NOWHERE are we seeing more open source and collaborative development than in cloud computing.
From software-defined networking to application development, containers and more, hundreds of open cloud projects are emerging to accelerate the development of transformative technologies that deliver products and services on demand, at the click of a button.
Open source and collaborative development have been proven time and time again to increase the rate of development and to result in better software.
The impact on the IT industry of these development practices for the cloud is a much faster evolution of the enterprise in the cloud era than any other time in the technology industry's history.
The industrial revolution took decades to mature with proprietary designs and pending patents for machinery, while the computer hardware era of the 1950s and 1960s didn't materialise for the average business until the 1980s and 1990s.
We know that today computers and information technologies double their capabilities every 12-18 months. Open source software and collaborative development are driving this cycle.
The Linux kernel's rate of development, for example, is unmatched. The latest data tells us that nearly eight changes are made to Linux every hour and that it's being built faster than ever before.
Projects like OpenStack, Cloud Foundry, CloudStack, Docker and others are using the same practices to move increasingly fast.
As a result, we've transitioned in just the past few years from cloud computing as a concept to a real driver for the way we do business at light speed.
In 2013, most cloud projects were still working out their core enterprise features and building in functionality. Enterprises were still in the early stages of planning and testing their public, private and hybrid clouds.
Cloud projects today are showing major increases in their user and developer communities with lines of code and commits on the rise, while enterprises are moving past testing to deployment throughout the stack.
As stated in the Linux Foundation's 2015 Open Cloud Directory: "If 2014 was the year that enterprises started executing their cloud strategies, 2015 will be the year that enterprise developers and applications begin a wholesale migration to the cloud and companies take another step towards delivering web-scale IT."
But if the impact of open cloud technologies on IT is faster development of new technologies, how do we keep up? How do we keep track of all the new, emerging open source projects, and how do we know which ones matter?
The Open Cloud Directory I referred to above aims to help. It profiles a variety of projects that are advancing cloud computing, are well supported and have increasingly vibrant developer communities.
Benchmarks for inclusion in the directory include the project's origins, number of
contributors, age of the projects, number and frequency of commits, diversity of contributions, exposure, demonstrated enterprise use, and expert opinions from the open source community.
We hope these criteria can help developers and businesses determine where to invest their resources to advance their business strategies as fast as these projects are being built. µ
Jim Zemlin is executive director of the Linux Foundation.
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