Securing a vendor contact for mod_pagespeed
As with most Google open source efforts, users and prospective customers are unable to purchase support or maintenance subscriptions directly from Google. Lack of purchasable vendor support can present a barrier to adoption in enterprises without the skills or spare cycles to maintain and support mod_pagespeed themselves.
This is where CDN provider Cotendo comes in. Cotendo worked with Google on the mod_pagespeed project and jointly presented it at ApacheCon 2010 earlier this week.
Cotendo is building mod_pagespeed into its commercial Dynamic Site Acceleration services. As a result, enterprises gain the benefits of mod_pagespeed and have a vendor responsible for its maintenance and support.
Cotendo claims that the use of this open source component will offer significant benefit for its customers:
This new Cotendo service will optimize caching, reduce the number of data requests, and reduce the payload size of pages, among other features. In aggregate, these code modifications, when rendered within Cotendo's network, can reduce image size by 20 percent to 30 percent and page load time by as much as 50 percent on top of the acceleration already achieved by Cotendo's existing site acceleration services including its Dynamic Site Acceleration Service.
Adopting open source projects based on productization likelihood
It goes without saying that the performance claims above likely provided significant incentive for Cotendo to use mod_pagespeed versus building an alternative in-house.
The more important trend for IT decision makers to recognize is the fact that vendors such as Cotendo are growing their product capabilities by partnering with and leveraging work from industry titans such as Google, Facebook, and Yahoo -- vendors that really don't sell software or support subscriptions.
Although Google, Facebook, and Yahoo typically garner significant press coverage when they open-source a previously internal project, it can be a risky venture for enterprises to adopt the project in question -- that is, unless another vendor decides to productize the open source project in a way that can deliver and support the code for enterprise usage.
Cotendo is doing just this for Google's mod_pagespeed project. Not all open source projects contributed by nontraditional software vendors are as lucky.
I encourage IT decision makers to evaluate open source project announcements not just on the merit of the technology, but the likelihood that it will be productized. Doing so will help minimize risk of using an open source project that your team must support itself or a project that struggles to attract a large user community. It will also encourage vendors to think about partnerships and third-party productization before open-sourcing a project.
This article, "Should you adopt Google's open source project to speed Web applications?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Savio Rodrigues' Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com.