Open-source cloud platforms at the core of digital transformation
The digital revolution has profoundly changed the way IT contributes to the value creation of many businesses. Companies and governments across the world are now moving towards innovative, IT-driven systems, only to discover that those systems rely more than ever on an agile and scalable IT infrastructure.
At the same time, something that did not use to be at the core of most of their activities, IT, has taken center stage due to digital transformation, as cloud computing is the foundation of most new digital models. Many businesses and public administrations also wish to regain a certain degree of control over their IT technologies in order to better control their own value chain.
These two factors have resulted in open-source software (OSS) becoming an interesting alternative. This is because OSS is collaborative by design, and by mutualizing investments in the non-differentiating stacks, it frees up funds for the key business differentiators. OSS is natively collaborative, distributed, and standardized – attributes that are also key characteristics of the related cloud platforms.
By opening established markets, OSS fuels competition on those markets. As such, it strongly promotes innovation. However, the short history of IT has clearly shown that there is no IT panacea. Open source also has its drawbacks, especially when it comes to IT’s main nemesis, complexity. And it requires sufficient IT capacities and a good understanding of open-source communities and ecosystems.
Still, OSS is at the core of most of today’s infrastructure projects (networking, cloud, OS, etc.), and it dominates software development. Many of the major and most innovative cloud platforms are now open source-based, providing an agile, scalable infrastructure along with better control over the IT part of the value chain. For example, microservices and DevOps tools are almost entirely available from open-source communities.
Digital transformation needs a well-balanced approach that incorporates the best of open-source and proprietary software into cloud technologies, aimed at business innovation and collaboration. This also includes operational technologies (OT), which need to keep up with innovation to allow for the digital transformation of production systems. This new way of creating digital – IT-based – infrastructures has several spearheads: microservices, DevOps, and IoT platforms.