Lev­er­ag­ing open source

CRN - - EDIT OPINION - DHAVAL VALIA E-mail CRN Ex­ec­u­tive Edi­tor Dhaval Valia at dhaval.valia@ubm.com

Open source soft­ware and IT ser­vices mar­ket cur­rently con­sti­tute 8 per­cent of IT ser­vices spends glob­ally, and this amounts to a to­tal of $70 bil­lion. In In­dia, this mar­ket is more than $600 mil­lion.

De­spite huge op­por­tu­nity, very few part­ners are fo­cused on open source so­lu­tions and ser­vices. Many part­ners blame this on lack of avail­abil­ity of open source skills, lack of li­cens­ing rev­enue stream and dif­fi­culty in con­vinc­ing cus­tomers about de­ploy­ing open source so­lu­tions.

While all the above rea­sons are true, in my analy­ses, the rea­son be­hind part­ners not em­brac­ing open source lies else­where. The prob­lem is that we are used to sell­ing ven­dor so­lu­tions. Part­ners feel that a ven­dor brand is more pow­er­ful and hence are more con­fi­dent sell­ing brands. The sec­ond chal­lenge is the per­cep­tion that cus­tomers will not pay for ser­vices and hence, the open source model will not yield any sub­stan­tial rev­enues.

How­ever, to­day the world is mov­ing to­ward open source and part­ners will have to even­tu­ally em­brace it in some form or the other. More than ever be­fore sev­eral open source ini­tia­tives like OpenS­tack for cloud com­put­ing, Hadoop for big data an­a­lyt­ics, and OpenFlow for soft­ware-de­fined net­work­ing are in­creas­ingly find­ing strong sup­port from a wide ar­ray of ven­dors.

The NoSQL open source ini­tia­tive is also gain­ing ground as it is con­sid­ered a su­pe­rior data­base tech­nol­ogy over the tra­di­tional pro­pri­etary ones. It pro­vides a mech­a­nism for stor­age and data re­trieval that is mod­eled on means other than the tab­u­lar re­la­tions used in re­la­tional data­bases. Re­cently, Flip­kart moved to Mon­goDB for its user en­gage­ment plat­form, while com­peti­tor Snapdeal chose Aerospike, an­other NoSQL plat­form, to speed up its prod­uct cat­a­log.

Many an­a­lysts be­lieve that emerg­ing do­mains like cloud com­put­ing, soft­ware-de­fined net­work­ing and soft­ware-de­fined stor­age, and big data and an­a­lyt­ics will in­crease the adop­tion of open source. Al­ready some of the largest clouds to­day are built on open source.

Go­ing for­ward, hav­ing open source skills will be im­per­a­tive for part­ners. For part­ners to evolve an open source prac­tice they will need to come out of the com­fort zones of the ven­dor brands. Many open source prac­ti­tion­ers opine that to em­brace open source the man­age­ment of a part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tion needs ser­vice-cen­tric mind­set.

One good way to ef­fect a mind­set change could be by us­ing open source in­fra­struc­ture and ap­pli­ca­tions like ERP and CRM within the part­ner’s in­ter­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion.

In the cur­rent edi­tion, we high­light spe­cific op­por­tu­ni­ties for part­ners in the open source do­main. We also talk about how few part­ners have built a suc­cess­ful open source prac­tice.

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