Open source is now increasingly undergirding cloud computing
In the 25 years since Richard Stallman wrote the GNU General Public License, free and open source software (FOSS) have become pervasive in computing: Linux, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL and more can be found in large numbers of enterprises across the globe. And open source is now increasingly undergirding cloud computing as well.
“Open source is certainly at the foundation in terms of building out cloud technologies,” says Byran Che, senior director of product management at Red Hat and responsible for its cloud operations offerings, management software and Red Hat Enterprise MRG, (Red Hat’s Messaging, Real-time and Grid platform). “If you take a look at market share in the server space, as you look at traditional data centers, about 70 percent are running on the Windows platform and about 30 percent are running Linux. As you take a look at what operating systems people are choosing to build applications on in the cloud, the ratio flips completely.”
The reasoning is simple, Che says: With a fresh start, you get to build a whole new architecture from the ground up, and open source gives you the best value.
“You can’t get to the Amazon scale or the Google scale and pay the license fees,” he says.
Cost isn’t the only thing giving the open source model an edge in the cloud space. Che also points to the capability to create a community around a project and thus drive rapid innovation.
“That’s what open source is really good at,” he says. “Amazon, Google, Facebook, all the people building out all these cloud applications, infrastructure and services, they’re all doing it on open source. The fact that they’re using open source software is the only way they can innovate at the pace they need to. They can’t wait for their vendors to go through the development cycle.”
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