Red Hat exec: Open Source is mature, disruptive and innovative

Craig Nielsen was one of eight speakers at the WA open source symposium earlier this month. He talks about where the industry stands and where it is rapidly heading.

You spoke at the symposium about how fast open source software has developed. What are some examples of this?

This has differed by project. Linux began in 1991 and by the turn of the century had been adopted by Google as its core server platform as an example. The Apache project started in 1994 and by 1996 was the market leader in terms of market share. Both examples are pretty remarkable in terms of their speed of development and time taken to become relevant as enterprise platforms.

Why do you think open source software has developed so quickly?

Prior to Linux, many organisations had implemented high cost proprietary Unix solutions for mission critical applications. Linux allowed organisations to deploy "Unix grade" solutions on commodity hardware at a significantly lower cost, and in many cases, with significantly higher performance. Red Hat's business model has allowed CIO's to adopt this technology and its associated benefits by providing enterprise lifecycle services for our platforms.

Companies for many years now have been abandoning high cost proprietary operating software and proprietary hardware and moving to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The demand is a function of solution relevance and the compelling value created by open source companies. At Red Hat, we have structured our business around delivering flexible global support and service offerings, a broad portfolio of ISV and OEM certifications for our platforms and a subscription-based business model. The first two allow enterprises to deploy and support Red Hat software at low risk and the subscription model is a superior commercial model helping customers reduce both capital and operational expenditures. Where is Linux adoption most concentrated?

According to Forrester Research from Q206, the public sector and the finance and insurance sector were leaders when it came to Linux adoption. In terms of Linux use, 36 percent of the Australasian public sector is using Linux, and a further 18 per cent of the sector is planning to use it in the next 12 months. Similarly, 27 per cent of the finance and insurance industry is currently using Linux.

Where is Linux in its deployment life cycle and how do you predict this will change in the next five years?

Late last year, Saugatuck Technology in conjunction with Business Week Research surveyed CIO's worldwide around mission critical business application data centre deployments on Linux. They specifically asked organisations where their Linux projects were in terms of lifecycle - essentially planning versus deployment. 51 percent of all organisations said they were using or planning to use Linux in their data centres over the next five years. Of those 51 percent, 31 percent said they currently had projects in planning or proof of concept phases with 20 percent saying they had already deployed Linux in their data centres. By 2011, 45 percent of organisations intend to have Linux in deployment in their data centres. We see many organisations globally and locally in advanced planning for new or additional applications running on Linux. Growth in Linux adoption is extremely strong.

What are some of the higher profile Australian-based organisations that Red Hat provides for?

Red Hat provides open source solutions for organisations across public and private sectors, including various levels of government and industries such as banking and finance, education, healthcare and telecommunications. A cross section of ANZ customers includes: National Australia Bank, Wotif.com, Europcar, New Zealand Post, Bartter Enterprises and Loyalty Pacific.

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