from APIs such as Amazon’s EC2 and AWS interfaces, which are not open source nor open standards, but nonetheless may be open enough for a majority of developers and market.

Open source moving in mobile

We got another reminder of how disruptive open source software is to mobile computing this week, when Linux and Android merged back together. This appears to be good news for a number of parties, but Android and Linux developers and users seem particularly likely to benefit. The inclusion of Android code in the Linux kernel and the ability for Linux developers to more easily work on the Android environment and applications also ties into some of the key topics we’ll be covering in a Webcast March 21 titled ‘Open Source, A Tale of Two Cities in the Mobile Enterprise,’ presented by 451 Research and Black Duck Software.

This webcast, as the title implies, will focus on how open source can present both challenges and opportunities as enterprises adapt to market changes and mobile devices. This includes the fact that open source software frameworks, pieces and development are all enabling new applications to be quickly developed and deployed. However, this presents tremendous pressure on enterprise IT teams already dealing with disruption and change from cloud computing and the trend of ‘devops,’ which blends application development with IT operations and application deployment. The Webcast will cover how open source software is mixing with devops and other trends, such as the consumerization of IT and BYOD, to both disrupt and develop the mobile enterprise. We will also highlight some key open source software technologies in the mobile space and highlight some observed best practices for both vendors and customers.

Open Source Coopetition Fueled by LF Growth

The Linux Foundation has come a long way since initiated in 2007 as the fusion of the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) and Free Standards Group. At its start, I wondered why there was no membership or representation from Canonical, which was the hottest thing in Linux at the time.

Today, Canonical is a member of the Linux Foundation and the
organization continues to grow in its core of system software and Linux as well as in mobile devices and, more recently, the automotive industry — among my predictions for Linux strength in 2012.

The Linux Foundation has also gained some significant members and new groups of collaborators — the latest batch including graphics and microprocessor giant Nvidia.

Read the full story at LinuxInsider.

Open APIs are the new open source

We’ve seen the rise of open source software in the enterprise and also beyond the IT industry, but the real keys to openness and its advantages in today’s technology world — where efficient use of cloud computing and supporting services are paramount — exist in open application programming interfaces, or APIs.

Open source software continues to be a critical part of software development, systems administration, IT operations and more, but much of the action in leveraging modern cloud computing and services-based infrastructures centers on APIs. Open APIs are the new open source.

Read the full story at LinuxInsider.