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Follow the Open Source Road

Roz Roseboro
7/15/2015
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This spring, I attended my first OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. As usual, there was a room reserved for media and analysts to hold meetings, but this one had only a curtain to separate two seating areas. I thought that it was strange, since it offered no privacy, and indeed, one company I met with was quite unhappy about it.

A few weeks later, I recounted this story to my colleague, Caroline Chappell, who thought the setup was, in fact, perfectly appropriate for an open source conference. We talked about how a "curtain test" could be used to gauge a company's true seriousness about openness -- the theory being that there should be no secrets when it comes to open source, so who cares if there's only a curtain for separation?

Of course, open source does not obviate all company secrets. It does, however, make it possible for companies to devote more of their precious resources on areas where they can truly differentiate and add value. The power of open source comes from collaboration among numerous industry players -- with each contributing to the benefit of the whole. Open source initiatives aim to accelerate innovation and deliver higher quality solutions than would come from a single supplier working independently in the same timeframe.

In addition to open source projects that came out of the IT world such as OpenStack, KVM and SDN projects such as OpenDaylight and ONOS, there are telecom-driven initiatives such as OPNFV and DPDK. Each brings great promise -- but with change comes concern. Service providers need to become comfortable about using open source code and figure out how best to participate in the initiatives. Vendors must change how they develop products, balancing the spirit of openness and collaboration with the need to run a commercial enterprise.

The more time I've spent researching and engaging with open source projects, the more fascinated I've become. It's such a departure from how things have always worked in telecom, and I've been amazed at how quickly momentum seems to be building.

On July 22, I will be moderating a webinar sponsored by Red Hat on why open source is important in the context of NFV. Red Hat has been involved with open source for more than 20 years and will be sharing some of the insights it has gained. If you're interested in learning more about open source and how to engage with it, I encourage you to join us. Click here for more details.

— Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading (a.k.a., The Wizard of Roz)

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