Getting Your Company In Open Source Shape

by Guy Martin (Red Hat)

The holiday decorations are now (hopefully) put away, and fond memories of merriment from the past month or so are behind us.  All that remains now is the time-honored tradition of the New Year’s Resolution. This should not surprise most of you, but the perennial favorite is usually a combination of ‘lose weight, eat healthier, get in better shape.’  Pondering my own resolutions to continue on a healthier path got me thinking about what it means to get your company in ‘Open Source Shape.’

There are many parallels to successfully getting yourself in better physical shape and getting your company started on the right foot to more successful and productive use of open source.  Let’s take a look at a few of these examples below,  pulling some lessons from the exercise world that you can apply in your enterprise.

Running shoes

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The evolution of operational efficiency

by Larry Spangler (Red Hat)

Lately, I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of buzz about “operational efficiency.” As some see it, Operational Efficiency is basically the idea of doing more with less–if you can define and follow processes you can achieve repeatable outcomes with reduced error. Automate that, and you have a means to extend the reach of the individual IT operator while decreasing the effort and time required to build systems. It’s a straightforward value proposition that Red Hat has been touting and delivering for years with standardized operating environments (SOEs) and management tools like Red Hat Network Satellite and JBoss Operations Network.

But there’s evolution afoot here from the classic “operational” sense to one that is more expansive and higher purposed. The basics of SOE and management tools are now being used not only to define and develop repeatable infrastructure, they’re being leveraged with other tools like virtualization, IaaS, and PaaS to deliver on-demand capabilities. The key being that the focus is shifting from how to get the most out of your resource investment, to how to effectively and efficiently instantiate, use, and release systems for true on-demand capabilities.

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Keep Calm and Innersource On

by Guy Martin (Red Hat)

“Open source is scary!”

“How can something ‘open’ be secure?”

“Won’t using open source in my products mean I have to give away my IP?”

These are all examples from real-world conversations with both external and internal stakeholders during my career as a developer and consultant.  There are many more such examples, which I previously built into a blog titled Top 10 Signs Your Enterprise Doesn’t ‘Get’ Open Source.  The good news is that with the emergence of Linux, Apache, JBoss and other important open source technologies, we don’t hear these kinds of things as often.  The bad news is, there are still quite a few industries and companies where these fears are the norm.

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Open source adoption in the public sector

by Satish Irrinki (Red Hat)

Open source adoption within public sector is no longer just theoretical – agencies across federal, state, and local governments have adopted open source software for a wide variety of computing tasks. In fact, new guidelines for software selection mandate that open source software be given equal consideration while making technology decisions. This is mostly because there are intrinsic characteristics of open source software that align with the long-term IT adoption trends within the public sector. Of course, open source’s obvious cost savings and economic value are significant drivers to adoption as well.

The 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT, a guideline released by the White House, clearly focuses on driving IT strategy forward with an emphasis on open source’s intrinsic characteristics — interoperability and portability. Adopting open source software perfectly meets these goals, while fostering innovation, reducing redundancy, and providing immense economic benefit to society.

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Cloud Sniff Test: Cutting through the jargon

by David Kang (Red Hat)

Cloud is not software, cloud is not hardware, cloud is not virtualization, and cloud is certainly not a panacea for broken IT. Cloud is an architecture: a set of fundamental tenets that have different implications at different levels of IT, from network, to hardware, to applications, and to the IT process itself. To say you have a cloud is to say that you have a cohesive architecture, technology set, and most importantly processes, that work towards a defined goal under a set of well-understood principals. Building your cloud is as much about defining your goals and governing principals as it is about investing in technology.

Building your cloud and consuming cloud services
Step one is defining your governing principals. This is a crucial step before embarking on your cloud journey as the policies and principals you define will help you navigate your journey through the rapidly expanding cloud ecosystem. This is also an opportunity to ask tough questions and examine what your principals and processes are, and why you have them. Process is ultimately about managing risk, so consider what risks are acceptable under your governance policies and weigh them against the potential benefits cloud can offer. Both Facebook and Google have adopted “deploy to production” models that seem to fly in the face of process conventions such as ITIL or RUP, yet somehow they seem to survive. The penalty for not doing this exercise is ballooning adoption costs, or failed rollouts all together.

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A new view on migrations

by Larry Spangler (Red Hat)

The funny thing about people is that as much as we complain about how bad things are, there’s a natural resistance to actual change. More often than not, the changes we long for come with a good deal of anxiety and a great deal of process pain.

This week, we moved into our new space in the “Red Hat Tower” in downtown Raleigh. There was a lot of excitement leading up to this move – new offices, new space, new neighbors, new opportunities – a fresh start all around. But that was countered by an equal amount of uncertainty and anxiety – would we like the new space, would we be giving up amenities, would the new commutes be a hassle, how long would it take to be productive again?

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Transforming Organizational DNA

by Guy Martin (Red Hat)

Transforming Organizational DNA – sounds like a lofty goal brought down from the ivory towers of an MBA or marketing program, doesn’t it?

While it is a lofty goal, the way companies utilize technology is fundamentally shifting, and savvy organizations realize this transformation is now well under way.  In a recent keynote at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst gave a talk that highlights this trend. He touched on the explosion of computing power, plummeting costs, and the near ubiquity of technology that was simply not available even a few years ago.

In 2012, most IT executives have already seen aspects of what Jim was talking about. There’s no longer any question that Linux and open source provide real enterprise options — these are not only robust and secure, but are viable alternatives to proprietary solutions. Despite this recognition, a recent Sonatype survey found that over half the respondents didn’t have a corporate open source strategy/policy.  Even this far into the ‘Age of Open Source,’ policies to help corporations effectively and strategically consume open source are not the norm.

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Prepare the ground for the cloud

by Malcolm Herbert (Red Hat)

This post originally appeared here on May 30, 2012, in the Guardian.

To make sure your organisation benefits from cloud computing, lay a solid foundation before making grand plans

Cloud computing is ubiquitous in technology conversations. It’s not just a buzzword, but a catalyst to a new wave of thinking. Cloud is still yet to show its full capabilities as the demands on the world’s datacentres continue to rise – open source and virtualisation are spear-heading this movement.

There are many opportunities for organisations to benefit from cloud computing and slot it into their overall IT strategy. However, instead of getting overwhelmed and “eating too many elephants” it’s important to prepare the groundwork for cloud and pace the business by laying a solid foundation.

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