How open source software drives innovation across industries (VB Live)


DataStax presented

It is increasingly clear that open source software (OSS) is a smart bet, and it is irrefutable that data is essential for accelerating growth. See how open source is helping businesses activate real-time data, use AI and machine learning to improve customer relationships, accelerate innovation, and more at this VB Live event.

Register here for free.

Over the past decade, open source software has completed the transition from a marginal technology, used by only a few organizations for non-critical work, to a common and widely used technology. It is the basis of almost all public clouds in use, and even the Microsoft Azure cloud uses a huge amount of open source software to deliver its services.

“Open source software has essentially become a mandatory part of the infrastructure stack, and frankly, it’s a vital part of the developer ecosystem,” says Al Gillen, group vice president, software development and open source at IDC. “The way the industry has evolved over the last decade, it’s pretty clear that open source software has become really essential to how we create products in the future. “

Accelerate innovation

A key frontier of open source projects is that companies work with competitors on projects that provide value for the industry as a whole, but do not impact the differentiation of companies in a competitive sense, explains. Gillen. These types of projects are increasingly common in the retail and financial services industry, as well as in the manufacturing industry. For example, some automakers are turning to open source software as a way to create access to some of the APIs available on their vehicles in an effort to encourage an ecosystem to build third-party apps.

Creating projects that have potential value to multiple parties also means that developers can combine the resources of a wide range of businesses, even those that compete with each other. For example, IBM could work with Hewlett-Packard on an open source software project because the end result of that project’s deliverable would benefit all businesses in the space.

“In terms of innovation, this means that these companies very often put some of their best technical talents into the conduct of a project,” explains Gillen. “Not necessarily because they want to help a competitor, but because they see the value the project brings to their own software stacks.”

Open source software can also encourage faster innovation since customers and suppliers can try before they buy, so to speak. For example, if a developer finds a particular technology intriguing, they can download and play it to see what it does and if it will meet their needs in some way. They might see real value in it and want to get involved in the project in order to continue to develop it. Or they might find that they can use this software as the basis for something new of their own, which can help them innovate faster.

“The open source software components provided establish a core functionality that benefits the entire ecosystem or the entire industry – the functionality of the core products,” says Gillen. “Customers or suppliers can build a product that is based on this open source software and deliver value to customers because it makes it more manageable, more scalable, or potentially easier to connect to other applications. “

Choose the right software

While open source software is often free, Gillen cautions that you get what you pay for. If you’re not paying anything, it probably has value, but doesn’t necessarily have all the attributes you might want. For example, you need to make sure that the risk assessment or safety compliance is applied to the project at the frequency that you need, that it has been strengthened or verified to scale or evolve as you need it. need, that it has been tested with the hardware or software combination you are working with, and so on. So it’s best to make sure you have some level of commercial support, says Gillen.

“We see the software supply chain becoming an attack vector for some of the hacks that have occurred over the past two years,” he says. “When you consume an open source component, do you really want to know if that software is safe? Are all the things that it depends on and attracts when you do a build, are all of those upstream things equally secure, also known to be safe? “

Another thing to worry about is the community itself, he says. The technology might be really compelling, but the question you need to ask yourself before committing to using this open source software technology is whether there is a strong, vibrant, and healthy community around it, and what? there is a governance model that makes sense for this particular project.

“If you can’t answer yes to these questions, maybe this is a technology you want to give up,” he explains. “When you commit to open source software, you are committing to the long term. You have to be absolutely certain that you are making the right decision, that the project is healthy, that it will live and continue to be viable for your needs.

Register here for free.

You will learn:

  • How and why key open source technologies should play a central role in your data strategy role
  • How to Leverage Cutting-Edge and Emerging Technologies to Advance Your Own Data Strategy
  • Best practices for aligning cultural and technical models of success to accelerate innovation


  • Al gillen, Group VP, Software Development and Open Source, IDC
  • Bryan kirschner, Vice-President Strategy, DataStax
  • Sarah novotny, Director of Open Source Strategy in the Azure Office of the CTO, Microsoft


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