Red Hat: Cloud won't drive open-source adoption

Summary:The cloud's heightened focus on interoperability does not directly translate to ramped up adoption of open-source software, says Red Hat executive Frank Feldmann

Open standards and the need for interoperability on the cloud will not necessarily drive the adoption of open-source software, said a Red Hat executive.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Frank Feldmann, senior product manager at Red Hat Asia-Pacific and Japan, said the industry push to get on the cloud will be a boon to open standards as businesses look more closely at interoperability issues.

To consume different applications on different platforms-as-a-service (PaaS), companies will need to be mindful of interoperability so each application will be able to work with the rest in their enterprise stack, Feldmann explained.

However, he noted that this focus on open standards does not necessarily mean companies will be fully reliant on open-source software, because a mature developer community may not exist for certain niche applications.

Feldmann said: "You may be hard pressed to find a huge community of open-source developers passionate about building that tax billing app, [for instance]."

The Red Hat executive was speaking on the sidelines of an IDC cloud-computing conference held in Singapore on Tuesday. Interoperability of APIs (application programming interfaces) was a topic addressed by several speakers at the event.

Peter Coffee,'s director of platform research, said during his presentation that the provision of common APIs on PaaS will help convince developers to build enterprise apps on the cloud. "You must win developers over first before a platform will be a success, and with APIs, developers get to reap efficiencies by reusing codes," said Coffee.

He added that this would not stunt developers from creating good apps, because interoperability between different platforms will give rise to a plethora of tools to seed a developer's creativity.

"Think of [the APIs] as items in a supermarket. Create a new composite app that is uniquely yours," he said. "We want to connect [programming] behaviours, not just the apps themselves."

Interoperability between clouds
In addition to platforms, Coffee also called for interoperability between different infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers. With companies choosing to deploy different aspects of their business simultaneously on "different" clouds — some on-premise, some public — interoperability will be crucial to facilitate the moving of apps between clouds.

However, a larger movement may need to take place for true interoperability to happen.

Red Hat's Feldmann said there must be a common API between IaaS providers, too, so organisations are not locked-in to any one player. "If you want to change providers, you should be able to just change the address without disruption," he said, but added that it is likely to take another three to four years before a common industry standard is established.

Chris Morris, IDC's Asia-Pacific director of services, said industry adoption of cloud computing is currently at the early-adoption phase, with chief information officers...

Topics: Tech Industry


Victoria Ho is a tech journalist based in Singapore, whose writing has appeared in publications such as ZDNet, TechCrunch, and The Business Times. When she's not obsessing about IT, you can find her tinkering with music and daydreaming about which guitar to buy next.

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