The editorial theme for this issue of the OSBR is Cloud Services. The articles in this issue help to clarify the meaning and value of the cloud, dispel myths around cloud services, and demonstrate the role open source can play as enterprises transition to the cloud computing model.
As always, we encourage readers to share articles of interest with their colleagues, and to provide their comments either online or directly to the authors.
The editorial theme for the upcoming May issue of the OSBR is Communications Enablement and the guest editor will be Chris McPhee. Submissions are due by April 20--contact the Editor if you are interested in a submission.
Cloud computing may be the biggest game changer within the enterprise since the adoption of the Internet in the 1990s and the personal computer in the 1980s. The economic climate, coupled with the rate at which technology is changing, is forcing companies to reduce information technology (IT) expenditures, increase productivity, and build more collaborative solutions as opposed to building everything internally. Cloud computing allows companies to outsource functions that are not core to their business or have become a commodity. Much of the technology driving cloud computing services is open source software. The LAMP stack has become widely adopted as the standard engine running much of the cloud services. With the exception of Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, most cloud service providers have embraced open source software, allowing them to drive costs down while providing reliable services for their customers.
Pay-as-you-go is the new economic model for IT as we enter a new decade. Gone will be the days of making large purchases of commercial software with huge maintenance costs. In this new world, enterprises will consume only the services they need, only when they need them, and will pay for the resources required to scale up and down as necessary. This paradigm shift should force IT executives to focus more on building business functionality and less on managing and maintaining infrastructure and commodity applications. Open source software will play a huge role in making the shift to cloud computing economically feasible. At the same time, commercial software companies are racing to the cloud and are struggling to replace their expensive software licensing models with a pay-as-you-go model in order to make them an attractive alternative to open source software in the cloud. It should be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years. The articles that follow provide insights into what cloud computing is and how it is changing the IT landscape.
David Linthicum is the CTO of Bick Group, an author, and thought leader on cloud computing. Dave's article starts with a discussion on the causes of the shift to cloud computing. He then clarifies the meaning of the broad term of cloud computing by identifying its key characteristics, different deployment models, and various components. Dave finishes with an important discussion on the value and economics of the cloud.
Fred Waldner is an independent consultant and a Certified Professional Project Manager. His article discusses how the shift to cloud computing mirrors the same challenges that we witnessed with the shift to enterprise adoption of the Internet in the 1990s. He identifies some of the adoption obstacles that must be overcome.
Daniel Crenna is an award winning developer, author, and active entrepreneur. Daniel articulates the value of open source in hosted solutions as companies adopt cloud computing. He examines the reasons for using established open source software or give away their proprietary code as the seeds of new open source projects.
Ronald Schmelzer is a Managing Partner at ZapThink LLC. His article addresses the debate about private clouds. There are many companies that are afraid of deploying critical applications and/or data in a public cloud environment. Instead, many are contemplating building their own internal cloud which goes against much of the value proposition of cloud computing and keeps their dependency on expensive commercial software. Ron argues that the concept of private clouds is a marketing term used by vendors rebranding their products.
Tom Lounibos, CEO for SOASTA, discusses how the pay-as-you-go cloud computing model allows SOASTA to simulate performance tests with loads that were simply not feasible in the on-premise world. Low cost, on-demand cloud computing services allow companies to deploy more reliable and scalable solutions because they can now afford to test peak loads and fix bottlenecks before they happen in the production environment.
John Crupi is CTO and Chris Warner is Vice President of Marketing at JackBe Corporation. Previous articles discuss how the lower levels of the stack are becoming a commodity and that IT's focus should be on business functionality. John and Chris provide some examples of how organizations are leveraging mashups to aggregate data from various locations into composite applications.