Open source and the IT company, a lucrative proposition

[OpenStack] looks not only like an open-source alternative to Amazon Web Services and VMware vCloud in the public Infrastructure as a Service space, but also a democratizing force in the private-cloud software space.

As my colleague Derrick Harris suggests, the open-source cloud-computing project OpenStack has come a long way in just a year. But it’s only one of a growing number of open-source projects challenging expensive and proprietary incumbents across the IT industry. From storage to networking, open-source projects are emerging that offer viable alternatives. Take, for example, Backblaze, which just this week freely shared detailed specifications for a storage device capable of holding 135 terabytes of data. Though the majority of customers continue to prefer products backed by the expertise and support of commercial organizations, existing suppliers from Citrix and Cisco to Dell and IBM are proving quick to incorporate open-source advances into their commercial products, lowering their own costs in the process.

For more on the ways in which commercial IT providers are adapting to open source, see my latest weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required).