451 Research Hadoop survey is now live

If you’re using or considering using Hadoop, please help shape our understanding of global Hadoop usage by taking our 2013 Hadoop survey, which can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/451Hadoop

The aim of this survey is to identify trends in Hadoop usage, as well as attitudes to Hadoop as it relates to data warehousing.

There are a minimum of 15 questions to answer, and a maximum of 24 (including three optional questions) depending on your organisation’s level of adoption, and the entire survey should take no longer than fifteen minutes to complete.

Some of the specific aspects covered by the survey are:

  • Current and planned Hadoop usage
  • Responsibility for managing Hadoop clusters
  • Preferred infrastructure for Hadoop deployments
  • Hadoop and the data warehouse
  • Potential Hadoop improvements
  • Hadoop-as-a-Service
  • Hadoop hardware
  • Alternative file systems
  • SQL-on/in-Hadoop

All individual responses are of course confidential. The results will be published as part of a major research report due during Q4 which will include market sizing estimates for the analytic database sector, as well as Hadoop. The full report will be available to 451 Research clients, while the results of the survey will also be made freely available.

Thank you in advance for your participation.


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.

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.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2012.06.22

Topics for this podcast:

*Sauce Labs grows with fast Selenium application testing
*MySQL, NoSQL, NewSQL survey results and analysis
*Microsoft’s Linux love leaves out Red Hat
*Hadoop roundup with Cloudera, Hortonworks and VMware
*2012 Future of Open Source Survey highlights

iTunes or direct download (28:28, 5.1MB)

MySQL vs. NoSQL and NewSQL – survey results

Back in January we launched a survey of database users to explore the competitive dynamic between MySQL, NoSQL and NewSQL databases, and to to discover if MySQL usage is really declining – as had been indicated by the results of a prior survey.

The publication of the associated report took longer than expected, mostly because we expanded its scope to include revenue and growth estimates for the MySQL ecosystem, NoSQL and NewSQL sectors respectively, and with that report now published I am pleased to fulfil our promise to share the survey results.

We seem to be having some random embedding issues so for now the results can be found on SlideShare, adapted from the presentation given at OSBC earlier this week. For greater context, we have also included an explanation of each slide, below:

Slide 2: Provides an overview of the associated report – MySQL vs NoSQL and NewSQL 2011:2015, which is available here.

Slide 3: Explains why we launched the report. We once described as the crown jewel of the open source database world, since its focus on Web-based applications, its lightweight architecture and fast-read capabilities, and its brand differentiated it from all of the established database vendors and made for a potentially complementary acquisition. Today, the competitive situation is very different.

Slide 4: Oracle’s MySQL business faces competition from the rest of the MySQL ecosystem, as illustrated in Slide 5, many of which have emerged following Oracle’s acquisition of Sun/MySQL.

Slide 6: The emergence of these alternatives was triggered, in part, by concern about the future of MySQL. A previous 451 survey,conducted in November 2009, showed that there was real concern about the acquisition, with only 17% of MySQL users believing Oracle should be allowed to acquire MySQL.

Slide 7: The 2009 survey also showed that while 82.1% of respondents were already using MySQL, that figure was expected to drop to 72.3% by 2014. That survey was conducted amid a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt regarding the future of MySQL, and one of the drivers for our current report was to see if that predicted decline occurred.

Slide 8: To put this in context, we asked the current survey sample (which included 205 database users) about their reaction to the acquisition. While the vast majority of MySQL users reported that they continued to use MySQL where appropriate, 5% indicated that they were more inclined to use MySQL, and 26% said they were less inclined to use MySQL. Not surprisingly the proportion of users less inclined to use MySQL was much higher amongst those abandoning MySQL than those sticking with MySQL.

Slide 9: We also asked respondents to rate Oracle’s ownership of MySQL on a range of very good to very bad. Overall, the balance tipped in favour of a negative perception of Oracle’s track record, while there was naturally a more negative perception of Oracle amongst those abandoning MySQL compared to MySQL mainstays. However, the results showed that the percentage of respondents rating the company’s performance ‘very good’ and ‘very bad’ was actually quite similar for both abandoners and mainstays. While those abandoning MySQL are more likely to have a negative perception of Oracle, it is not necessarily safe to assume that Oracle’s actions and strategy are the cause of the abandonment. Clearly there are other competitive forces at work.

Slide 10: Not least the emergence of NoSQL, as illustrated in Slide 11, and NewSQL, as illustrated in Slide 12.

Slide 13: Based on some very high profile examples of projects migrating from MySQL to NoSQL, there is a common assumption that NoSQL and NewSQL pose a direct, immediate threat to MySQL. We believe the competitive dynamic is more complex.

Slide 14: While 49% of those survey respondents abandoning MySQL planned on retaining or adopting NoSQL databases, only 12.7% said they had actually deployed NoSQL databases as a *direct replacement* for MySQL.

Slide 15: In comparison, there is much greater overlap between NewSQL and MySQL, but of a complementary nature. 33% of respondents retaining MySQL had considered, tested or deployed NewSQL database technologies, while approximately 75% of the NewSQL revenue for 2011 is from vendors that we also consider part of the MySQL ecosystem.

Slide 16: The results of our 2012 survey show that MySQL is currently the most popular database amongst our survey sample, used by 80.5% of respondents today.

Slide 17: However, it’s popularity is again expected to decline to 2014 and 2017. This indicates an accelerated decline in the use of MySQL, compared the findings of our 2009 survey. While that survey was conducted amid a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt regarding the future of MySQL we are not aware of any specific reason why the 2012 sample, which was self-selecting, should have a disproportionately negative attitude to MySQL or Oracle.

Slide 18: MySQL’s predicted decline of 26.4 percentage points between 2012 and 2017 compares to a predicted decline of just 9.3 percentage points for Microsoft SQL Server, and only 5.9 percentage points for Oracle Database. In comparison, MariaDB, Apache Cassandra and Apache CouchDB are expected to increase in usage by 3.0 percentage points or greater between 2011 and 2017.

Slide 19: Although alternative MySQL distributions including MariaDB, Drizzle and Percona Server are expected to see increased adoption over the next five years, they are not growing at the same rate that MySQL is declining.

Slide 20: So where are those abandoning MySQL going to? Looking specifically at the 55 MySQL users who expect to abandon it by 2017 (which is admittedly a small sample, and therefore not to be considered statistically relevant) we see that PostgreSQL is the most popular database being retained or adopted over the same period, followed by Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MongoDB, and MariaDB.

Slide 21: This only tells part of the story, however. Just because a company is retaining Oracle Database, for example, does not necessarily mean that Oracle Database is being used as a replacement for the abandoned MySQL. We therefore also specifically asked survey respondents which databases they had considered, tested or deployed as a direct replacement for MySQL. The response from the 55 respondents planning to abandon MySQL again saw PostgreSQL, MariaDB and MongoDB as the most popular answers, followed by Apache CouchDB and Apache HBase.

Slide 22: While NoSQL database were well-represented in this list, we saw that anyone considering NoSQL considered multiple NoSQL databases. Per respondent, NoSQL databases were the least considered of all alternatives by existing MySQL users.

Slide 23: The survey results suggest that MongoDB is the most often considered, tested or deployed as a replacement or complement for MySQL, followed by Apache CouchDB, Apache HBase, Apache Cassandra/DataStax, and Redis.

Slide 24: NewSQL technologies that improve the scalability and performance of MySQL scored well, with eight of the top 10 most considered NewSQL technologies being directly complementing MySQL. Of the other two, one (Drizzle) is a derivative of MySQL, and the other (Clustrix) can also be used in a complementary manner as part of a MySQL cluster, although in the long-term is positioned as a direct alternative.

Slide 25: MariaDB is the member of the MySQL ecosystem most often considered, tested or deployed as a replacement or complement for MySQL, followed by Continuent Tungsten, Percona Server, MySQL Cluster, and Amazon RDS.

Slide 26: More than half of all MySQL users had considered, tested or deployed another relational database as a direct replacement, while over 40% had considered, tested or deployed a caching technology to complement MySQL. The memcached caching technology was the most widely-deployed of all the technologies we asked about, followed closely by PostgreSQL, which supported anecdotal evidence that a number of MySQL users are migrating to the other major open source transactional database.

Slide 27: For the record, the survey had 205 respondents. Primary job roles among respondents included: director/manager of IT infrastructure (18.0%); architect/engineer (17.6%); developer/programmer (15.6%); database/systems administrator (14.6%); consultant (14.1%); VP level or above (13.7%); analyst (3.4%); and line-of-business manager (2.9%).

Further survey analysis and perspective on the competitive dynamic between MySQL, NoSQL and NewSQL is available in the MySQL vs NoSQL and NewSQL report, which also includes market sizing and growth predictions for the three segments.

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.

Is MySQL usage really declining?

If you’re a MySQL user, tell us about your adoption plans by taking our current survey.

Back in late 2009, at the height of the concern about Oracle’s imminent acquisition of Sun Microsystems and MySQL, 451 Research conducted a survey of open source software users to assess their database usage and attitudes towards Oracle.

The results provided an interesting snapshot of the potential implications of the acquisition and the concerns of MySQL users and even, so I am told, became part of the European Commission’s hearing into the proposed acquisition (used by both sides, apparently, which says something about both our independence and the malleability of data).

One of the most interesting aspects concerned the apparently imminent decline in the usage of MySQL. Of the 285 MySQL users in our 2009 survey, only 90.2% still expected to be using it two years later, and only 81.8% in 2014.

Other non-MySQL users expected to adopt the open source database after 2009, but the overall prediction was decline. While 82.1% of our sample of 347 open source users were using MySQL in 2009, only 78.7% expected to be using it in 2011, declining to 72.3% in 2014.

This represented an interesting snapshot of sentiment towards MySQL, but the result also had to be taken with a pinch of salt given the significant level of concern regarding MySQL future at the time the survey was conducted.

The survey also showed that only 17% of MySQL users thought that Oracle should be allowed to keep MySQL, while 14% of MySQL users were less likely to use MySQL if Oracle completed the acquisition.

That is why we are asking similar questions again, in our recently launched MySQL/NoSQL/NewSQL survey.

More than two years later Oracle has demonstrated that it did not have nefarious plans for MySQL. While its stewardship has not been without controversial moments, Oracle has also invested in the MySQL development process and improved the performance of the core product significantly. There are undoubtedly users that have turned away from MySQL because of Oracle but we also hear of others that have adopted the open source database specifically because of Oracle’s backing.

That is why we are now asking MySQL users to again tell us about their database usage, as well as attitudes to MySQL following its acquisition by Oracle. Since the database landscape has changed considerably late 2009, we are now also asking about NoSQL and NewSQL adoption plans.

Is MySQL usage really in decline, or was the dip suggested by our 2009 survey the result of a frenzy of uncertainty and doubt given the imminent acquisition. Will our current survey confirm or contradict that result? If you’re a MySQL user, tell us about your adoption plans by taking our current survey.

451 Research MySQL/NoSQL/NewSQL survey

I’ve just launched a new survey that should be of interest if you are currently using or actively considering MySQL or any of the NoSQL or NewSQL offerings

The aim of the survey is threefold:

– identify trends in database usage over time
– explore changing attitudes to MySQL following its acquisition by Oracle
– examine the competitive dynamic between MySQL and other database technologies, including NoSQL and NewSQL

There are just 12 questions to answer, spread over four pages, and the entire survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete.

All individual responses are of course confidential. The results will be published as part of a major research report due at the end of Q1. Thanks in advance for your participation.

The survey can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MySQLNoSQLNewSQL

2012 to be year of Linux domination

Previously, I’ve called out years for non-desktop Linux in 2008, Linux in both the low and high-ends of the market in 2009, ‘hidden’ Linux in 2010 and last year, cloud computing in 2011. For 2012, I see continued growth, prevalence, innovation and impact from Linux, thus leading to a 2012 that is dominated by Linux.

I expect to see nothing but continued strength for Linux and open source in cloud computing in 2012. The cloud continues to be the biggest disruptor and opportunity for Linux providers. 2012 got off to an interesting start with Microsoft’s efforts to support for Linux on Azure, which highlights just how pervasive Linux has become in cloud computing. As detail in our special report on The Changing Linux Landscape, we also expect Linux to continue to be the basis for most offerings in IaaS and particularly PaaS, which is burgeoning across open source languages and frameworks as well as verticals and enterprise customers. Its popularity among enterprise and other developers will also bolster Linux and open source software in 2012.

We can certainly expect to see Linux continue its domination in supercomputing and the Top 500 Supercomputer List, where Linux continues to grow its share above 90% while others, such as Microsoft, Apple and BSD, fall off of the list.

I also expect Linux will grow its presence and impact on the wider, more mainstream server market, where Red Hat and SUSE continue to benefit from Unix migration, particularly from Solaris. Our analysis with survey data from 451 Research division TheInfoPro shows server spending for databases and data warehousing favoring Red Hat with Linux over Oracle with either Linux or Solaris. Out of more than 165 server professionals interviewed by TIP, 67% are planning to spend more with Red Hat on database/data-warehousing, and only 6% plan to spend less. The positive figures for Red Hat mirror negative spending intentions for Oracle, with 55% planning to spend less and only 9% planning to spend more. Spending continues to decline strongly for all of the primary Unix providers in the study, which in addition to Oracle includes IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

We may also see further expansion for Red Hat, which may be eyeing key acquisitions, and other Linux and open source vendors as they continue building their channels and wade more into midmarket and SMB customers.

In smartphones and mobile software, I also expect Linux will do quite well in 2012 with continued Android strength, diminished FUD and possibly an open source boost from a newly-open sourced WebOS. We also see Ubuntu arriving on the mobile and converged device scene, including ‘concept’ appearance at CES.

We’re also likely to see Linux in automobiles, health care and other electronics even more in 2012, though you may never hear Linux or open source. Don’t be fooled though, Linux is expanding its already impressive, wide presence and 2012 looks to be another year of significant gains.

Ada Initiative highlights challenge to get more women in open source

The lack of women involved in open source has unfortunately long been a weakness for open source software and its many, varied communities around the globe. In fact, we found out recently just how significant the problem is, with troubling figures as reported by Valerie Aurora with the Ada Initiative that indicate significantly lower representation of women in open source (2%) compared to the overall IT industry (20%).

Though there are some signs of improvement, with apparent growth in awareness of the issue and thus a more respectful environment, there is still obviously a long way to go before open source can live up to its ideals of transparency, collaboration and openness.

There is also some belief that female participation in open source software and other development and IT work is underestimated by handles, nicknames and identities that might appear male to avoid any sexism. In addition, there is also the fact that while open source software communities are typically true meritocracies, the initial experience for the new developer can be a harsh one, regardless of gender. Still, it is somewhat shameful the representation of women in open source is typically less than what we see in proprietary software and, as alluded to earlier, the rest of IT.

Aurora wisely argues we need more women in open source so that we have more women in startups. We also see other sub-communities of IT and software, such as the new Women Innovate Mobile effort, that similarly aim to involve more women. Given the longstanding nature of this issue, it is disappointing to see open source software and its communities left behind by mobile, other parts of IT and other industries that are more effectively incorporating women and expanding their reach.

The Ada Initiative, named for the first computer programmer who was also a woman, Ada Lovelace, is a nonprofit organization formed to grow female participation in open source software, Wikipedia and open technology in general. In addition to awareness and education, consulting, workshops and other services, the initiative is primarily focused on teaching women skills to help them succeed in open technology and its culture and how men can help. The group is currently raising support as it seeks to boost awareness and help build an open source software world where women are not only more prevalent, but are also more welcome, encouraged and respected for their work, their code and their talents. In order for open source software communities, projects, products and commercial plays to succeed and reach their full potential, the greater open source community and its supporters should be finding ways to incorporate women, wherever they can contribute and improve the effort.

Need open source policy? Ask the DoD.

It’s coming up on a couple of years since I wrote about the reasonable approach toward open source software adoption put forth by the U.S. Department of Defense, which was ready and willing to use open source, but was not requiring a less-realistic all-open source or only-open source approach.

Today, we see that measured consideration of open source and its adoption has served the DoD well, given it just published a guide (PDF) regarding its experience with policy and adoption of open source software. This provides a valuable lesson to enterprise organizations considering use of, participation, increased adoption of open source software. Based on our findings that more than 60% of open source users and customers have no policies or guidelines for contributing to open source software (November 2009 survey of 1,711 open source users and customers), it is also needed.

Some highlights from the guide, titled ‘Open Technology Deployment – Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Military Software,’ which was nicely released under the open source Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License, include:

*The guide begins with a nice explanation of ‘off-the-shelf’ software, a common phrase for commercial software purchased/procured by governments, as well as explaining open source software.
*It also walks through some of the fundamentals of open source that are often overlooked or lowered in priority in favor of cost, flexibility or other advantages of open source. This includes intellectual property rights, reuse, governance, forking and licensing.
*In addition to some more technical, government-related infrastructure needs and demands, the guide does a wonderful job covering some of the more aesthetic components of open source software development and community management, including the need to be inclusive, avoiding private conversations, practice of conspicuous code review, awareness and communication of roles and dealing with rude or poisonous members of communities. One key phrase in the report that sums up the wisdom here: ‘Community first, technology second.’
*Interestingly, the guide touches on practices associated with ‘devops,’ – the confluence of application development and application deployment via IT operations. In particular, it focuses on continuous development and delivery, more rapid development and release cycles, testing, transitioning to operations and maintenance. This is another indicator of how significant open source software can be to devops, and also of how pervasive the trend is becoming.
*Finally, the guide cuts through some FUD that may persist in some circles and verticals, including the public sector, regarding open source software, indicating nearly all open source software is backed commercially and available as Commercial-off the shelf (COTS), an important classification for government adoption. The guide also differentiates open source from freeware and shareware, which are often limited both perceptually and legally in government use.

The DoD guide — which similar to its memo on open source a year and a half ago represents a pragmatic, realistic approach to adopting and using open source software — is also another indicator of the drivers, advantages and challenges of open source software, which have typically been about cost, flexibility and avoiding vendor lock-in. We are tracking changes in those drivers, advantages and challenges as well with our take on the recent Future of Open Source Survey.

It’s encouraging to see this happening with the DoD and government, which has long had procurement, procedure and policy that was typically mismatched for open source software. The situation has now changed with vendors providing more support, certification, listings and adjustment to government adoption and use. Governments, led by organizations such as the DoD, are also adapting their way of doing things so that open source, cost savings, collaboration, avoiding vendor lock-in and all of the other benefits of open source are things they too can leverage.

My coverage of the first DoD memo on open source software in October 2009 also included the idea that this policy was taking shape amid more official, above-board adoption of open source software by both governments and enterprises. This means that rather than sneaking into organizations through developers, administrators, teams and divisions — largely under the door and through the cracks — open source software is now being adopted as part of official procurement and use. This trend, which we see continuing, also means a larger opportunity for paid support, services, components and other products from vendors focused on open source software.

Community Linux love from Microsoft

One of big stories out of the Open Source Business Conference this week was Microsoft’s announced support for the CentOS community Linux distribution, a free clone of RHEL that nonetheless enjoys significant enterprise and cloud computing use, as we’ve covered extensively, including a special report that is currently being updated, in part, with a new survey.

This is not the first time MS has displayed love for unpaid, community Linux, given its 2009 contribution of GPL-licensed code to the Linux kernel. This was significant in that it was contribution and participation by Microsoft in the Linux kernel, beyond one of its partner’s Linux distributions, such as the case of Novell and SUSE Linux and more recently, Red Hat and its RHEL for mutual, customer-demanded virtualization support (451 subscribers) between Microsoft and Red Hat.

It seems Microsoft understands that unlike pirated Windows, which it considers a loss, the use of free, unpaid Linux — particularly by large enterprise, government and other organizations — is a big opportunity for it.

True, use of community Linux is typically driven by cost savings and the capability of sizable organizations to self-manage their Linux servers, often involving no payment. However, our research indicates there is often is still a need for higher level support and, more commonly, the ‘insurance factor’ of having a commercial vendor behind your infrastructure software so you, or your boss or board, have someone to call or blame if things go wrong. Microsoft is capable of supporting CentOS in both cases of technical support and being the insurance for an organization. It will be interesting to see the kind of reaction and traction the company gets from customers, presumably Windows shops, running CentOS.

It was only a couple of years ago we were writing about the death, and ongoing life of CentOS.

Today, it continues to be one of the most fascinating open source software projects in that it has no formal commercial backer, not even a foundation, but yet benefits from a solid, dedicated development team that continues to push the OS forward. We, along with Microsoft, continue to hear about use of CentOS increasingly in cloud computing, where it can be used, often free of charge, to add, subtract, scale and scrap as needed. It is, like other Linux distributions, also popular among hosting and other service providers, who again are primarily building public, private and hybrid cloud environments and ecosystems.

This is why again it is very interesting to see Microsoft supporting CentOS with HyperV and Windows. It’s not the first vendor to do so, as server giant HP has supported CentOS, Debian and other community distros to some extent in its server and support offerings. Microsoft’s CentOS support is certainly another example of how the landscape and market for various Linux distributions and operating systems in general is currently undergoing disruption.

Another cloud deal points to changes, openness

I recently wrote about big changes afoot in the Linux market, the topic of a current special report I’m writing. We’ve seen significant changes in the Linux landscape and market in the past 10-15 years — including its enterprise fight and victory over SCO, its rise to dominance in HPC and, more recently, the faster, broader Linux kernel development that continues to remain strong. However, no change has been as significant as cloud computing.

As we’ve previously discussed, Linux and open source software serve as critical building blocks of cloud computing, from the perspective of both providers and users, and open source is also influencing the discussions of cloud computing among its communities. Conversely, cloud computing is also having a significant impact on open source software, specifically Linux in the case of my current research.

Another important thing to track as we consider the changing Linux landscape are partnerships and integrations. Just as we indicated the collaboration between Red Hat and Eucalyptus Systems signaled some of these changes, a similar, recent partnership between Red Hat and Nimbula continues the trend. This is also interesting because so-called ‘cloud operating systems’ that are among the disruptors to the Linux market include both Eucalyptus Systems and Nimbula. Another one in the mix is OpenStack, which again reinforces the importance of open source in the clouds and also bolsters the idea that cloud computing in general will emerge with openness.

The reason I see this, beyond the power of customer need and demand for it, is based on what we’ve seen from vendors, technologies and trends in the past. Just as cross-OS, cross-hypervisor support have become expectations for customers and delivered by vendors, we will likely see the same cross-platform support in cloud computing, with different clouds supported by different vendors to offer customers more flexibility and choice.

I’m still seeking input on the matter, so I also encourage readers to take a very quick survey on OS and cloud computing use.

The future of open source is on its way

As an industry analyst, I am always looking toward the future — mostly based on conversations and experiences with open source vendors and, increasingly, customers and end users. Still, to get the most accurate prediction and picture of the future, it is essential to check these ideas, theories, trends and with a larger pool of open source software providers, consumers and pundits. Thus, we’re encouraging anyone who has an interest or stake in enterprise open source software to offer their input via the just-released, fifth annual Future of Open Source Survey. The 451 Group is pleased to have been more closely involved in the survey this year along with North Bridge Venture Partners and Computerworld.

In looking at the past of open source, the last couple of years have been highlighted by the impact of economic conditions, which according to both previous FOOS surveys and our own survey have been a key driver of broader enterprise use of open source.

However, economic conditions and open source software continue to change. While we saw cost savings and flexibility driving open source software when we surveyed more than 1,700 open source users and customers, we have no doubt that other factors — particularly performance and innovation, are emerging as more significant drivers.

We look forward to analyzing and presenting the results of this year’s survey at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco in May. In the meantime, we encourage those in and around enterprise open source to have their voice heard by taking the survey.

Judgment day for open source at Oracle

There are signals of continued problems and dysfunction — namely lack of support, organization and communication — in the OpenSolaris community. This follows on a deterioration of the OS leadership and support since Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, including the elimination of OpenSolaris CDs, one of the things that made the open source version of Solaris more like Linux.

We had speculated on the fate of Sun open source software under Oracle and while we acknowledged Oracle’s participation in, contribution and commitment to and opportunity from open source software, we questioned its appreciation of open source software communities beyond code and customers. It appears the OpenSolaris community and thus the OS itself, which we believe is key to advancing development of the more popular, proprietary cousin Solaris — are not a priority for Oracle.

The same cannot be said for all open source from Sun, and there’s a lot of it, now at Oracle. Amid the struggles of the OpenSolaris community, one of the other open source keystones from Sun, MySQL, seems to be doing well, despite persisting claims Oracle purchased Sun and MySQL simply to keep it from competing with Oracle database products. According to a Jaspersoft survey of customers/developers, there is a lack of awareness or concern of Oracle’s involvement in MySQL (59 percent were not aware Oracle reorganized and established a separate MySQL business unit apart from Oracle’s traditional RDBMS business …). Another 43% of Jaspersoft’s respondents said MySQL development and innovation would improve under Oracle.

The Jaspersoft survey found even more love for Java under Oracle, with 80 percent of respondents indicating they believe the Java process will improve or stay the same under Oracle. The related GlassFish application server also appears to be healthy with both community and commercial versions recently released.

The OpenOffice community appears also to be continuing forward supported and unfettered by Oracle (perhaps because it was typically fettered by Sun?), but it may also me failing to fully seize the opportunity.

It has also been interesting to see how Sun’s cloud computing technology has helped give Oracle new love for the term and the market.

There are a number of key open source projects and pieces from Sun, those listed above as well as many others, that may be on the line right now (or may have already been branded ‘stay’ or ‘stop’). We will be watching to see how Sun’s open source continues to shine or to set at Oracle.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.04.30

Topics for this podcast:

*Latest in enterprise Linux releases and developments
*Squiz combining open source WCM roots with enterprise search
*Open source attitudes, approaches differ by region
*NoSQL, White House.gov demonstrate open source contribution

iTunes or direct download (31:01, 8.7MB)

Free 451 Group report on regional differences in attitudes to open source adoption

Given The 451 Group’s presence in the UK, the CAOS (Commercial Adoption of Open Source) service is often asked to compare differing attitudes to open source adoption in Europe and North America.

The recent survey of 1,700 open source software users, conducted as part of our recent CAOS report Climate Change: User Perspectives on the Impact of Economic Conditions on Open Source Adoption, provided us with an opportunity to generate some quantitative evidence to support our qualitative research.

In addition to our overall assessment of global attitudes to open source, we have also recently published a complementary report comparing the responses received from North America, Europe, Asia and South America. The report is available here for 451 Group clients, while non-clients can also register to receive a complimentary copy here.

As a taster, here are some of the key findings:

– Cost savings are a more important driver for open source adoption in North America than Asia, South America, and especially Europe, where cost savings are significantly less important drivers of adoption.

– In comparison, more Europeans cited increased flexibility as a primary driver than respondents from other areas, while respondents from Asia were much more concerned about vendor lock-in than respondents from Europe and North and South America.

– Respondents from Asia listed lower cost as their most popular benefit while respondents from South America, Europe and North America cited increased flexibility.

– Respondents in South America seem to be gaining the least from reduced vendor lock-in.

– North American respondents were less likely to have policies for the adoption of open source than respondents in South America, Asia and Europe.

– Similarly, North American companies are the least likely to track the deployment of open source software, and also the least likely to track the use of open source software in development projects.

– Meanwhile North and South American companies are both behind when it comes to having policies for contributing to open source projects.

– More than 50% of Asian respondents declared themselves more likely to adopt open source software this year in light of economic conditions, followed by North Americans, South Americans and Europeans (less than 40%).

The report provides the statistics that back-up the above statements, as well as our conclusions and recommendations for open source-related vendors based on our findings.

Clients can access the report here, while non-clients can also register to receive it as a free download here.

451 Webinar – Cost savings and customer views of open source

UPDATE: The webinar is now available here.

We are pleased to present a new CAOS webinar next week on the cost and other benefits of open source software based on our research and analysis, including our survey of more than 1,700 open source software customers and end users. The report, Climate Change – User Perspectives on the Impact of Economic Conditions on Open Source Adoption, covers these user perceptions on the benefits of open source, both before and after adoption.

In our webinar on the topic — to be presented Tuesday, January 26 at 10am PST/1pm EST/6pm UK — we’ll go over our survey results, which indicate cost savings, flexibility and freedom from vendor lock-in are the biggest drivers for open source. We’ll also compare our recent results to a similar survey from 2006. Of course, we’ll offer some insight into our analysis of the survey and our conversations with vendors, investors, customers and others about what is driving open source.

With cost savings leading the way, the report also provides practical guidance on calculating the potential and real cost savings from open source software, including a calculator. The Webinar will similarly provide some insight into the calculation of cost savings and how such equations and analysis can be dramatically different for open source.

Those interested may register for the webinar here. If your software is not supported, please send an email request for slides and dial in for the audio portion of the webinar.

Seasons Greetings from 451 Group & CAOS

Seasons Greetings from The 451 Group and the Commercial Adoption of Open Source (CAOS) team. As the year draws to a close and we prepare to start a New Year, we wanted to highlight some of our recent work and the best of 2009.

For 451 Group subscribers, we encourage you to check out our 2009 review and 2010 preview for open source software in the enterprise. Additional 451 Group reviews and previews are also available for subscribers.

We would also highlight our latest CAOS special report: Climate Change – User Perspectives on the Impact of Economic Conditions on Open Source Adoption. The report considers our survey of open source software customers and end users and indicates cost savings, as well as flexibility, continue to drive open source in the enterprise. Commercial open source is, meanwhile, meeting cost-savings expectations for nearly all of its users, according to our survey.

Subscribers and non-subscribers should also check out the most popular CAOS Theory blog posts of 2009, and it may also be a good time to catch up on CAOS Theory podcasts.

We look forward to more open source and more CAOS in the New Year and wish everyone a safe and Happy Holidays!

Open source means cost savings

We’ve just published our latest CAOS special report, ‘Climate Change -User perspectives on the impact of economic conditions on open source software adoption.’ The report is based on our recent survey findings among more than 1,700 open source software customers and users, and also offers guidance on calculating cost savings from open source software.

Those open source software customers and end users, which range from large enterprises to SMBs in a variety of industries and geographies, provided further reinforcement to the idea that difficult economic conditions can be good for open source software and its vendors. While we began examining this trend as it began at the end of last year, our November 2009 survey provided confirmation from customers that economic conditions are indeed driving many of their decisions in favor of open source software. When asked whether the current economic climate had impacted their companies’ attitude toward open source, 46.5% said they were more inclined to open source. Another 47.7% reported no change in attitude from the economy, but only 2.5% were less likely to adopt open source given current conditions. Another 3.4% were less likely to adopt any software because of the current economic climate (proprietary or open source).

What also stands out from the survey is the fact that open source software seems to be living up to its reputation as a cost-savings mechanism, meeting or exceeding cost savings expectations almost 90% of the time. Fewer than 5% of our respondents reported that open source software did not meet their cost-savings expectations.

While cost remains the key benefit for organizations deciding on open source software, flexibility emerges as the primary benefit after open source software has been adopted, according to our survey. Cost remains a key benefit, of course, but we also see other factors, such as reliability, performance and speed cited by survey respondents. Vendor lock-in, or avoiding it, is also a perceived benefit of open source software, but this is apparently becoming less important to customers, particularly after adoption.

The report delves more deeply into these and other trends, including both how customers and end users view the benefits of open source software, and how to effectively calculate potential cost savings from open source.

The full Climate Change report, including detailed analysis of the survey results and advice on cost analysis for open source software, is available now. Meanwhile a free version containing only the survey results is also available for download (registration required).