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.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2012.04.20

Topics for this podcast:

*OpenStack, Amazon, Eucalyptus and Citrix engage in open cloud warfare
*Microsoft spins off new company for openness
*Updates on automation players Puppet Labs and Opscode with Chef
*Percona turns attention to MySQL high availability
*Open APIs as the fifth pillar of modern IT openness

iTunes or direct download (28:42, 4.9MB)

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 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.

451 CAOS Links 2011.11.18

Rapid7 secures new funding. Microsoft drops Dryad. And more.

# Rapid7 secured $50m in series C funding.

# Microsoft confirmed that it is ditching its Dryad project in favour of Apache Hadoop.

# Arun Murthy provided more details of Apache Hadop 0.23.

# The Google Plugin for Eclipse and GWT Designer projects are now fully open source.

# openSUSE released version 12.1.

# Amazon released the source code of the Kindle Fire.

# Black Duck Software joined the GENIVI Alliance.

# dotCloud announced the availability of the top three databases MySQL, MongoDB and Redis on its PaaS.

451 CAOS Links 2011.09.27

Riak goes 1.0. Jaspersoft targets mobile. R on Hadoop. And more.

# Basho Technologies announced the impending release of Riak 1.0.

# Jaspersoft focused on mobile business intelligence with the release of Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite 4.2.

# Revolution Analytics and Cloudera partnered on RevoConnectR for Apache Hadoop.

# Amazon removed the ‘beta’ tag fro Amazon Linux AMI.

# Terracotta launched version Terracotta 3.6, adding Automatic Resource Control to its in-memory cache.

# Lucid Imagination announced the launch of LucidWorks LucidWorks Platform 2.0.

# Gluster announced a partnership with services company CSS Corp.

# OSS Watch published its licence differentiator, a tool to help users select an open source software license.

# Glyn Moody described what can be learned from the Apache Way.

# PHYAURA launched the open source community edition of PHYAURA EHR electronic health record platform.

451 CAOS Links 2011.05.27

Open Ocean raises $60m for OSS investments. Citrix mounts Olympus. And more.

# Venture capital firm Open Ocean Capital closed its Fund Three with $60m to invest in European start-ups deploying community and open source-related business models.

# Citrix Systems announced “Project Olympus,” a new cloud infrastructure product based on the OpenStack project.

# The Document Foundation provided an update on its progress and plans

# OpenLogic’s Exchange (OLEX) SaaS offering comprehensive governance and provisioning of open source software, now enables collaboration across the enterprise and the software supply chain.

# Acunu announced the public beta of its Acunu Storage Platform, based on Apache Cassandra, and released the Acunu Storage Core as open source software.

# The Apache Software Foundation announced Apache Libcloud as a top-level project.

# The FSFE provided an update on the continuing European court battles related to Microsoft’s violation of EU antitrust law.

# Kitenga announced the general availability of ZettaVox, its Hadoop-based search and analytics offering.

# BonitaSoft released version 5.5 of its Bonita Open Solution open source business process management software.

# Meanwhile eXo and BonitaSoft tightened integration between their respective BPM and document management products.

# Univa partnered with Eucalyptus Systems to enable organizations to integrate Eucalyptus’ cloud management software with Grid Engine compute environments.

# Digium announced that Skype for Asterisk will no longer be available after July 26.

# The Free Software Foundation published a guide to choosing a license for your own work.

# SUSE is now offering commercial support for the newly renamed Open Build Service.

# Henrik Ingo offered his thoughts on balancing control and community in open source-related business strategies.

# Glyn Moody discussed whether Amazon should start to pay it open source dues.

451 CAOS Links 2011.05.06

Red Hat makes an OpenShift to PaaS. Oracle proposes to Eclipse Hudson. And more.

# Red Hat introduced OpenShift, a Platform-as-a-Service for developers, and launched CloudForms, a product for creating and managing Infrastructure-as-a-Service private and hybrid clouds.

# Red Hat also announced the launch of JBoss Enterprise Data Grid 6, expanded its relationship with Amazon, and announced that it is working together with IBM on KVM-based virtualization projects.

# Oracle announced its proposal to make Hudson a project of the Eclipse Foundation. Jenkins developers are unimpressed. The Eclipse Foundation’s Ian Skerrett rounded up some reaction and answered questions related to the announcement.

# The Apache Software Foundation was subpoenaed to produce documents related to Oracle vs Google. Meanwhile, Oracle’s claims against Google were reduced by the Judge from 132 to 3.

# Attachmate began laying off Novell employees, including Mono developers.

# Actuate’s BIRT licenses represented over half of Actuate license revenue in the first quarter.

# Liferay increased its revenue by 100% in the first quarter.

# Rapid7 increased its sales revenue by 73% in the first quarter.

# CloudBees added Sonar to its DEV@cloud service.

# Gluster announced the general availability of GlusterFS 3.2, as well as the availability of the Gluster Storage Software Appliance.

# Platform Computing launched RTM 8, based on Cacti.

# Arista expanded its EOS Linux-based network operating system.

Time for your cloud gut check

It may be hard for Amazon, any of its users, critics or competitors to find a silver-lining in the recent cloud outage that took major sites offline for significant periods over the last week (ok, the critics and competitors are getting plenty), but I see a real upside for all: this has been our latest cloud computing gut check.

Just as we have seen in the case of open source software forks, dissents and competition, these challenges all represent a form of open source discipline that keeps code, communities and vendors ‘honest’ in the sense they must respond to developer and user demands and must also steer a successful path both organizationally and commercially. So while there is no doubt pain and loss from the Amazon outage, it is also a reminder that what does not kill your cloud computing deployment will only make it stronger.

It’s true, the outage illustrates that users and providers are still figuring out cloud computing, and that there is still much learning to be done. It was interesting to see some companies actually sending out press releases regarding how well they and their teams were able to keep their cloud-based environments going through the outage. Indeed, as highlighted recently by our own Tier 1 analysts Jason Verge and Doug Toombs, a number of heavy Amazon cloud users were able to largely sustain the blow of the outage and keep their clouds aloft, including Neftlix and Zynga. We can probably assume this kind of thing could happen with a private cloud, and if we don’t, we should. Still, the point is that the differentiation of technology and the team to effectively leverage it emerged as a critical differentiator during the Amazon cloud outage.

I believe the technology, tasks, procedures and preparedness that are represented in the winners versus the losers in this centers on ‘devops,’ a term we refer to often that involves the crossing of development, operations and other professionals in modern IT environments that both leverage and provide cloud computing services. Discussion of devops often centers on efficient use of cloud computing resources by both providers and users. Even when we consider ‘no-ops’ or more accurately ‘auto-ops,’ — whereby systems and operations are abstracted for developers and users — there is a definite need for knowledge, skill, experience and process when confronting cloud crashes, particularly on the operations side. Devops also represents a more holistic view of software in its environment(s), which is critical to crisis management and recovery for both Amazon and its users. Certainly Amazon and its partners are working hard to restore all of their cloud services to full functionality, but it is very interesting and encouraging to see customers and users adding in their know-how and talent to offset down servers and avoid downtime. It makes it clear why a large organization such as Facebook would benefit from opening its own datacenters and practices.

From Amazon’s and other providers’ perspectives – the cloud stubbed toe of this week also highlights how communication and reaction are perhaps as critical as the technical aspects of addressing what’s wrong and fixing it. Open source software also provides lessons here, indicating vendors and providers are best served by transparency and openness. What the message boards and Twitterverse are telling us now is that users will accept some degree of downtime and difficulty, but they want straight information on how long and how severely they will be down. Just as vendors face a challenge in fairly yet effectively pricing and charging for cloud computing, it may be difficult to provide guidance on recovery from an outage, but the same rules of PR crisis management apply: don’t over-promise and don’t under-deliver.

So just like a fork, leadership crisis or large, proprietary competitor is supposed to wreck an open source project or vendor, the latest cloud crash will finally stifle this cloud hype, bluster and momentum, right? Not quite. I would argue that just like a good fork, feud or megavendor foray into open source software is actually a strengthening, disciplinary measure, the latest cloud coughing will serve as a necessary gut check on cloud computing, thus helping us avoid a cloud bubble.

Necessity is the mother of NoSQL

As we noted last week, necessity is one of the six key factors that are driving the adoption of alternative data management technologies identified in our latest long format report, NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond.

Necessity is particularly relevant when looking at the history of the NoSQL databases. While it is easy for the incumbent database vendor to dismiss the various NoSQL projects as development playthings, it is clear that the vast majority of NoSQL projects were developed by companies and individuals in response to the fact that the existing database products and vendors were not suitable to meet their requirements with regards to the other five factors: scalability, performance, relaxed consistency, agility and intricacy.

The genesis of much – although by no means all – of the momentum behind the NoSQL database movement can be attributed to two research papers: Google’s BigTable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data, presented at the Seventh Symposium on Operating System Design and Implementation, in November 2006, and Amazon’s Dynamo: Amazon’s Highly Available Key-Value Store, presented at the 21st ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, in October 2007.

The importance of these two projects is highlighted by The NoSQL Family Tree, a graphic representation of the relationships between (most of) the various major NoSQL projects:

Not only were the existing database products and vendors were not suitable to meet their requirements, but Google and Amazon, as well as the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, PowerSet and Zvents, could not rely on the incumbent vendors to develop anything suitable, given the vendors’ desire to protect their existing technologies and installed bases.

Werner Vogels, Amazon’s CTO, has explained that as far as Amazon was concerned, the database layer required to support the company’s various Web services was too critical to be trusted to anyone else – Amazon had to develop Dynamo itself.

Vogels also pointed out, however, that this situation is suboptimal. The fact that Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Amazon have had to develop and support their own database infrastructure is not a healthy sign. In a perfect world, they would all have better things to do than focus on developing and managing database platforms.

That explains why the companies have also all chosen to share their projects. Google and Amazon did so through the publication of research papers, which enabled the likes of Powerset, Facebook, Zvents and Linkedin to create their own implementations.

These implementations were then shared through the publication of source code, which has enabled the likes of Yahoo, Digg and Twitter to collaborate with each other and additional companies on their ongoing development.

Additionally, the NoSQL movement also boasts a significant number of developer-led projects initiated by individuals – in the tradition of open source – to scratch their own technology itches.

Examples include Apache CouchDB, originally created by the now-CTO of Couchbase, Damien Katz, to be an unstructured object store to support an RSS feed aggregator; and Redis, which was created by Salvatore Sanfilippo to support his real-time website analytics service.

We would also note that even some of the major vendor-led projects, such as Couchbase and 10gen, have been heavily influenced by non-vendor experience. 10gen was founded by former Doubleclick executives to create the software they felt was needed at the digital advertising firm, while online gaming firm Zynga was heavily involved in the development of the original Membase Server memcached-based key-value store (now Elastic Couchbase).

In this context it is interesting to note, therefore, that while the majority of NoSQL databases are open source, the NewSQL providers have largely chosen to avoid open source licensing, with VoltDB being the notable exception.

These NewSQL technologies are no less a child of necessity than NoSQL, although it is a vendor’s necessity to fill a gap in the market, rather than a user’s necessity to fill a gap in its own infrastructure. It will be intriguing to see whether the various other NewSQL vendors will turn to open source licensing in order to grow adoption and benefit from collaborative development.

NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond is available now from both the Information Management and Open Source practices (non-clients can apply for trial access). I will also be presenting the findings at the forthcoming Open Source Business Conference.

451 CAOS Links 2011.03.22

Paranoid Android. Canonical and Gnome. A new OSI. And more.

Paranoid Android
If you are interested in the potential violation of the GPL by the Android kernel you have probably already immersed yourself in the numerous blog posts published on the topic. If not, start with Sean Hogle’s analysis or Bradley M Kuhn’s overview of the original allegations and work backwards from there, not forgetting a detour for the obligatory Microsoft connection. Linus Torvalds said claim “seems totally bogus”. In the meantime, Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec for patent infringement by their Android devices.

On the relationship between Canonical and Gnome
Similarly, if you already have an interest in the relationship between Canonical and the Gnome community you will probably have already read the numerous posts written on the subject in the past week. If not Dave Neary’s Lessons Learned is a good place to start, while Mark Shuttelworth’s response is also worth a read, as is his earlier post. If you are *really* interested in the relationship between Canonical and Gnome, look no further than Jeff Waugh’s series of posts on the subject.

A new Open Source Initiative
The Open Source Initiative confirmed its new board appointments and announced plans to move to a representative model that will enable open source communities to become members.

…and relax
Couchbase announced the general availability of Couchbase Server, and the formation of the Couchbase board of advisers, while J Chris Anderson outlined the details of the new release.

Best of the rest
# The Centre for Technology Policy Research published a review of the UK government’s track record when it comes to open source and open standards-related policies.

# As the Drizzle fork of MySQL reached general availability Brian Aker outlined the drivers behind its development and the technical details.

# The Qt team responded to the reporting of the sale of the commercial Qt business from Nokia to Digia.

# JasperSoft reported 50% growth in year-over-year sales, and a 30% increase in average customer contract size.

# Revolution Analytics announced a partnership with IBM Netezza.

# Pentaho announced the worldwide general availability of Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition 3.8.

# Zenoss introduced Zenoss Datacenter Insight, providing analytics on physical, virtual, and cloud-based IT resources.

# 10gen released version 1.8 of its document database, including support for journaling and incremental MapReduce.

# Oracle released an update to MySQL Enterprise Edition, including integration with MyOracle support.

# Red Hat boasted of independent recognition of the strength of its patent portfolio, while it emerged that the company previously paid $4.2m to settle a patent infringement claim.

# Karmasphere and Canonical announced a partnership to support Karmasphere’s Hadoop-related products on Ubuntu.

# The Linux Foundation announced the formation of the MeeGo Smart TV Working Group.

# Amazon is launching an app store for Android applications.

# The results of the 2011 Eclipse board election.

# OpenERP launched its Apps library for open source business apps.

# The Eclipse Foundation launched the open beta of OrionHub.

# The Alembic Foundation was formed to create open source data sharing and management technologies for individuals.

# Juniper Networks joined the Eclipse Foundation.

# The 2011 Future of Open Source Survey, from North Bridge Venture Partners, The 451 Group and Computerworld is now live.

# Rhomobile launched RhoHub 3.0.

# Gluster joined the OpenStack community.

# Sirius launched 24×7 open source support

# eXo introduced eXo Platform 3.5 and launched eXo Cloud IDE.

# Cloud.com released a new version of CloudStack, its open source cloud computing platform.

# Media training will be available for developers at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit.

# InfoQ asked, What is the future of Apache Harmony?

# Richard Stallman said something mildly controversial about cell phones.

New Linux landscape emerging

Recent news that Linux vendor Red Hat is changing the way it releases code, described as ‘obfuscating’ or worse by some FOSS advocates, brings up an important discussion of complying not only wiith the letter of open source software licenses, norms and practices, but complying with the spirit of open source.

However, I’m going to leave that debate to others while I focus on another matter that is highlighted by Red Hat’s recent move: the changing enterprise Linux landscape. Red Hat’s move shows an intensifying competition in the Linux market, with Red Hat seeking to thwart or slow the copying and reselling of its code. It also highlights the change in positioning of Linux distributions, which are expanding beyond a couple of main distributions to a number of other possibilities, driven primarily by virtualization and cloud computing. Of course, there is also an impact from unpaid, community Linux distros, including CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu, as covered in our special report The Rise of Community Linux.

Indications are that the Linux market changes are continuing, with a greater impact from the unpaid community distributions, which are often ideal for stripping out or adding components for various virtualized and cloud computing deployments. Based on customer and vendor conversations, we also see Ubuntu as a much more important Linux distribution in the clouds, compared to the traditional enterprise server market. In fact, most polls and surveys indicate Ubuntu as the top Linux OS used for clouds, including our own. Finally, there is yet another Linux distribution that is not necessarily an ‘official’ Linux, but is certainly well-used in cloud computing: Amazon Linux. While the company does not promote its own Linux version, wide use of Amazon’s Linux AMI are, in effect, Amazon Linux. The same might be said for OpenStack, which is being described by Rackspace and other backers as a ‘cloud operating system.’

Given we have described 2011 as the year of Linux in the clouds, we will be watching closely to see how the market, the use of Linux and the various distributions and their backers continue to evolve. This will also be the focus of a new special report from The 451 Group that is coming soon.

451 CAOS Links 2010.10.12

IBM joins Oracle in OpenJDK harmony. A herd of Hadoop announcements. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca, and daily at Paper.li/caostheory
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

IBM joins Oracle in OpenJDK harmony.
IBM announced that it is joining Oracle’s OpenJDK project. Red Hat welcomed the move. Bob Sutor clarified that IBM is shifting its development effort from the Apache Project Harmony to OpenJDK. Mike Milinkovich sees IBM-Oracle collaboration over OpenJDK as good for the future of Java, while Stephen Colebourne sees it as meaning that Apache Harmony is effectively dead.

A herd of Hadoop announcements
# Cloudera and NTT DATA partnered to accelerate Hadoop adoption in Asia Pac.

# Cloudera updated its Cloudera Distribution for Hadoop version 3 beta release.

# Cloudera announced partnerships with Membase, Talend, and Pentaho.

# Pentaho announced the availability of Pentaho Data Integration for Hadoop and the Pentaho BI Suite for Hadoop and launched plans to integrate with Hadoop running on Amazon Web Services.

# Quest and Cloudera released OraOop connector for Oracle and Hadoop.

# Karmasphere released the Professional Edition of its Karmasphere Studio Hadoop development environment.

# Vertica updated its Connector for Hadoop and Pig.

The best of the rest
# NorthScale changed its name to Membase and launched its Membase Server distributed database.

# WSO2 introduced WSO2 Carbon Studio, an Eclipse-based IDE for WSO2 Carbon.

# Gluster announced the general availability of Gluster Storage Platform 3.1.

# Kaj Arno announced that he is joining SkySQL as VP of products.

# GroundWork Open Source introduced version 6.3 of its GroundWork Monitor product.

# Open-Xchange and eZuce partnered on open unified communications.

# VMware introduced Zimbra Desktop 2.0.

451 CAOS Links 2010.10.08

Patents! Patents! Patents! Canonical’s perfect 10. And more.

Follow 451 CAOS Links live @caostheory on Twitter and Identi.ca, and daily at Paper.li/caostheory
“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# Google responded to Oracle’s claims that its Android OS infringes copyrights and patents related to Java.

# Matt Asay evaluated the various patent claims against Android and its related devices.

# Microsoft licensed smartphone patents from ACCESS Co and a subsidiary of Acacia Research.

# Glyn Moody assessed what Microsoft’s patent claim against Motorola says about Microsoft.

# Canonical announced that Ubuntu 10.10 Server Edition andUbuntu 10.10 Desktop and Netbook Editions will be available for download on 10/10/10.

# Puppet Labs acquired The Marionette Collective.

# Acquia added support for memcached to its Acquia Hosting platform.

# Royal Pingdom provided an overview of the mobile Linux landscape.

# Opengear expanded its remote management of Avaya VoIP systems.

# MuleSoft announced the availability of Tcat Server 6 R4.

# ActiveState announced the availability of Komodo IDE 6.

# Rivet Logic launched the Confluence Alfresco Integration rivet which integrates Atlassian Confluence with Alfresco.

# What is the future of MapReduce and Hadoop in the light of Google’s Percolator and Caffeine?

# Lucid Imagination announced LucidWorks Enterprise built on Solr/Lucene.

# Twitter described its new Lucene-based search architecture.

# newScale, rPath and Eucalyptus named their private cloud coalition The NRE Alliance.

# Andy Updegrove reflected on the ways in which open source is stronger post-SCO than it was pre-SCO.

# Joe Harris provided an overview of the open source BI/DW landscape and offers suggestions for covert adoption.

# Roberto Galoppini published his notes from the OWF Open Source Analyst Summit.

# Evident Software’s ClearStone 4.5 now covers Apache Cassandra and Memcached.

# Mercury released OpenSAL, an open source scientific Algorithm Library for vector math acceleration.

# What does the sale of Ohloh.net mean for the future of Geeknet?

# Autonomic Resources added Continuent and EnterpriseDB to its GSA schedule roster.

# The VAR Guy’s sources said Microsoft Hyper-V will likely gain some integrations with OpenStack.

# OTRS launched an OnDemand version of its open source help desk and IT service management software.

# Digital Reasoning and Riptano partnered on Cassandra-based analytics.

# Outercurve added a fifth project to its ASP.NET Open Source Gallery.

# GoAhead Software shipped the general release of OpenSAFfire 6.0.

# Citrix updated XenServer with new storage optimization technology for VDI.

# Simon Phipps noted that there is a difference between forking and rehosting.

# Fonality updated its cloud-based, open source IP PBX software with the 2010.2 release.

# enStratus and Opscode partnered to provide enStratus customers with the Opscode Platform.

# Amazon introduced read replicas to its MySQL-based Amazon Relational Database Service.

Linux thunderstorm in the clouds

There’s a thunderous battle brewing in the enterprise IT market and it’s all about Linux. The battle brings new names to the fight as well, from the largest of cloud providers Oracle, Amazon and VMWare to smaller upstarts tuning Linux specifically for cloud computing and its users, such as the hoster and service provider-oriented CloudLinux.

As for Oracle and its introduction of Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, this has been causing a stir in enterprise Linux circles. However, I have to agree with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst that this latest Oracle move is quite reminiscent of when Oracle Unbreakable Linux, later known as Oracle Enterprise Linux, hit the market in 2006-2007. It was supposed to wipe out Red Hat, but it didn’t. I expect with plenty of Oracle shops in which to grow, Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel will manage to move ahead without much disruption to Red Hat’s growth, which based on its latest earnings call is healthy.

Oracle’s Solaris, on the other hand, continues to face an ongoing challenge of defection to Linux, whether Red Hat, Ubuntu, CentOS, SUSE or other OS including BSD. As we’ve covered on the CAOS blog, Oracle’s decision to kill off OpenSolaris may impact customers wary of the company’s growing presence throughout the software stack and now in hardware, too, leading many to finally make a decision on moving ahead with Solaris or moving to Linux. There’s also another option on the table now that we’ve seen the launch of OpenIndiana, a fork of OpenSolaris supported by the Illumos Foundation.

There’s another computing giant making noise around Linux: Amazon, which, similar to Oracle, is seeking to supplant use of and payment for Red Hat’s or other Linux distributions by making available its own Linux Amazon Machine Image (AMI) optimized for Amazon Web Services. There’s no question the presence and continued, increasing involvement from cloud players such as Amazon will impact what other vendors are offering and what customers are consuming in the cloud. This, and the announcement of OpenStack from Rackspace, are just the kinds of thing we can expect to see more of, as covered in our latest CAOS special report ‘Seeding the Clouds.’

It’s not just the largest of vendors that are getting in on the cloud computing action and traction for Linux. Another example is CloudLinux, a smaller vendor that aims its Linux, based on CentOS with added control panel and other features, squarely at service providers interested in cloud computing. Furthering its own efforts, CloudLinux recently announced continuing growth and an interesting deal with Ksplice to provide hosting service providers CloudLinux kernel updates without rebooting servers.

CloudLinux, as well as Canonical and its Ubuntu Linux, highlight the head start Red Hat, and to some extent its enterprise Linux counterpart Novell, have given other companies ready and willing to serve up Linux in the cloud. These vendors, many of which base their own offerings on CentOS, also highlight the ongoing presence of community Linux in cloud computing, a topic we’ve covered as well.

Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any crazier or more competitive, we haven’t even touched on the rumored, potential acquisition of Novell’s SUSE Linux by virtualization giant and cloud contender VMware, which has significant implications for the market. Sure VMware has been talking for years about how its software obfuscates the need for an OS, but hey, wasn’t it only a year ago when Oracle acted as if cloud computing didn’t exist? Turns out the clouds are for real, and it turns out Linux is more relevant than it ever has been. The real interesting thing is that in many ways, the competition is just getting started.

Open source in the clouds and in the debates

We continue to see more evidence of the themes we discuss in our latest CAOS special report, Seeding the Clouds, which examines the open source software used in cloud computing, the vendors backing open source, the cloud providers using it and the impact on the industry.

First, as usual, we are seeing consistencies between our own research — which indicates open source is a huge part of today’s cloud computing offerings from major providers like Amazon, Google, Rackspace, Terremark and VMware — and that of code analysis and management vendor Black Duck. In its analysis of code that runs the cloud, Black Duck also found a preponderance of open source pieces, in many cases the same projects we profile in our report.

Indeed, open source software is an important part of the infrastructure, data and application layers of today’s cloud computing stacks with significant use of Linux, open source hypervisors KVM and Xen, open source data technologies such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Hadoop, NoSQL and memcached and open source languages such as Java, PHP, Python and Ruby on Rails.

There will be plenty of users and customers content to use non-open source options that serve as the defacto standards, but we do see a move to higher-level, production and mission critical use, which represents continued commercial opportunity for open source and other vendors.

One of the more subtle effects of all this open source in the cloud, as covered in Seeding the Clouds, is the impact on discussions, debates and downright fights in the market. There is much scrutiny on claims of being open, technical aspects of open and what ‘open cloud’ means. A prime example is the Twisticuffs that have gone on between Simon Crosby of XenSource and Citrix, discussing OpenCloud and the response from Open Cloud Initiative co-founder Sam Johnston, who claims this is misuse of the open label.

We already saw open source playing a role in the discussions and debates about open clouds, open APIs and open data, and this latest confrontation is evidence that role continues to be significant. We still wonder though about the question of open enough as we contemplate openness in the clouds.

New 451 Group Special Report-Open Source Seeds the Clouds

There are a number of cloud computing events and announcements taking place — VMworld, a countering announcement from Citrix, and recent partnership among rPath, newScale and Eucalyptus Systems for private and hybrid clouds — that we believe are indicative of the significant role and impact open source software is having in cloud computing — a topic we cover in depth in a new 451 Group special report, Seeding the Clouds, which is a collaboration of our CAOS and CloudScape practices.

By considering the open source pieces and players that constitute much of the infrastructure and underpinnings of cloud services from major providers Amazon, Google, Rackspace, VMware and Terremark, we analyzed they key pieces prevalent across them all and also picked out patterns that we are seeing repeated in the broader cloud computing market. We also consider how these larger vendors are playing a role in the rise of open source pieces and commercial supporters, which are finding opportunity among several categories of customers, including enterprise and service provider cloud users.

For example, the recently announced OpenStack from Rackspace, NASA and host of other partners (covered on the CAOS Theory blog and in a 451 Group report, is something we anticipate we’ll see more of in the form of greater participation, opening of code and open source-centered initiatives. We also expect both response to these efforts and other initiatives that offer more open alternatives to existing, unofficial standards such as VMware and Amazon. One such example announced after the writing of the report is the initiative for self service private and hybrid clouds among rPath, newScale and Eucalyptus Systems with the systems integration heft of Momentum SI.

As stated, the response and competition is not limited to the open offerings, as we see a variety of large cloud and IT services providers understanding and appreciating the value of communities: Amazon, Oracle, VMware and even Microsoft, which as we discuss in the report is among other cloud providers in its use of and participation with the PHP community. Citrix is another example, and it’s evident the company believes openness in the cloud is a good thing based on its Citrix OpenCloud announcement and focus on ‘Open Cloud,’ (which also coincides with its acquisition of virtualization management vendor VMLogix).

We also expect VMware and others to continue to increase their involvement and strategy with open source software for cloud computing, and would highlight the prevalance of open source software now within VMware (SpringSource, Hyperic, Zimbra, for example) and its prominence at VMWorld this week.

While there will certainly be challenges, including the maturity, evolution and learning from open source we are seeing and expect more of from larger, non-open source competitors, we expect more open source code and commercial supporters in enterprise and service provider cloud markets for some time. For customers, the competition, not only between open source and proprietary vendors, but also within open source and in partnerships and collaborations, and presence of open source in the cloud mean additional options and value — another reason we expect open source to maintain its prominent place in the clouds.

451 CAOS Links 2010.08.13

Oracle sues Google. Novell bidders down to three. VMware for Alfresco? And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# Oracle filed a complaint against Google for patent and copyright infringement.

# Initial analysis of Oracle v Google from Andrew Savory, Miguel de Icaza, Brian Prentice and Carlo Daffara.

# The VAR Guy’s sources say VMware is mulling a partnership, investment or outright acquisition of Alfresco.

# The 451 Group’s Brenon Daly provided an update on the potential acquisition of Novell.

# Cloudera discussed common Hadoop administration issues, and how to avoid them.

# 10gen added to its engineering and sales teams and opened a Bay Area office.

# Novell announced that Amazon Web Services will offer support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

# The creators of SIPfoundry have cofounded eZuce to promote openUC open source communications software.

# DJ Walker-Morgan discussed the potential for an organic open source movement.

# The H reported that the GNOME Foundation has set out new rules for copyright assignment.

# Sendmail and Splunk introduced real-time monitoring and reporting into the Sentrion Message Processing Engine.

# MontaVista updated its Meld community for developers of embedded Linux devices.

# Simon Phipps declared “The [commercial open source] King Is Dead, Long Live The King”.

# The H reported that Canonical has explained the use of its new census package.

# Paula Rooney detailed the top challenges for Linux kernel team outlined at LinuxCon.

Licensing matters again in open source or not, virtualization and the cloud

Just when you thought open source and its licensing were getting a bit dull (okay, that will probably never happen) … Sure, the GPL is giving up some of its dominance. OEM, embedded, mobile and other expansion areas for open source are keeping open source licenses relevant, as are virtualization and cloud computing, and these are all areas where open source licenses such as the AGPLv3 hold both promise and burden, depending on who you ask. It’s clear open source licensing is heating up again as a topic and as we assess what is really open and what is really not.

Matt recently asked about Google’s recently announced WebM, whether it is open source and what this tells us about the open source license definition and approval process. WebM, a Web video format that is available for free, is intended as open and even open source, but it is not actually licensed under an OSI-approved open source license, thus making it fall short of the definition of open source.

We may see Google get that OSI approval. It’s certainly not out of the ordinary, and even Microsoft has successfully lobbied and certified some of its own licenses as open source. However, for the time being, WebM falls under the category of ‘not open source,’ and I believe reflects Google’s challenge of getting open enough. On the other hand, Google’s Android OS, which is also backed by a broad consortium of other software, hardware, wireless carrier and other players, is sometimes criticized or questioned on its openness, particularly amid its recent progress. The fact of the matter is the kernel and core of the OS is based on Linux and the OS itself is licensed under the Apache 2.0, one of the top open source licenses we discuss in our report, The Myth of Open Source License Proliferation and one we see gaining use and prominence.

‘Open enough’ is another topic we’ve discussed on the CAOS Theory blog before, but I believe we are seeing cases of non open source software, such as Amazon’s APIs for EC2 and its cloud computing services, being open and available enough in many regards. Yet the fact these are not open standards and not open source brings persisting concerns about what the future might hold. This also highlights how lock-in, which we saw fade to some extent as a factor driving open source, is becoming more significant again. Although there has been an evolving acceptance of some lock-in, particularly as the debate has moved to open data, many early and established cloud computing users are worried if they have a single source for their infrastructure and services (vendor and product shutdowns, consolidation and rigid roadmaps are among the legitimate customer fears). In response, many are looking to ‘alternative’ software pieces and stacks for their private and hybrid cloud computing endeavors, and this is frequently, if not mostly open source.

Back to the licensing matter, we’re also seeing some friction on software licensing from virtualization and cloud computing, where the wants and needs of suppliers and consumers do not necessarily align. In terms of open source, this dilemma shows how flexibility and leverage — either with the vendor or with the software itself given the ability to access source code and build on it or influence its development — can help set open source apart as users contemplate their licensing and deployment strategy. Still, there are also challenges that come with open source software licensing, such as requiring the sharing of code and modifications and limited use of the open source code in combination with other software and in other products.

All of this highlights the ongoing need and importance of the OSI and broader industry definition of open source and its licenses, particularly as open source continues to blur and blend with non-open source in mobile and other electronic devices, virtualization, cloud computing and elsewhere.

451 CAOS Links 2010.04.27

VMware and Salesforce.com launch VMforce. Red Hat provides Cloud Access. And more.

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“Tracking the open source news wires, so you don’t have to.”

# VMware and Salesforce.com launched VMforce, a platform for developing and deploying Java cloud applications.

# Red Hat Cloud Access enables enterprises to use their Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription on Amazon Web Services.

# Canonical announced Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition, Desktop Edition and ISV support.

# Novell claimed 5,000 certified applications for SUSE Linux Enterprise.

# Nokia released the first device based on the fully open source Symbian^3 OS.

# Canonical claimed 12,000 active deployments of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, prepares LTS release.

# The Ruby Association joined the Open Invention Network as a licensee.

# Nearly 20% of SMBs plan to begin using open source software in the next 12 months, according to CompTIA.

# Microsoft released its StyleCop source code style and consistency tool as open source, using the MS-PL.

# LinMin supports the provisioning and imaging of systems running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

# Puppet Labs launched Puppet Dashboard 1.0.

# Microsoft signed the Joomla! Contributor Agreement and contributed code to the 1.6 trunk.

# eWeek reported and Schooner declared that Gear6 is in liquidation.

# What was Microsoft doing at DrupalCon? Brian Swan answered his own question.

# The Apache Hadoop project was granted a license related to Google’s MapReduce patent.

# InformationWeek reported on the formation of Riptano , a support provider for the Apache Cassandra database project, while Jonathan Ellis explained his plans for the company.

# xTuple grew Q1 revenue by over 20%.

# CIGNEX Technologies Inc and AGS Technology Group merged to form CIGNEX Holding Corporation.

# Robert Hodges of Continuent shared his thoughts on the present state and potential future of MySQL.

# The final version of the Procurement and Open Source Software Guideline has been published on OSOR.eu.