When it announced last week that all of its cloud services and software would be based on open-cloud architecture, IBM took another step in its embrace of open-source as the best approach to cloud.
The move isn't surprising. IBM has been a member of the OpenStack Foundation since 2012 as a Platinum sponsor, and has contributed to the code base. In its most recent open-source news, IBM took the wraps off a private cloud solution based on OpenStack software that "significantly speeds and simplifies managing an enterprise-grade cloud," the company said.
As a result, companies can use open-source-based technologies to create enterprise-class cloud services for hybrid cloud environments. As Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of software at IBM, said in a statement:
History has shown that open source and standards are hugely beneficial to end customers and are a major catalyst for innovation. Just as standards and open source revolutionized the web and Linux, they will also have a tremendous impact on cloud computing.The winner here will be customers who will not find themselves locked into any one vendor -- but be free to choose the best platform based on the best set of capabilities that meet that needs.
I'd say the biggest winners will be the entire open-cloud movement, especially when IBM's approximately 5,000 private cloud customers move to this OpenStack-based architecture, according to CloudPro. This allows IBM another format to vie against Amazon Web Services (AWS), longtime open-source developers like Red Hat, and vendors like Hewlett-Packard that have also adopted open-source for cloud. With so much movement in open-source, it's apparent this approach has benefits.
One obvious plus is the lack of vendor lock-in, the ability to easily move from product to product without concern about interoperability. Companies can port workloads to and from any OpenStack public, private, or hybrid cloud, regardless of the sources of their moving parts. Organizations continue to have freedom of choice, avoiding mainframe-like lock-in. At a time when IT professionals are often hard to recruit and retain, relying on open-source expands a company's pool of potential job candidates, according to the Open Cloud Manifesto. By avoiding the need for proprietary programming, organizations also reduce training costs.
Cloud itself is typically viewed as speeding deployment and adding flexibility. Open-source further enhances these capabilities by giving IT departments and service providers access to a broad spectrum of vendors and technologies, all of which work together and share standards. For example, in marketing its enterprise open-cloud computing architecture, contractor and integrator General Dynamics highlights that flexibility and speed, stating its solution empowers "rapid insertion and fielding of new technologies and capabilities, allowing customers to build a cloud framework for their immediate mission requirements and easily evolve it to meet future needs."
Some proponents view open-source as more secure than proprietary cloud -- although, unsurprisingly, not everyone agrees. With so many great technologists working on the same goal, open-source has to be stronger than proprietary systems that have a limited number of security experts at work on the problem, advocates say. On the flip side, skeptics point to the very nature of open-source and the fact that information on the associated technologies is widely available to everyone -- including hackers and criminals.
Given all the headline-making breaches recently, the ability to quickly update insecurities and to engender a global community of bright, motivated IT pros working on a common goal, I'll bank on open-source for cloud. How about you?
This is a very interesting approach for them and a clear indicator that OSS is here to stay but given the recent buddy up of IBM with sugarCRM to compete with salesforce and now this I am very curious to know why IBM is taking this route. Any one have any ideas on IBM's plans for embracing OSS on a wider scale?
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