Despite only being at SUSE for the past 3 months I am of course aware that the SUSE philosophical approach is being an Open, Open Source company and the above is not a typo. The question is, why is it so important to emphasise being open? There are 3 distinct areas where being open is a good thing.
- Open Source – Community driven innovation and software that is developed under the Open Source model by customers as well as vendors has been proven deliver functionality that is relevant to customers served. (Otherwise why pay subscription costs given that there are no licensing fees)?
- Open Standards – As a result of major vendors adhering to a standard this provides choice to the customers they serve. Choice is the result of the interoperability that exists across a communally agreed standard that results in a horizontal platform as opposed to a vertical silo driven by a single vendor agenda (not normally shared interest much less altruistic)! Past examples of Open Standards that exist include industry standard server technology (ISS) – the ability to run any application available on Linux or Windows on any ISS hardware technology whether HPE IBM, DELL and the freedom to come and go to any vendor as the client pleases. A more contemporary example of an open standards initiative is Openstack which represents an Open Cloud risk mitigation platform for clients seeking to avoid being locked in within a single vendor’s cloud. Any enterprise business around during the 80’s/90s will be seeking a cloud exit strategy not wishing to repeat the cycle they experienced in the Datacentre with the proliferation of UNIX variants, the obligation to buy single vendor hardware and ensuing application constraints. A current Open Standards initiative is around the last bastion of the Software Defined Datacentre (SDDC), Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). The ETSI/MANO standards are driven by a community of stakeholders including networking vendors and telcos seeking to determine architectural blueprints that uncouple services from hardware. The technology now exists for the control plane and data plane to be split so that networking vendors’ technology is interoperable through Open Source projects such as Open Daylight. The virtual network functions (VNF’s) can be deployed across ISS hardware making them portable and therefore meeting the agility requirements of hybrid cloud.
- Open Communities – This is the most important example of all given that if you don’t have collaboration it is impossible to produce Open Source software and agree on an Open Standard. In the interests of brevity and doing justice to this subject I’ll cover it in an ensuing article in greater detail. I’ll also provide some exciting examples of how SUSE are leading in community collaboration as evidenced at the recent SUSECON 2017 Event!