Friday, April 28, 2006

Sacramento, staying awake and migrating from closed to open

Last night I was on a TechCoire panel moderated by Christine Herron in Sacramento about open source software and it's readiness for use in the enterprise. I was joined on the panel by:

Not surprisingly, all of us on the panel were passionate about how best to use open source in an enterprise environment and how we felt that the open source software market is on the cusp of being viable in nearly every aspect of an enterprise. On the long drive home late last night (finally hit the pillow about 1am) I tried to listen to some talk radio to keep my mind awake, but I could not tolerate the bombastic commentary from the left and right on a variety of political issues. The main hot topic of the night was gas prices and since I was doing about 80 on interstate 80 I did not want to think about how much gas I was burning...

So, instead, I started thinking about what it might take to migrate from a closed-source based enterprise to an open-source based enterprise. When you have a blank sheet of paper, like we did with Vyatta a few months back, it was relatively easy to decide to do everything we could using open-source (and if we didn't, well that was a problem in my book :). So, we deployed a number of open-source solutions for our company (Vyatta, Asterisk, RedHat, Apache, Bugzilla, Subversion, etc.) and they have served us well to date. But, what if you're a Fortune 1000 company that has been buying closed-source software licensed for the past few decades and are now contemplating moving from Siebel to SugarCRM or Oracle to mySQL? There are clear TCO and ROI advantages of using open-source, but the migration issues and business process reworking much be time-consuming and difficult.

I'm sure this migration has been done successfully many times by enterprise software folks much smarter than I am (I'm in networking :) and I'd appreciate hearing some of the stories. As we start to migrate some closed-source networks toward using the Vyatta OFR I am sure we learn from those that have worn a path before us. Maybe I can hear from some of you on Tuesday night in Vegas?

See you at the party in Vegas!


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