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How to Save $10 Million Dollars While Staring into the Abyss

By John | October 27, 2008

If you are an IBM enterprise customer it is now time to come to the aid of your fellow enterprise. Quit whining about how management will never accept open source. Now is no time to be shy. Go ahead and try and save your company $10 million dollars, how can it hurt. The truth is that most of the open source solutions are very mature and can be supported with enterprise support. Here is my suggestion for saving your company $10 million dollars.

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Topics: abyss, other, theabyss | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “How to Save $10 Million Dollars While Staring into the Abyss”

  1. p-brane Says:
    October 27th, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    As always, interesting post, John. I enjoy reading your blog.

    I would say the main thing missing in this open source hydra is the framework for tying it all together… which, as you well know, is why IBM sells so much Tivoli.

    The problem with many Tivoli deployments being it was a miracle if the integration promised was actually ever deployed and you needed a staff of consultants to maintain it. Under the right circumstances, I guess you could ROI this, but why should one have to or even need to.

    My opinion is that it’s not because each Tivoli product wasn’t good software (most are great software), it was to difficult because the framework was complex and so tightly coupled that each integrated deployment was a completely new solution. And, because none of that work was contributed back to a community that could reuse it and maintain it, it had to be repeated. We’ve each witnessed projects that to years to fail.

    OpenNMS has independently worked with Hyperic, ZipTie, Consursive, OTRS, and a few others developing integrations in response to customer demand and community contribution. There is also the OSA, and while its goals are exciting, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of momentum (we’ve actually provided demos of our integrations for them). I believe this is because it is not a user driven entity and more geared towards open source marketing… which is okay… it just needs a lot of push. Just my opinion, no OSA flame, please!

    We started efforts a couple of times to follow up with this work on the OSA banner so users could have a certified integration, but I think it fizzled because no user community was driving us to do it. Also, a comprehensive integration framework is probably beyond their reach and not in their charter. Their roadmap points to common user interface and single sign-on. Which would, actually, be quite nice.

    Recognizing the fact that even our integrations are based completely on our own APIs (tightly coupled), we’ve started working with the Telemanagement Forum ( and NGOSS’ new interfaces program (TIP).

    The new integration APIs are more going to be more SOAish. However, contextually, what is exciting about this standard is that we’ve volunteered and proposed a charter to run the implementation team (RI team) using an open source methodology. The charter was accepted! We think that this is mainly due, mainly, to the fact that the service providers and equipment vendors are wanting to see open source reference implementations of these interfaces for reasons to great to fully document here.

    Where we were able to quickly do the integrations that we currently have with the other open source projects, we hope we can do the same in the specifications arena and give NGOSS a reasonable chance of success for service providers and enterprises, alike. As a matter of fact, our own Dr. Craig Gallen based his thesis on this theory.

    Anecdotally, we called Hyperic and Concursive after we had completed and delivered integration code and each expressed surprise that we were able to do it with out contacting them first. As Mathew Brozowki replied so matter of factly, “That’s what programmers do.”

    Perhaps we can up that $avings even more if we include a maintainable, standards based, open source glue.


  2. Alex UK Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Main question – does it makes cost of ownership lower?
    I have not worked with any of these products and I usually advocate towards linux solution, but I found out that cost of ownership/support/usage becomes an issue in organizations moving towards the open source products.

  3. John Says:
    October 28th, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    In some cases yes and others no. For example some of the Tivoli products have an extremely high cost of ownership. Even if the cost of ownership is a wash you can still save millions.


  4. Rich Sharples’ Blog » Blog Archive » Tab Sweep Says:
    October 29th, 2008 at 11:19 am

    [...] Willis has some advice on “How to Save $10 Million Dollars While Staring into the Abyss” by, among other things, replacing AIX with Linux and Websphere with JBoss. And that is precisely [...]

  5. Amit Says:
    October 30th, 2008 at 8:17 am

    I work for a company with 35k+ employees and i can certainly say that it works out great for Jboss and Alfresco options. We have been using them for around a year without much hassles.

  6. Abiade Qrios Says:
    November 5th, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    This is actually for real. The bank we were working with had replaces AIX with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Websphere with JBoss, Webspere MQ with JBOss Messaging, have JBoss ESB as a replacement. Alfresco is definitely on their wish list to replace MS sharepoint. The truth is they really did not care much about cost it was majorly a decision based on what performs better. It stunningly stable, flexible, secure and very cost effective for them to have these technologies running their core universal banking application.

  7. John Says:
    November 5th, 2008 at 2:15 pm


    Thanks for your great feedback.

  8. November Roundup | IT Management and Cloud Blog Says:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 11:23 am

    [...] How to Save $10 Million Dollars While Staring into the Abyss [...]