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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Control Of The Stack

In the backdrop of the oracle openworld agree, the stack discussions are beginning to be aired again. I agree with the point of view here – after all IT was promised that open source meant an end to vendor lock-in. That with open source, IT would never be subjected to a single point of failure again. That IT would have the freedom to implement the technologies of its choosing. With the advent of the monolithic open source stack, it would appear that we are heading back to the days of vendor lock-in, except this time it will come in an open source flavor. This begs the question of whether a monolithic open source stack is inherently more valuable than a proprietary one. After all, if customers are locked in to a single vendor, how are they better off than the bad old proprietary stack days?

I agree with the points raised therein with vendors trying to bring in a proprietary lock-in, the customer choices are narrowing down – not a thing to rejoice about in the age of modern day extortion practiced by big vendors. But opensource adoption is not exactly helping alleviate the issue – across the stack. As I wrote sometime back, open source solutions at the bottom of the stack – typically workhorse infrastructure elements are getting well entrenched – but even a layer above – lets say starting even at database level – we see the hold loosening and as we move up certainly – opensource becomes one among multiple options. I tend to take a dim view of open source relevance - see Open source -where is the business model, Opensource : Costly & Litigatious, Open Source : Reality Check. We also recently covered Kim Polese view business models of the open source support companies – where the contours of what need to be done to support open source components become quite clear and a not seeing several players in the open source world thinking along these lines – it would be a major impediment to consider adoption of opensource in enterprises if the support model is not made widely available and the economics and technology upgrade rate demonstrated as beneficial.

Enterprise stack is strongly entrenched, if we don't do anything nothing will happen for a decade
- the future state is that SOA is disruptive and characterized by a new set of platforms
- questions that comes to mind (if we take Geoffrey Moore’s orchestrating the stack approach) are around what layers are strategic, what platforms make the most sense, and which vendors are most credible

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"