Open source: A catalyst for modernization & innovation  

By | 3 minute read | January 12, 2021

From time to time, we invite industry thought leaders to share their opinions and insights on current technology trends to the IBM Servers & Storage blog. The opinions in these posts are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of IBM. 

With any true progress there needs to be real collaboration. That adage rings true in most disciplines of sciences and business, and it also defines the use of open source for IT development and innovation.   

In our budding digital era, open source platforms allow for the evolutionary, optimal and secure integration of new tech and new applications into existing infrastructure. Open-source collaboration has many proven advantages including greater engagement by developers, which leads to more productivity, flexibility, and cutting-edge innovation at lower costs. It is all about community. A diverse developer ecosystem, combined with the tenets of open source; open licenses, open governance, and open standards are helping guide the quality, performance and modernization of IT.  

Historically, open-source collaboration has led to scalable and more secure applications for computing, especially via Linux (still the choice of most code development), Java, Node.js, and other enterprise platforms. IBM has been a trailblazer when it comes to the use and encouragement of open source. Over the years, IBM has helped create and lead the Linux Foundation, Apache Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, Cloud Foundry, Docker (with Google), Open Stack (infrastructure-as-a-service), OpenWhisk (serverless platform) that have served as vibrant catalysts for the developer community. 

Open-source platforms are also impacting emerging tech practice areas of artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things, deep learning and quantum computing. Looking forward to Industry 4.0, IBM has become a force in directing the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (Kubernetes), Hyperledger (blockchain), CODAIT (the Center for Open Source, Data and AI Technology), MAX (Model Asset Exchange for deep learning), MQTT (leading protocol for connecting IoT devices), and Qiskit, an opensource quantum computing framework. The recent acquisition of Red Hat will continue to elevate IBM as a leader in existing and future open-source communities, especially in the areas of microservices and automation. Learn more here.  

Open source as a catalyst for modernization & innovation 

For business, open source is a catalyst for orchestration in an environment where data and applications are often in multiple locations including the cloud, multicloud, hybrid cloud, and mainframes. Agile open-source platform cocreation enables legacy and new systems to support digital business interface that span the entire IT landscape wherever data and applications may reside. In a nutshell, open source offers the best of on premises to your digital enterprise as a service in the cloud. 

Open-source platforms are made to be inclusive for communities which need shared tools. An open box toolbox can act as an adaptive enabler, allowing IT teams to flourish. An open-source toolbox is fundamental for programmers and IT managers and includes a variety of utilities including technology refreshes, compression algorithms, cryptography libraries, development tools and languages.   

Each year, these toolboxes continue to grow in applications and capabilities stimulated by an active and transparent developer community. This transparency is also helpful to cybersecurity as cocreation in code development can help catch and fix bugs throughout the collaborative process. Developers can analyze every bit of source code that may pose risk and remove it. You have a whole community of eyes watching over security threats that can offer effective cybersecurity tools.   

Over the years, open source has led to seismic improvements in IT planning and decision making. Open source will continue to play an integral role in the future as IT infrastructures are modernized by tomorrow’s investments. Open source is a contributing catalyst for innovation as we address the challenges of the digital era.  

IBM recently hosted am open-source webinar featuring industry experts Bola Rotibi, Research Director at CCS Insight, and Elizabeth Stahl, Distinguished Engineer at IBM Garage. The webinar explores the technologies, processes, and C-Suite budget decisions that are required to build and maintain digital applications, and how they are accelerated through open-source platforms. The webinar also reveals how open-source platforms serve as a value differentiator because they allow for user feedback and rapid integration of improvements. 

Working together, IT teams can deliver less risky products that can often be a competitive advantage to a business or organization. Open-source collaboration removes barriers to innovation, incorporates skill sets and instills trust.   

>> For a deep dive into the business capabilities of open-source platforms and how they fuel IT modernization, be sure to watch “Secrets from the C-Suite: Modernizing IT with Open Source.”