Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Mamoon Yunus, Lisa Calkins

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Open Source Cloud

Agile Computing: Article

The Disrupter: Google Enterprise Apps

Moving at the speed of business

According to study by the Burton Group, the next disruptive technology in the enterprise business solutions will come from the Google Enterprise Applications portal (Burton Group: The Disrupter: Google Enterprise Apps by Guy Creese, Senior Analyst, Collaboration and Content Strategies, March 19, 2007).

Global companies, as well as individual users, will be able to shop online a-la-carte style and choose the applications they need. Integration will be a thing of the past, as all of the applications will run on the same Google GWT platform. This is what makes software giants like Microsoft and SAP so worried about the future of enterprise software development. Everyone is afraid to miss the next big thing and is trying to capitalize on emerging trends. When enterprises do start leveraging their new technology and paradigms, large vendors want to be ready. Microsoft has made advances toward Yahoo! while SAP is investing heavily into portals. But Google is gaining steam, and other "traditional" software powerhouses are forced to play a catch-up game.
Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP are old-school companies based on a traditional, closed-core and proprietary technology. As with any new and disruptive technologies, industry giants seem to be all over the open source phenomena. However, this time it might be impossible for large vendors to adopt the new thinking and embrace it in order to capitalize on it and turn it around into the same old philosophy. While traditional vendors invest heavily into "embracing" open source, their essence remains the same: none of these companies will be willing to release their source, which contains millions of lines of legacy code that for many years has been dragged from one release to the next. They will also risk making their enterprise customers (who paid heftily for the product licenses) majorly upset. The open source philosophy and approach to the software overall is proving to be the next big thing, which will shake off older vendors.

A new cluster of startups is emerging in the open source arena that offers business applications based on common and expandable open source platforms. Google recently announced plans for the development of Google Enterprise portal and a new development framework on which such applications can be built - Google Web Toolkit (GWT). Some open source companies immediately took note of this and recognized the potential in partnering with Google on the open source front, and in delivering enterprise-grade applications under Google's umbrella. These companies are the future of enterprise solutions that one day, in the not-so-distant future, will dominate the market place.

Open for Business
Open source is not a new term and has been around for years. Companies like Red Hat, JBoss, and MySQL have been successful in providing open source back-end and middleware solutions and making money by providing services and support for their products. The benefit to the consumer has been realized in savings on license fees and the ability to maintain applications' infrastructure on their own. Most of the time, companies running their infrastructure on open source platforms have been more efficient with less downtime, even though it requires more technical expertise from the end customer.

In recent years, however, the open source movement concept has experienced tremendous growth and adoption in the enterprise. It expanded from middleware and databases to companies offering open source business applications. Examples are numerous: SugarCRM offers sales force solutions; Compiere offers customizable ERP business solutions; Alfresco offers content management solutions; and Queplix offers a wide range of open source solutions for the customer care industry.

Licenses, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Openness
Contrary to popular belief, the biggest benefit of open source is not that it is a "free-for-all" solution. While some solutions are indeed offered to the public for free with no strings attached, these solutions may bring limited value to the final consumer (since the developers working on them probably have full-time paying jobs that take priority over these side projects).

Many open source companies are trying to figure out how to combine the community aspect of open source with the need to make a profit. Some have been experimenting with numerous open source licenses, from BSD to GPL, to many variations in between. It's important here to recognize that perhaps the biggest benefit of open source is not that it's "free," but that it shows a customer what he or she is buying. When you purchase a closed-core proprietary solution, what you see is what you get. While you can estimate that the solution will do about 60-80% of what you need, you won't have any idea of what it is really capable of until you install it and run it for several months. Will it integrate with your other business systems? Will it synchronize with your billing, accounting, analytics, and knowledge management solutions? Will it be able to work with numerous databases? Will it talk to your middleware infrastructure? Will it be able to sustain successful upgrades of numerous components that it depends on? Will you be able to customize it and make sure that it stays on top of your constantly changing business? When you buy proprietary software, the answers to these questions are as "black box" as the software itself, no matter what the vendor is trying to make you believe.

But is the situation any different when you buy an open source solution? In order to make sure you can resolve these questions if you decide to go the open source route, it's important that your vendor can answer "yes" to the following key questions before you write a check:
• Are there any large corporations and enterprises that run your software to support their critical business functions? (Ask for references. Talking to actual users is the most reliable way to know how dependable, scalable, and robust the application really is.)
• Is your software based on standard enterprise technology (such as J2EE)?
• Is detailed technical information and documentation available?
• Is there a large community of developers that supports this application?
• Is there extensive training available?
• Does the open source vendor provide support for the solution? What are the support and maintenance structure and costs?
• Are new versions of software included with the support and maintenance?

Subject to many variations, licensing terms are particularly important when dealing with open source utilities - so be sure to study the licensing agreement and learn what kinds of things you are and are not allowed to do with the software you choose. Make sure that the license allows you to customize, support, and use the software internally without limitations, so you have the freedom to disassociate yourself from the vendor at any point in the future. After all, not being locked in with the vendor is one of the greatest benefits of open source software.

The Need for Speed
If you are looking to deploy an enterprise application - whether it's for customer care, content management, or a range of other capabilities - open source solutions should definitely be on your short list. A look at the industry shows that these solutions are quickly outpacing traditional software applications, offering significantly lower TCO and the ability to adapt (among many other benefits) - ultimately allowing your company to move at the speed of business.

The final question is: How fast do you want to go?

More Stories By Steven Yaskin

Steven Yaskin is CTO of Queplix Corporation, which offers a suite of software tools and professional services to help companies deliver customer care with contact centers, help desks, and eService. For more information, visit www.queplix.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, will provide a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that App2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. App2Cloud is an online Platform, specializing in migrating legacy applications to any Cloud Providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud).
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infrastructure throu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...