IBM's open source expansion could speed up IT commoditization

IBM's open source expansion could speed up IT commoditization

Summary: IBM announced at LinuxWorld in San Francisco that it is extending its support for open source business models in eight key initiatives. I spoke with Dan Frye, who heads up IBM's Linux Technology Center in Portland, Oregon.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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IBM announced at LinuxWorld in San Francisco that it is extending its support for open source business models in eight key initiatives. I spoke with Dan Frye, who heads up IBM's Linux Technology Center in Portland, Oregon.

"Our experience with Linux and open source has shown how disruptive the business model is, and we want to extend that business model into other open source projects. The disruptive force of open source affects us all, and we want to make sure that we can move rapidly and innovate," said Dan Frye.

The eight areas are: From IBM LinuxWorld press kit.

o         Web Application Servers - Based on Apache open source projects like Geronimo.
o        Development Tools - Built on the open source Eclipse Integrated Development Environment.
o        Client-side middleware - Supporting the Eclipse Rich Client Platform project for hosting cross-platform applications.
o        Data Servers - Building on the open source Apache Derby, with IBM Cloudscape, and free no-license fee IBM DB2 Express-C.
o        Systems Management - Including open source Aperi projects.
o        Open hardware architectures - Community-driven collaborative innovation with Power.org and Blade.org.
o        Grid Computing: Expanded support for Open Grid Services Architecture and the Globus Alliance.
o         Business Consulting and Technology Services - Enabling customers to innovate with open source-based solutions and development models.

This is an aggressive move by IBM which could speed up the commoditization of the IT sector and benefit its massive IT services business groups. But IBM  has a lot of proprietary technologies that are in the path of the open-source steamroller, and the trick will be to figure out which ones to develop further and which ones to leave behind.

IBM is good at moving up the value chain, it will sell large business groups, such as hard drives, PCs, once profit margins drop to low levels. And it can take the same approach towards its IT enterprise products.

In the case of the open source communities, it has been contributing a lot of IP and patents. This helps accelerate commoditization trends in IT, and it impacts smaller rivals that don't have the scale of IBM's IT services business groups to provide them with revenues from helping customers integrate open source technologies.

Mr Frye said that large corporations are increasingly using open source in mission critical applications. For such important projects, IBM's IT services can provide customers with an important level of assurance. IBM can reduce costs by integrating open source solutions instead of commercial applications from rivals, which means more money is available to pay for IBM consulting and services.

It's all part of the industry-wide transition to a services based business model in which companies pay a monthly/yearly fee. This means that it won't really matter to customers if open source technologies are being used, all that matters is that they receive an IT service at an appropriate price and performance level.

To that extent, the more open source technologies IBM can cram into its IT services offerings, the better because it reduces its costs. The open source communities carry the burden of testing and maintenance rather than IBM.

It has to be noted that IBM is considered a good citizen, it contributes more than any other company to open source projects, and it has the most to gain from the success of those projects.

Topic: Open Source

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  • Minor Correction

    [i]The open source communities carry the burden of testing and maintenance rather than IBM.[/i]

    s/rather than/in addition to/

    Ties into the following paragraph.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • what one hand giveth, the other hand taketh

    "IBM can reduce costs by integrating open source solutions instead of commercial applications from rivals, which means more money is available to pay for IBM consulting and services."

    IBM consulting, a bunch of over paid bozos. Money paid to them is equivalent to money flushed down the toilet.

    Kaiser a health care provider paid IBM $2 billion to remove the paper work in the system. After project delays and cost over runs paid by Kaiser and the end no where in sight, Kaiser decided to pull the plug on the project. Kaiser asked for all documentation on the project. Guess what IBM asked $100 million for the documentation (Isnt documentation supposed to be part of the project)

    WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF IBM CONSULTING

    And guess what these IBM Managers are so good at contracts that they just keep making suckers out of many large companies and once relations are bad with one company, guess what theres another company to repeat the process all over again.
    zzz1234567890
    • I can't believe how right you are

      IBM Global Services generates most of IBM's profits. At $250/hour consulting fees, how could they not?

      People fail to understand the IBM bait and switch move. Talk about Linux BIG TIME and then when it gets close to crunch time, admit it can't do the job and offer up 4x price P-series and AIX.

      Q: How come our IBM X-series (x86) servers crash under Linux and DON'T LEAVE A CORE DUMP FILE? That functionality doesn't work yet. IBM service REQUIRES that you submit a core dump file if you want support. What a crock!
      Roger Ramjet
      • finally we agree on an issue

        I guess reading todays news you'll agree about the deceit that lies in IBM's dealings. Today IBM spoke about SUN not being a true open source company with regards to Open Solaris. How many more lies are they going to tell.

        Q: How come our IBM X-series (x86) servers crash under Linux and DON'T LEAVE A CORE DUMP FILE? That functionality doesn't work yet. IBM service REQUIRES that you submit a core dump file if you want support. What a crock!

        Agree with you totally there. IBM is a parasite that will such every drop of blood from you (equivalent to every $ from your organisation).
        zzz1234567890