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Product Strategy

Back to Linux Open Source Solutions

Pierre Peutin
Pierre Peutin
Chief Data Officer and Accounting / Financial IT Systems Consultant

I went last week as a visitor (I was interested in seeing what was new) to two events in Paris: “Linux Open Source Solutions” and “Client Strategy”. Besides the conferences which I had the opportunity to attend, I was intrigued by the dominating position Cloud Computing had taken this year and by the presence of large vendors such as: Microsoft, Oracle or Bull who all had impressive stands. The open source solutions are really starting to take off!!During the trade show, walking down the aisles, I realized that behind open source solutions, there were a lot of people committed to the idea of free software (associations of developers and users, etc…) who are ready to share their experience. This community is really incredible first by its dynamism and its openness and seeing the presence of these young developers who are so enthusiastic, I think that open source has for the present a very bright future. Seriously, this does offer a certain guarantee for continuing support. I will not comment on very special atmosphere of this part of the show, these stands mingled together which had been quickly assembled by geeks, the smell, sometimes surprising, of developers who had been building seamless code for several hours, this definitely gives a different atmosphere which clashes with the rest of the rooms where the conferences were held and the polished displays of other companies.This year, the emphasis was really placed on cloud computing. I noticed several stands offering turnkey services for setting up private clouds based on open source servers like Ubuntu, for example. Here it is more about solutions such as IaaS. Others, more rare, suggest the availability of platforms (PaaS) for their development tools or for the production of autonomous cloud applications. All this, therefore, is of real importance and demonstrates that Cloud computing is definitely the next stage of IT application development.Besides these “technical” solutions, fundamental issues were also being addressed such as “how to ensure the portability of applications from one cloud to another?” Or “how the use of Open Source solutions and clouds may help to adopt eco-responsible behavior?” One example, in this regard is the manufacturer Bull, who offers via the family Bullx supercomputers, these machines used for extreme computing which are not energy hungry and offer a suite of software components based on open source standards.Another point which came to mind was the involvement of editors in open source solutions. To cite only two of them, Microsoft has a division solely dedicated to open source (the head of this division, in fact came from Redmond to give a lecture at the trade show expressly concerning this subject) or Oracle which put layers (drivers) in its Version 11.2, which are more efficient tools specifically dedicated to open languages (PHP, etc.).In order to reduce costs, in addition to making available the source code by some editors, there is also a new strategy taking form for further innovation which is called Open Innovation. By analogy to open source, the idea is to involve the community on certain topics of study in order to support innovation. This can be extremely interesting for a company that can then benefit from such highly specialized skills from certain research laboratories that are willing to contribute their help. I think that this concept also has taken a new dimension in recent years and the proof of this is the speech made by Bull on this subject, demonstrating how very engaged they are in this process. This subject will certainly will be soon the theme of another Pentalog article.Continuing my observations, I also noted that there were many Open Source solutions and how many are now very well done. For example, there is an ERP open source solution, which virtually covers all the functional sectors of a company and the interfaces, could make certain editors blush with envy! As for Business Intelligence, there again the offers cover the entire scope and adapt to different uses of a company. I saw such a solution, a multidimensional engine for data analysis based on an ETL open source performance solution (Talend, to name it) and which proposes to use Microsoft Excel or Calc as a retrieval tool, starting with the assumption that these tools are the basic tools of many management control services. I think it really has connected to market expectations.In a few words, I will terminate with the client strategy part of the trade show, I will not comment on call centers but rather, again, on using the cloud which offer services on demand. The cloud force.com offers such a variety of services and has fully integrated applications that use the social network as easily as other means of communications such as the more traditional mail or telephone. Their service starts immediately on the availability of platforms (PasS) with a development language resembling java that allows for the possibility to fully customize the tool, of course, on demand! We’re really in a new development era…

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