Big week for open source news: Round up of OSCON announcements

It's OSCON week and with the annual open source conference occurring in Portland, Oregon, comes a bunch of news from some traditional vendors.


OSCON is always seen as a good event to announce new products and initiatives of an open source nature. OSCON was, after all, the place where Rackspace and NASA chose to announce the OpenStack cloud initiative several years ago. This year's event had nothing of quite that importance, but still some brought about some interesting announcements.


First up comes Hitachi Data Systems. HDS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi and in recent years has done a great job of connecting some of the very diverse business units that the Hitachi mothership holds. HDS is today announcing that its Unified Compute Platform (UCP) is going to support Google Kubernentes, the containers orchestration initiative. UCP is a broad infrastructure offering, first introduced in 2010, and already supports software from VMware, SAP, and Microsoft.

With this announcement Hitachi has looked at what its traditional enterprise customers are asking for and validated Kubernetes and VMware running side-by-side on the UCP platform. What this means is that HDS is providing a truly hybrid offering for container-based applications and traditional virtualized workloads, all within the same broad offering.

Of course, some cloud purists would question what validity a platform like UCP has. After all, customers of the public cloud are well serviced by the big names: Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Platform, and Microsoft Azure. For those needing a private cloud, the various OpenStack commercial offerings tick their boxes.

But for all that, HDP has existing customers that want to be able to deploy cloud within the context of their existing infrastructure. For these customers, UCP is a valuable offering. Not an earth-shattering announcement, but a validation both that Docker/Kubernetes is maturing, and that HDS is deeply thinking about its customers' future demands.


Next is IBM, which is announcing a range of things. IBM is unveiling developerWorks Open, a collaborative platform that will "arm developers with access to high-potential open source projects and resources." The move is a strategic offering to help existing enterprise customers make smart decisions from the world of different open source products.

In terms of what it means, there is obviously the marketing-led stuff. Developers will be able to download code but also access blogs, videos, tools and techniques that will help them actually use those open source products. But perhaps more importantly, IBM is announcing some projects that are targeted for specific verticals, in particular healthcare, mobile, retail, insurance, and banking. The vertical products will all be offered on top of Bluemix, IBM's Cloud Foundry-based developer platform. The specific vertical offerings, according to the company, are:

  • IBM Ready App for Healthcare tracks patient progress for at-home physical therapy programs via mobile device.
  • IBM Ready App for Retail personalizes and reshapes the specialty retail store shopping experience through direct line of communication.
  • IBM Ready App for Insurance improves the relationship between homeowners and insurers and uses Internet of Things sensors to sync home with utilities.
  • IBM Ready App for Small Business Banking helps financial institutions address the mobile needs of small business owners and attract prospects.

On top of these vertical products, IBM is open sourcing several of its own analytics technologies, including:

  • Activity Streams, which provides developers with a standard model and encoding format for describing how users engage with both the application and with one another.
  • Agentless System Crawler offers a unified cloud monitoring and analytics framework that enables visibility into all types of cloud platforms and runtimes.

The creation of a broad open source storefront like developerWorks Open comes at an important time for developers. Organizations are wrestling with getting the most out of their multiple clouds environments.

"IBM firmly believes that open source is the foundation of innovative application development in the cloud," IBM Vice President of Cloud Architecture and Technology Dr. Angel Diaz said. "With developerWorks Open, we are open sourcing additional IBM innovations that we feel have the potential to grow community and ecosystem and eventually become established technologies.”

This idea of creating a broad catalog of open source projects, with help combining them all together, makes sense. IBM already participates in and contributes to more than 150 open source projects - Spark, OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, Open Contain Project, Node.js, CouchDB, Linux, Eclipse among them. Helping enterprise developers chose and use these products makes sense for IBM, and makes sense for the developers in question.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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