Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Enterprise Architecture: Participating in Open Source
The funny thing is that they want to contribute to open source for financial reasons but still have closed media relations policies which don't allow them to talk about their approach. Of course, my advice was to address the ability to talk about things as the first priority as this is more important than us enterprisey folks actually writing code.
Likewise, I suggested that the problem with open source is not in having enough software developers but in the lack of good comprehensive documentation to make products usable by the masses and therefore contribution at this level should also be considered.
Finally, I hinted at the problem-space that many enterprise architects who go down this path will run into. Simply, while EA's who want to give back to the community are handcuffed by their peers who rely on metrics and the industry analysts who guide them. Sooner or later, someone will stand up and say: How many other enterprises are doing this? Since no industry analyst firm regardless of size has enough integrity to even research this question, you need to figure out this answer for yourself. I did however suggest that she check out the fine work by the folks at Duke Energy, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, JPMChase, Boeing, GM and Bank of America.
Anyway, here are the top five projects that I recommend:
- Liferay Enterprise Portal: I personally know of six different Fortune enterprises within my own vertical that is using this software and about twenty or so in other Fortune verticals. Having a unified role-based user interface helps with compliance, usability and security while increasing potential for scale
- Alfresco: The problem space of managing content is huge yet most enterprises aren't paying much attention to it as the software in this space is expensive and while full of features doesn't have the capabilities that enterprises desire in terms of security, identity and management. This approach could allow you to gain a handle on a problem space you previously couldn't have afforded.
- Intalio: The word BPM is abused even more so than web 2.0, agile or even innovation! BPM has a bigger potential for productivity game than approaches such as Ruby on Rails and allows you to reduce costs by eliminating developers in exchange for higher-order configurability.
- Hercules: Imagine the ability to run a mainframe on commodity Intel machines? While I would not encourage such an approach for production, I would seriously noodle it in a disaster recovery situation and to offload CPU cycles from test complexes. Even James Governor would appreciate such notions...
- ServiceMix: This is an up and coming enterprise service bus that supports standards such as BPEL, XACML and JBI, something of which many of the so-called leaders in this space today don't. You won't find them listed in Gartner's magic quadrant nor Forrester's wave but you will shortly...
If there are other open source projects I should have recommended, please do not hesitate to trackback. In the meantime, I will be starting a campaign to get Jon Udell of Infoworld to get these products into the Infoworld test labs to openly compete against closed-source proprietary vendors...