Open source lands in the enterprise with both feet

Major business applications on Linux turns OS into a  commodity

Looking at the slew of new product announcements coming out of the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo  in San Francisco this week, some industry analysts are saying we are witnessing the last mile in the commoditization of the operating system.

Exemplars of that trend are three ISVs offering enterprise-level applications: Black Duck Software for license management, SpikeSource for business collaboration, and Talend for data integration and ETL (Extract, Transform and Load), all Linux based.

For companies looking for "plain vanilla" OS functionality that sits beneath the application stack, however, Linux is fine, said Josh Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting (EAC). Nevertheless, Linux reaches a barrier when the OS is uniquely tied to other capabilities. This is where Microsoft is taking it up a notch as to what the OS is supporting.

"Microsoft is tying Vista to SharePoint and Office into a tightly integrated set of products that you need to take together to get added value," Greenbaum said.

But there are strong parallels between the acceptance and uptake of on-demand solutions and open source, Greenbaum notes. Both address the problem of TCO (total cost of ownership) and usability. Both significantly reduce TCO by offering inexpensive licensing and an easier upgrade path.

Although on-demand and open source faced similar challenges -- proving the viability of the solution providers and the capability of the software -- if this week's enterprise software introductions are a response to market demand, then those hurdles have been overcome.

Black Duck Software unveiled protexIP/development 4.4, that monitors software code compliance with pre-existing licensing requirements, as well as offering an upgraded version of its KnowledgeBase. In addition, the latest solution gives users vendor-supplied code and components for open source applications.

According to company officials protexIP 4.4 also includes the most recent open source project license changes.

SpikeSource announced on Monday the next version of its SuiteTwo, Web 2.0 integration software platform.

The company earns its Web 2.0 street cred by offering integration between the two premier Web 2.0 collaboration architectures, wikis and blogs.

The new version of SuiteTwo will include Japanese language support in addition to expanding its integration capabilities.

Meanwhile, Talend takes Linux-based applications to the heart of the datacenter with a tool, Talend Integration Suite, that works with data warehousing platforms.

Previously, Talend offered Talend Open Studio for ETL data integration. The new offering adds professional services for large deployments plus features targeted at deployment for large enterprise configurations.

Some of those new features include Shared Repository for sharing of metadata, Job Conductor and Grid Conductor to control the deployment, advanced scheduling and load balancing of jobs on a grid, CPU Balancer that paralyzes processing and CPU utilization, Distant Run for enabling remote execution and Activity Monitoring Console and Dashboard.

According to Greenbaum at EAC, these types of applications running on Linux are emblematic of how commoditized OS systems have become.

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