Wednesday Jan 13, 2010

Can government clouds be any other way than full of open source?

These days, I keep reading how open source will be everywhere in government clouds, and how this is, for some strange reason, something that is new to everybody on the planet, or should be.

The thing is... look around! Most of the cloud computing technologies that we are going to be using in the years to come is directly, or based on, open source. This is not really news, since you can really consider cloud computing to be an evolution towards very high dynamicity of what we've been doing in the past up to now. And the result of what we've been doing is a huge collection of fantastic open source software. So fantastic, actually, that in the European area, in particular, open source is really what is driving the government IT business.

So of course, it seems logical that all the solutions for developing networked based applications (call it client-server, grid, 3-tier, SOA... cloud... you name it) is the basis of what we're now seing put in practice to build the clouds of tomorrow. Or the clouds of today, actually.

Yes, some new technology has appeared, in particular around provisionning, since that is one of the key differentiators between the N-1 iteration (SOA) and the current (Cloud) of our computing model. But even that new technology is very often open source itself.

Cloud computing is a world of open source. Which is interesting because there's a lot of money to be made there. It's a world of services, integration, very fancy support models... all that is needed to deploy mission critical applications.

But because cloud computing is using open source, not only do clouds offer the means to scale from zero to very high loads in just moments, but they also offer the means to start at zero with zero software costs, and then you scale your costs from services / consulting at the start to full-fledged 24x7 enterprise-class support when your cloud becomes a production machine with revenue, or any other source of value (homeland security, education of the populations, taxes management...)

So yes, government clouds (and any other clouds) will be based mostly on open source technology. We shouldn't be surprised. We had it comming, for quite some time. And it's a good thing.


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