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.

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)

CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.12.16

Topics for this podcast:

*Hadoop roundup
-Cloudera Enterprise Hadoop update
-Hadapt combines Hadoop with db analytics
-Informatica grows its Hadoop work
*HP open sources WebOS
*The GPL fade
*Red Hat acquisition targets

iTunes or direct download (31:41, 5.4MB)

Linux-like, devops management moves to enterprise, Windows

Signs that the devops are coming — both in the form of new software engineers and system administrators that are working more closely together for collaboration and in new automation and agile technologies, many of them open source — continue to highlight the movement of continuous integration and continuous management of applications into more mainstream enterprise IT environments. Devops, which refers to the confluence of application development and deployment of applications via IT operations, is spreading beyond Web 2.0, technology and media organizations to some of the same key verticals that have been early adopters of open source software.

One of the most obvious signs that devops is moving to more mainstream enterprise IT — adding users in financial services, insurance, telecom and other key verticals — is the extension of open source server configuration and automation to Windows environments, which are typical alongside Linux in most enterprises. We’ve recently covered this extension in reports on CFEngine, Opscode and Puppet Labs, all of which report demand and traction in mixed Windows-nix environments and in more mainstream enterprises.

Our coverage of CFEngine (451 subscribers) highlights the Norwegian vendor’s latest paid release, CFEngine 3 Nova, features simplified configuration and management along with scalability and the ability to continuously monitor, update and facilitate system self-repair. Other highlights of the release include simplified compliance features and a new GUI dashboard for setting policy and monitoring system health, as well as the state of IT services and systems. As for the added Windows support, the CFEngine 3 Nova update includes new native support for Windows with more fine-grained management of Windows servers and desktops via Windows Registry, Windows Services and Access Control Lists.

We covered some similar extension to management of Windows environments in our recent report on Opscode with Chef (subscribers). Reporting more demand for private Chef, rather than hosted, particularly among large enterprise users with Windows resources and systems to manage, Opscode enhanced these capabilities with new Chef software and cookbooks. Features include deployment and automation of Windows PowerShell task framework, IIS Web server, SQL Server and Windows Services.

We also covered an update from another open source server configuration and automation player: Puppet Labs (subscribers). The company’s of Puppet Enterprise 2.0 was focused less on Windows support, which is nonetheless previewed in its latest software, and more on improving usability and serving orchestration and compliance needs of large enterprises.

All three of these open source software-centered vendors report the transition of devops practices and tools being implemented (sometimes under other monikers such as continuous integration, continuous application management, cloud application management, release management or other) by more mainstream enterprises in financial services, media and others in addition to tech and web-oriented companies you’d expect to be doing devops.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.10.28

Topics for this podcast:

*Opscode Chef extends to Windows for more enterprise devops
*Black Duck continues growth, gains new funding
*Cloudant expands NoSQL database focus, customers
*New open source Web server and vendor Nginx arrives
*The downside of Microsoft’s Android dollars

iTunes or direct download (27:35, 4.7MB)

451 CAOS Links 2011.10.25

Microsoft: “more than half your Android devices are belong to us”. And more

# Microsoft claimed that more than half of the world’s ODM industry for Android and Chrome devices is now under license to Microsoft’s patent portfolio following its agreement with Compal Electronics.

# Hadapt expanded its board of directors and confirmed its $9.5m series A funding round.

# Appcelerator entered into an agreement to acquire the Particle Code mobile gaming and HTML5 development platform.

# Jaspersoft and IBM are working together to combine InfoSphere BigInsights with Jaspersoft’s full BI suite.

# Karmasphere announced its new Hadoop Virtual Appliance for IBM InfoSphere BigInsights.

# Neo Technology launched Spring Data Neo4j 2.0.

# Opscode extended Chef, Hosted Chef and Private Chef to provide infrastructure automation in Windows environments.

# Sourcefire announced plans to support Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

# Percona added support for MySQL Cluster.

# Avere Systems partnered with Nexenta Systems to combine Avere’s FXT Series of appliances and Nexenta’s NexentaStor open source ZFS technology.

# The Qt project is now up and running.

# Zed A Shaw explained why he has licensed Lamson under the GPL.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.09.30

Topics for this podcast:

*Cloud M&A potential around OpenStack
*Oracle’s commercial extensions for MySQL
*Puppet Labs rolls out Enterprise 2.0, hosts PuppetConf
*Basho bolsters Riak distributed data store in NoSQL race
*Our latest special CAOS report, ‘The Changing Linux Landscape’

iTunes or direct download (25:59, 4.4MB)

PuppetConf and the state of devops

It’s been some time now that we’ve been talking about devops, the pushing together of application development and application deployment via IT operations, in the enterprise. To keep up to speed on the trend, 451 CAOS attended PuppetConf, a conference for the Puppet Labs community of IT administrators, developers and industry leaders around the open source Puppet server configuration and automation software. One thing that seems clear, given the talk about agile development and operations, cloud computing, business and culture, our definition of devops continues to be accurate.

Another consistent part of devops that also emerged at PuppetConf last week was the way it tends to introduce additional stakeholders beyond software developers and IT administrators. This might be the web or mobile folks, sales and CRM people, security professionals or others, but it is typically about applying business operations methodology to applications and IT, thus bringing in more of the business minds as well. The introduction of additional stakeholders was also a theme we heard from Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies in his keynote address. Kanies then discussed how the community was working to make Puppet the ‘language of operations,’ which it basically is along with competitors Chef from Opscode and CFEngine when it comes to devops implementations.

There was another interesting point on the PuppetConf stage from DTO Solutions co-founder and President Damon Edwards, who said devops should not be sold as a way to achieve cost savings, but rather as something that will bring return on investment (ROI). This is similar to the shift of open source software drivers we’ve seen in the enterprise, which are sometimes changing from cost savings and time to factors of performance, reliability and innovation.

Later in the conference during his keynote, Eucalyptus Systems CEO Marten Mickos also had some interesting observations concerning devops, which he described as managing the cloud from both sides. One of his points was that developers have the most to learn about operations. While I would agree to some extent, this statement is interesting when considered alongside my contention that most of the change in devops is happening on the IT administrator and operations side. Later in an interview, Mickos elaborated on his devops thinking, indicating the experts who orchestrate applications in cloud computing — both developers and admins — must understand the entire lifecycle and environment. Continuing our comparison of devops to open source, Mickos indicated the open source MySQL database that he helped usher into the enterprise was disrupting old technology, while devops is innovating new technology.

While it remains early days for devops in the case of many enterprise organizations, we continue to see and hear signs that devops practices, technologies, ideas and culture are making their way into more and more mainstream enterprise IT shops. While we expect devops practices to be implemented by many enterprises based on utility and need to leverage cloud computing, we see a higher level of awareness and engagement from leadership and executives than we did with open source software. This means we expect uptake of devops to happen more quickly and to generate more revenue and opportunity.

The rise, fall and reality of commercial open source

We’ve been writing ourselves about the move toward more permissive licensing in commercial open source, as well as a lessening of the use of ‘open source’ as an identifier or differentiator. We’ve also seen others comment on a perceived loss of significance and importance of free and open source software and open standards. Combine this all with some typical observation on the lack of contribution back to open source software projects, and it might appear that open source software is a once-mighty empire in the midst of decline. However, from my perspective it seems despite all of this, open source software has never before been as pervasive, disruptive and innovative as it is right now. While we have yet to reach open nirvana, open source software is playing a pivotal role in the two most significant software markets currently: cloud computing and mobile computing.

Much of the gloom and doom in open source software the last couple of years has centered on the evil that is ‘open core,’ yet I have been among those contending that open core and the mixing of open source and proprietary models is often something that customers want. In addition, rather than just a matter of converting much or all that open source community goodness to cold hard cash, I believe all of these trends and perspectives support the idea that open source software is actually gaining in significance. Whether it is viewed as an effective marketing mechanism may be another thing, but the fact that open source is prevalent in the two hottest categories of IT today: cloud computing and mobile devices.

We’ve written extensively about open source software’s prevelance in cloud computing. We’ve also covered how the many, critical open source pieces of cloud computing stacks, whether SaaS, IaaS or PaaS, are also having an impact on openness and discussions of it, something we also see when considering recent partnerships and a changing landscape for Linux and open source software.

We’ve also covered the significance and prevalence of open source software in mobile computing. At the same time, we recognized that while open source software was a key ingredient to most if not all mobile software platforms and application ecosystems, there was a lack of open source software reaching end products and users.

In both cases, there are reasons and incentives for ‘going closed,’ so to speak, but it is the true open source efforts that elicit true community benefits: collaboration, transparency, speed, flexibility, security and more. So while open source as a term or identifier may not be what matters most to vendors or customers, there is no question open source is key to the business and future of many, if not most vendors in cloud and mobile computing. Ask Puppet Labs or Chef sponsor Opscode whether open source matters to their customers and their business. Ask Google whether openness is something they consider as they move forward on Android and Chrome. Ask Rackspace whether open source is critical in its open source cloud computing stack, OpenStack. Ask HP whether it is meaningful that WebOS is open source. I have. It is. So the next time we hear about the surrender, retreat, fade or decline of open source software or its importance in today’s computing landscape, just remember that today’s key markets tell a different story.

451 CAOS Links 2011.06.14

Apache OpenOffice.org proposal approved. SkySQL Tekes new funding. And more.

# The proposal for OpenOffice.org to become an Apache incubator project was unanimously approved.

# Rob Weir discussed how the relationship between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice need not be a zero-sum game.

# Simon Phipps offered his thoughts on the potential positive and negative outcomes.

# Tekes, the main public funding agency for research, development, and innovation in Finland, awarded SkySQL a grant of €250,000 and a loan of over €600,000.

# Opscode announced the general availability of Opscode Hosted Chef, formerly the Opscode Platform, and launched the Private Chef appliance.

# Infobright launched version 4.0 of its open source analytic database.

# Glyn Moody questioned whether we still need the FSF, GNU and the GPL.

# Cenatic published its analysis of the criteria for adopting open source software in public administrations.

# Nuxeo and Hippo announced a technology alliance through which they have built an ECM/WCM connector based on the OASIS CMIS standard.

# The VAR Guy wondered whether Canonical’s Ubuntu focus is too diverse.

# Sandro Groganz discussed what US-based open source vendors need to know about Europe.

# The Xen code for Dom0 has been accepted into the Linux mainline kernel.

# Brian Proffitt covered the two faces of UK open source.

# The VAR Guy encouraged Adobe to engage more with open source.

# Matt Asay pondered Red Hat’s potential to challenge Oracle with a database of its own.