Opensource enterprise software rocks!

I am not ideological zealot for open source, but rather have experienced the the value proposition first hand – and do think that it is a great deal for all the parties involved, when the relationship works and is based on real trust and shared value.

Alfresco ECM is a prime example of that. I am thoroughly impressed on the professionalism and the quality of the software. Even though Alfresco is pretty impressive straight out of the box, it is not like traditional commercial off the shelf (COTS) software – but rather a platform, which you can extend to build customized solutions. And even though annual licences can cost a lot of money, its is not for just a ’licence’ – but a subscription for a constant stream of updates, new features and world class support to help you, when or if there are unforeseen problems with JVM or some other component.

Spring Source’s Spring Framework with the whole umbrella of Spring-related projects from web flow management to security, integration and webservices – is another great example of high quality professional enterprise open source software. In just few years Spring Framework has become the de facto application framework and middleware for custom application development. It is what Java Enterprise Edition should have been.

Similarly Pentaho Business Intelligence Suite has started to look impressive piece of software with a great amount of features and some nice design ideas, even though I haven’t yet taken the dive into the source code. Pentaho crossed my path as I was trying to find reporting solution, which could be integrated into custom applications and simple examples with Pentaho — well looked so simple that I got really interested. Now I am taking Pentaho out for a testdrive and trying to learn what else can I do with it.

My interest and bias for enterprise open source has only grown stronger – as I have seen really amazingly impressive demos and roadmaps for some extremely expensive closed source commercial off the shelf software. I’ve seen really impressive features and clever ideas, but unfortunately it is very unlikely that I will see any time soon a project – where it would be economically viable to use those programs with clever features and ideas. I’ll just have to figure out how to solve problems and build solutions with tools at hand.

Fortunately we live in day and age, where great opensource enterprise software can provide a strong foundation for huge amount of different needs. There are still countless places, where one has to select closed source COTS-solution – but domains where opensource enterprise software provide a viable and potential alternative are growing. And I like it.

Professional opensource enterprise software rocks!

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3 vastausta artikkeliin: Opensource enterprise software rocks!

  1. Janne Pyykkö sanoo:

    An inconvenient truth… before opensource BI rocks, you need to build up consultant training, ecosystem, create success stories, etc. Any results so far around Pentaho? (If Google buys Pentaho / starts utilizing it, then it’s a different story.)

  2. huima sanoo:

    Janne: Well you are right in some sense. Opensource enterprise software can have the downside that the ecosystem is different, and there is the possibility that availability of local consultants and service providers is rather limited. Similarly features and possibilities of the suite, can be — and most likely are — different compared to the bleeding edge offering. But that hasn’t changed people creating business value and having success even with Pentaho: http://www.pentaho.com/about/customers/

    But as BI is/can be quite often provided as a service by consultants, who know both the domain and the BI-tools — then to a customer it is not so much of an issue what is the actual platform used in producing the insights, reports and dashboard — as long as they work and TCO is in acceptable limits.

    Like I said, I don’t know yet enough about Pentaho – nor about real COTS-BI-suites – to put these offerings against each other in any formal way. Only thing I can in guaranteed way to say – is that they offer different kind of strategies to manage your own ecosystem and architecture, and in some cases the openness can be a valid and meaningful asset, which provides value. But not to everyone and not in every case.

    In many domains opensource enterprise software works as a really good low end disruptor, providing lower cost alternatives for some established players and forces them to move further upmarket and/or provide also comparable options for low end solutions, which is good for the marketplace. It changes the dynamics of the domain and provide also interesting opportunities as well as challenges for all the players in those value chains.

    At the moment I am looking into – and getting really interested – about Pentaho’s reporting functionalities and the possibility of including those features into custom applications in cost effective way… to provide integrated BI inside an application. In that scenario Pentaho looks really impressive.

    Anyway thanks for the good comment Janne. That is a really good viewpoint to keep in mind.

  3. Janne Pyykkö sanoo:

    Your link answered my question, there are success stories! The existence of an ecosystem with an active web forum (!) would be my next question…

    ”Like I said, I don’t know yet enough about Pentaho – nor about real COTS-BI-suites ..”

    To me one essential difference between traditional software development and BI is in the roles of people involved. As in software development, there are 2 roles (programmers, users), in BI there are 3: advanced consultants (data modeling, ETL, OLAP cube building, dashboard building), analysts (making their own reports based on OLAP cubes, occasionally creating dashboards), end users (watching dashboards).

    If Pentaho can make analysts happy with a good analysis tool, and end users happy with elegant dashboards, then I’m convinced.

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