Enterprise Linux Log

Apr 4 2007   9:37AM GMT

IBM’s second annual open source analyst meeting


Take one multi-billion dollar company, add a sprinkling of inquisitive analysts and a smattering of open source software, and you’ll have the annual IBM open source analyst briefing, which happened last week.

Analyst Joe Clabby, who’s spoke with SearchEnterpriseLinux.com in the past about topics like Xen paravirtualization, attended the event and came back armed with 30-odd pages of notes.

The takeaway? That IBM had firmed up its message from one year ago, and was decidedly more serious this time around about filling “gaps” in its support of open source software.

According to Clabby (who was writing for Charles King’s Pund-IT Review), some of last year’s gaps included:

  • IBM’s open source business/revenue models were a little “tenuous”;
  • The fiercely independent open source community had yet to indicate that it wanted large, commercial vendor involvement in their initiatives;
  • There were large infrastructure-related holes that needed to be filled;
  • Customer buying preferences were not clearly understood;
  • IBM and other commercial vendors needed to prove that they could all play well together in the open source sandbox – especially when it came to building common standards to support open source initiatives

But things have firmed up a bit this year, Clabby said, and had gone from “mushy” to firm with the help of a few panel sessions:

  • One of the panels had four business partners willing to speak about IBM’s efforts in open source. On this panel I asked each partner to describe his open source business/revenue model. To my surprise, I found four different models [one software as a service (SAS) approach; one SAS wannabe; one user-based pricing; and one custom-based pricing]. In short, there appear to be about eight or ten valid models for deriving revenue in the open source space – and IBM’s business partners – as well as IBM are using several of them.
  • In addition to panel discussions, IBM presented 16 sub-sessions related to open source including open communities; the impact of Web 2.0; application server progress; software delivery models; small/midsized business initiatives; systems/storage management; real-time Linux, grids, and more. Suffice it to say, that IBM is very, very active in many, many aspects and areas of open source computing.
  • IBM is placing a lot of emphasis on creating turnkey, replicable, branded system/application/server products to simplify market delivery of its open source solutions

Exciting times at IBM for open source.

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