When Open Source started getting traction in the enterprise world, we saw business models emerge on top of the Open Source philosophical platform. One of the most successful business models is the so called Redhat model where the software is released under an Open Source license and monetization is done by offering support for a fee. This model worked reasonably well in the traditional software world and, in a way, broke the monopoly like status enjoyed by some companies.
When we moved over from the traditional software world to Cloud Computing, thought leaders and pundits were busy dismissing the idea of Open Source within the Cloud Computing paradigm. On one hand, Tim O’ Reilly has been arguing about the irrelevance of Open Source licenses in a SaaS based world and, instead, emphasizing on issues like federation, open architecture, data portability, etc.. On the other side, Richard Stallman is busy spreading FUD about Cloud Computing by claiming that it is an attempt by vendors to lock-in users into their service. I have been a strong advocate of the importance of Open Source in the Cloud based world. I have written about it in this space and also in other forums. In fact, the main aim of this Open Source and Cloud Computing Series is to highlight this importance.
We saw the Redhat model taking off in the Clouds with the launch of Cloudera, a company that offers commercial software for Hadoop. Cloudera helps enterprises take advantage of Hadoop’s ability to handle complex and large datasets. They offer an optimized version of Hadoop that can be implemented in enterprise datacenters using the Cloudera configurator. It can also be easily deployed on Amazon ecosystem.
I have already discussed about Eucalyptus project incubated at the Computer Science department of University of California, Santa Barbara and they also presented in the UtR event last week. Yesterday, they transitioned from an academic research project to a commercial company. They launched Eucalyptus Systems with a Series A funding from Benchmark Capital. The Eucalyptus Platform will continue to remain under Open Source BSD license but they will monetize it by offering commercial support for the software. Their target market has two types of customers. The primary target will be enterprises who are still not convinced about the public clouds but want to take advantage of the Cloud like architecture within the confines of their datacenter. The other target will be companies that want to build a Cloud fabric on top of public cloud instances like Amazon EC2. You can find information about the services they offer in this page.
As an evangelist of both Open Source and Cloud Computing, I am excited about companies like Cloudera and Eucalyptus Systems. I am expecting more such players entering the marketplace in the future. Enterprises are embracing Cloud Computing and the road to Enterprise Cloud adoption runs through the Open Source ecosystem.