The rise of open-source software in 2020, amidst a global pandemic, can be attributed to the sudden spike in demand for the faster development of software programmes and applications. In March 2020, GitHub noticed a major uptick in open-source projects. Many streaming websites even cut back on bandwidth consumption by reducing video streaming quality and download speeds. This is where open-source software comes in. With proprietary software being more costly in terms of speed of deployment, more enterprises turned to open-source software. Integrating open-source code accelerates software development. It makes information more democratised and thus allows a technically diverse group to develop applications rapidly. Many developers usually back open-source software, thus finding solutions to software problems and creating new applications much more straightforward.
“Until very recently, we’ve seen early adopters in edge computing building their own bespoke solution,” said Frank Zdarsky, a senior principal software engineer with Red Hat. “As part of this, they had to figure out some of the really fundamental problems of not only how to deploy compute and storage at the edge, but also how do you secure it? How do you do software updates? How do you manage at scale? These are all hard problems that were binding significant resources for them.”
Those problems have been largely addressed with edge solutions and services. Edge deployments have become commonplace enough that practically anything a company needs to accomplish has already been done by others, with best practices and software already developed. Even better, there is now an ecosystem of infrastructure companies that can offer expertise and guidance in all stages of staking out an edge location.
“Hello and welcome to seven layers where every episode we look at a different aspect of technology, from literal wires in the ground to switches and routers and all the way up to the exploding amount of smart devices around us.
I’m your host Connor Craven associate studios editor at SDxCentral. This week, we are continuing to look at open source technology. In just a moment, you’ll hear from Deb Bryant, senior director of the Open Source Program Office at Red Hat. If you haven’t listened to our last episode on open source tech, I highly recommend going back and giving it a listen before Deb and I began our conversation. I won’t delay you any longer, please sit back and enjoy my interview with Deb Bryant of Red Hat.”
RHEL 8.4 also is positioned for greater flexibility for cloud applications, with a more “holistic” view of subscription deployment and reporting via Red Hat Insights Subscriptions and improved support for Red Hat Cloud Access.
RHEL serves as the foundation of the Red Hat Edge initiative, which is intended to extend capabilities of the Red Hat hybrid cloud portfolio to the edge, supporting applications from telecommunications and transportation to enterprise devices and smart automobiles.
Simply, open source software is software that is licensed in a way that allows people to freely use, study, modify, and distribute the software. These open source licenses differ greatly from proprietary software licenses, where only the original owner can copy, alter, or distribute the software.
Since open source refers to a wide variety of software programs, the use cases vary greatly. However, a Red Hat open source enterprise report found open source software is critical to infrastructure networks.
95% of respondents said open source software was strategically important to the enterprise’s overall infrastructure strategy, up from 89% in 2019. Only 42% of respondents report using proprietary software, down from 55% in 2019 and respondents expect that to keep falling — this number is expected to be down to just 32% in two years.
Open source software has been a key underpinning of enterprise IT for years, so it’s no surprise that it’s helping to drive the infrastructure part of the equation forward just as much as application development.
Some projects are much more influential than others, and here are five that are doing the most to help enterprise infrastructure keep pace with the demands of an ever-more sophisticated operating environment.
- Linux itself
Market forces, limits of scaling and the emergence of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence have fueled the rise of open source hardware. Still, as this EE Times Special Project demonstrates, physical, legal and economic barriers remain as a fledgling group of open source advocates and a handful of commercial vendors seek to democratized hardware design.
Those proponents and early adopters have focused their energies on reduced instruction set computing, the foundational RISC architecture that emerged from the University of California at Berkeley in the 1980s. RISC has seeded the beginnings of an ecosystem extending beyond processor technology to include open interconnects, network and, ultimately, open computing.
As with open source software, key chip makers are eyeing the open hardware movement. Some perhaps with trepidation as semiconductor scaling runs out of steam and monster GPUs and CPUs accelerators approach the end of the line, giving way to new heterogeneous devices and chiplets.
Open-source software developers make software available for free, hoping users will then pay for add-ons like enterprise-grade features or tech support. Programmers can modify, share or create new applications from the underlying source code without paying licensing fees. Android is an example of open-source software as are the Linux operating systems, the Firefox browser, the platform that supports digital currency Ether and the Python computer language.
Cloud-native solutions are the future of software because they enable organizations to unlock the true promise of the cloud. But in order to truly do that, software needs to be open source. Not only does open-source software give organizations access to powerful communities of contributors, it also lets them build the perfect tool for the job while retaining complete control over their security requirements.
“Open source plays a vital, pivotal role in almost all digital trends driving any industry sector today,” Schrader said. “Cloud computing or containerization is rooted in open source technology, many development libraries are open source, and the market for open source solutions has been a model for servitization; the changes in one’s business model away from selling a product to selling a service, or an integration of service, and product that focus on additional value-add for the customer.”