Oct 15 2008

Let the customer choose where to buy lunch from !

Matt Asay is pushing his favorite Open Source model again. The model where the majority of developers of a project work for a company and that company is creating a business around the project. There's nothing wrong with that model, but he seems to forget the other models time over time :)

Matt is absolutely right with 2 of the 3 things he wants you to consider.
A SI in the middle of a $50 million dollar project involving Alfresco not talking to Alfresco is just wrong. An SI not offering a support contract is also just wrong. But an SI forcing his customer to buy the commercially supported version from a vendor ? Where's the customer choice ?

The customer should have the option to choose for a commercially supported version or the free version. And preferably that should be an educated option.

Matt seems to forget about situations where an Open Source project is not managed by one central organization , by one company that contributes most of the code. What companies are in charge of Apache, Linux (and don't reply RedHat here), Xen (No it's not Citrix anymore) , Samba , and lots of others.

If you were in Australia why wouldn't you get a MySQL support contract from Arjen Lenz ? Even if he didn't have MySQL Partner Certification ?

If you were in Germany , as a Centos or even RHEL user would you want to get your critical Samba Support from some support guy at RedHat or from some German guy at a local shop

If Michael Badger were in the SI business , would he be a good partner to support your Zenoss setup ?

3 totally different cases, the ex-employee, the developer not employed by a vendor, the guy who wrote the book.

Not all Open Source projects are backed by 1 clearly identifyable company, lots of open source developers work at SI's and they might be a better source for a specific project than a vendor that just integrated their product.

Worse even .. I've seen tons of traditional SI's jump on the Open Source wagon, by working only with the Commercially backed Open Source tools, as if they were proprietary software. Obviously the commercial Open Source vendors love these SI's they are the best resellers , and probably the worst integrators.

So Matt, please remember, there is more open source on this planet than your corporate backed open source, I haven't seen figures , but my bet would be that the corporate backed part is the smallest one.

In the end the most important thing is that the customer has got to have the educated choice between the locally supported opensource alternative , or the locally supported opensource alternative with commercial backing ..

But then again , it might be the European vs US vision however :)

Sep 29 2008

Zenoss, the Book , the review

As mentioned earlier , Packt sent me their Zenos Core Network and Systems Monitoring by Michael Badger to review.

So I spend the past couple of weeks trying to crawl my way trough it. Not that there was any problem with the book, more with my schedule :) I was hoping to finish it some time ago but time was working against me, even last week when my flight back from Zurich was a bit shorter than planned I couldn't finish reading the book.

But yesterday I managed, Michael managed to write a good book on a hot topic during what was probably one of the most busy of his life.

In 8 chapters Michael manages to explain the different aspects of Zenoss fairly well, he even touches the creation of ZenPacks and extending Zenoss in general also.

It was a fairly good read and showed me a couple of new insights into Zenoss.

However although Zenoss is heavily SNMP based there is little information on SNMP in general and MIB more in detail ? People really new to systems monitoring might want to have a couple of more pages on these topics.

For those not familiar to Zope the mentioning of TALES expressions might also raise some eyebrows, luckily there has been a full Appendix dedicated to it.

Time permitting I would have hoped he could of gone a bit more in detail on creating a ZenPack that did a bit more than checking the status of a page. Looking into the status of an Apache or MySQL or other relevant daemon , or the Squid internal statistics

But if you are new to Zenoss and you want to have a quick headstart into monitoring your infrastructure with it this book is a really really good start.

There's a free preview Chapter at Scribd.com and also at Packt

Sep 24 2008

Systems management, what will happen when the VCs want their money ?

Tarus is happy not to have VC's on his back. He doesn't want to be responsible for turning a 15 Milj investment into a 150 Milj cashout. Others chose to go that way.

Back when he wrote the article the chances were small that he already knew that Qlusters was going to be shut down with still sooo much money in the bank, but the VC's wanted it back.

So how do open source companies plan on making those tenfold roi reality.
Apart from selling out to a bigger company I think thats a very difficult task.
Especially when you keep in mind how to manage both the Open Source community and your customers. The figures he mentions that VC's require surely start pushing vendors into violating Fabrizio Capobianco rules.

Now the story changes when indeed you cn go to a model where you are selling a large scalable service to your customers, even with microsized payments it becomes a possibility, but that's a totally different business model from what e.g. the Open source systems management shops are doing .

So will the Zenoss, Hyperics or the Groundworks of this world survive the demands of their VC

Luckily these projects are Open Source, so when the company dissapears, the project can continue, and grow even better. Like openQRM did

Sep 10 2008

Zenoss Core Network and System Monitoring , the Book

Harish Kumaresh from Packt wrote me last week to ask if I wanted to review their Zenoss Core book

The package arrived today ..

So I`ll try to free up some time asap to actually read it :)

PS. Yeah I know, the pictures are is so "Dries", but I like the concept :)

Aug 26 2008

Matt Rechenburg of openQRM gets Interviewed

Ostatic interviews my good friend Matt Rechenburg of openQRM fame

There is one part however where I think we need to elaborate ..
In the Question about the closest alternatives Matt replies "There are some projects like Virtual Iron and Zenoss which are focusing on the same tasks as openQRM. Now I have to disagree about Zenoss being in the same area as openQRM , But Zenoss.. totally different product , not even remotely close to what openQRM does. Zenoss is a competitor to Nagios, HypericHQ , Zabbix etc. You could have an Zenoss plugin in openQRM , just as you can have a Nagios or Hyperic HQ plugin for it . We have presented about these different technologies earlier this year at OLS. And you can still vote for your favorite tool.

Competition for openQRM to me is Enomalism, openNebula, Eucalyptus , with that difference that they don't do Physcial machines.
All of the Enomalsm, Nimbus , openNebula, OS Circular etc projects are focussing on managing Virtual Machines deploying them over the network . with that difference that they have or support an API to talk to and they are al rebranding to the overhyped Cloud terminology. They are all focussing on just a subset of wat openQRM is doing and that's where openQRM has the edge.. OpenQRM does more than just one type of Virtualization and it does more than just virtual machines. Because of the fact that it supports more than 1 Virtualization platform it also comes with a complementary P2V and V2V migration toolkit. Apart from that it integrates (Virtual) Machine Management with other tools and gives you a dashboard to work from .

The 451 group has some more insights about the growth of openQRM since Qlusters set it free , seems like both the downloads and the traffic for at SF.net since the changes are up. Obviously the community likes the new openQRM approach, and so do I ;)

Aug 25 2008

Where are the Virtualization Zenpacks ?

Zennoss has announced the entries for their zenpack contest . What strikes me is that there is not a single entry that plans on monitoring Xen, KVM, VirtualBox or any of the other Open Source virtualization technologies .. Not in the contest entries and not in the existing community packs .

This sounds like a big opportunity to me :)

Jul 25 2008

OLS 2008 Presentation

So Tom and I just finished our Systems Monitoring Shootout talk here at OLS 2008.

The talk was fairly wel attended and gained a lot of hallway afterchatter. (We ran almost out of time so we took the Q&A in the Hallway so the next speaker could start his talk).

I've placed the presentation online already for your viewing pleasure ..

The Vote for your favourite monitoring tool is still open so please vote !

While here in Ottawa we got news that our talk was also selected for the upcoming Nagios conference in Germany in September.. so Tom will be presenting it there again.
Most probably with even more findings !

Anyway .. back to the conference now .. trying to catch up with my other writings :)

Jul 20 2008

Linux Symposium

As Tom and I will be heading to Ottawa for OLS Tomorrow you can expect some active blogging here this week..

That is if we can manage to find quality Wifi and our batteries last long enough..
before we find power :)

Anyway .. I`ll be heading to the Virtualization Mini Summit on tuesday, and then of to the big conference.

I`ll be presenting twice, once on the miniconf about openQRM4 and Tom and I will be presenting our findings comparing different monitoring tools such as Nagios, Hyperic, Zabbix , Zenoss and others at OLS itselve.

But don't hesitate to talk to me about other interresting topics such as MySQL or Drupal :)

Now first we have to cross a couple of borders, and an ocean :)

Jul 10 2008

Fired because of Open Source

When Dana Blankenhorn asked yesterday if Open Source was one of the reasons why Diane Greene was fired at VMWare I had to smile a bit .. obviously the economy is changing and Open Source is a real competitor to proprietary software ... but to fire the CEO , nah .

Firing developers that are working on an almost obsolete product however is a relevant thing to do. IBM just let go 150 , 30 of which in their Tivoli department.

Tools such as Tivoli, HP OpenView (what were they smoking when they chose that name) , and others are obviously feeling the heat from opensource. With frameworks such as Nagios and tools such as Zabbix, Zenoss and HypericHQ their fate has been written already .

Apr 21 2008

Big Four, Little Four`

With Qlusters being "removed" from the Little 4 list I think there is room for a new 4th contender.
My vote is on either Reductive Labs or Zabbix.

Where is your vote ?