When will open source compete with Tivoli?

When will open source compete with Tivoli?

Summary: There is still a lot to do in order to give open source systems management buyers any of the assurances that the big boys offer as a matter of course, with bills to match.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Some of the fattest margins in the proprietary software world exist in systems management.

IBM Tivoli, H-P, CA and BMC have no full open source competitors. Yes, there are many projects out there which can do part of what these suites can do, but if a medium-sized company needs a full solution it can be hard to put together.

Bill Karpovich says his Annapolis-based company, Zenoss, comes pretty close for small and medium-sized businesses. Zenoss focuses on monitoring, features like inventory and configuration, monitoring availability and performance, and event management. But there are many other open source projects in the space that are complementary -- OpenSIMS, NetDirector, and Qlusters among them.

Despite all this, the need for less-expensive solutions is giving him some good case studies. He says Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore had a low bid of $580,000 for systems management which terrified the CIO. "We ended up delivering a solution that gave them 80% of what the big guys gave for 20% of what they’d pay."

There are lots of other Mercy Hospitals out there. Karpovich estimates he is looking at a $9 billion market. And he has some innovative ideas for pushing his GPL software forward -- a site called Zenoss.Org to build the community, and Zenoss.Net to build things like a Wikipedia for systems management problems, and a MySpace for systems management professionals. (Right now Zenoss.Net resolves to Zenoss.Org.)

There is still a lot to do in order to give open source systems management buyers any of the assurances that the big boys offer as a matter of course, with bills to match. Karpovich is working with the Open Management Consortium on a chart or matrix that will tell buyers what's out there, but the group itself is just two months old.  

It will take time to pull all these things together, to build experience with larger-and-larger enterprises until big companies can trust an open source solution, he admits.

It's a journey of 1,000 miles, but the first steps have been taken. 

Topic: Open Source

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4 comments
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  • Yes steps have been taken

    But one would assume we wouldn't hear of most of them anyhow. Even us. Open source is a decentralized concept. If you publish everything not just code is out in the open: reputations are too and it would seem easy to know who isn't full of hot air. We're probably at the point where small partnerships could leverage considerable scalability.

    At the same time, when David Byrne was asked about the proliferation of artistic materials in the eighties (I believe) he responded by suggesting there would always be a need for "visual thinkers". I have to wonder how well a consulting firm can stick to the open source model and provide all the options of a larger firm.

    That Red Hat does it, doesn't change my feeling that open source is often regarded as a panacea. YouTube and other such sites have shown that giving everyone who wants one a digital camera provides more places for freedom of expression without changing the need for filmmakers, or "visual thinkers". Just so, I have to wonder in the long term if open source really does have any business competing with the likes of IBM, HP and Tivoli. Does Red Hat?

    Would a very successful open source consultancy continue to be as successful as open source? Or should open source consultancies keep in mind they are a niche product?
    jplatt39
  • Dana, why don't you just quit?!

    The first two sentences were all I needed to read. Another stupid story from another LOUSY author.
    yogeee
    • Another stupid posting

      Another stupid posting from ...
      mud spelled backwards is STILL dum backwards is mud LLITS si sdrawkcab delleps dum.
      By the way, there is no such word as "dum" - do you mean "dumb"? Dumb spelled frontwars is dmud.
      Bob G Beechey
  • Quagmire

    Tivoli has made a mess of trying to be all things to all people at all times. It has never really worked well - unless you spend 2-3x more money on customizing it after you buy it.

    Tivoli also is a suite of products - which makes it that much harder to try and copy.
    Roger Ramjet