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Ahana 2023 Predictions: Public Cloud Providers to Invest More in Open Source Software, and Contribute Back!


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

Public Cloud Providers to Invest More in Open Source Software, and Contribute Back!

By Steven Mih, Cofounder and CEO, Ahana

Public cloud providers like AWS are going to make huge investments in open source software in the next year. They will do this to differentiate themselves from the competition, and also to give back to the community. This will benefit both the providers and the open source software communities, as it will drive more innovation and collaboration.

As open source software becomes more prevalent, public cloud providers such as AWS are investing heavily in its advancement. Open source is an efficient way to rapidly deliver well-known services to customers on their cloud platform, thereby facilitating more cloud usage. Although beneficial for customers, certain open source providers of projects have strongly argued that the cloud services are not playing their part in the advancement of the project, even dubbing it "strip mining". MongoDB is a noteworthy illustration of this issue. They changed from a permissive Apache 2.0 license to avoid service providers from offering services utilizing their newer releases, which broke the mining equipment as a result. Elastic's experience with AWS was comparable--in response, AWS spawned OpenSearch last year. This experience opened the eyes of all stakeholders--users and developers alike. Some users had to suffer through an even more locked-in environment due to a decrease in competitive compatible offerings, while developers understood that 'open source' doesn't always mean it's open forever. The events brought about by these realizations have led many companies to look for truly open source projects, ones that they themselves can join and partly control. For public cloud providers, this is not just a matter of maintaining good press; they must also gain recognition in the project by investing and contributing back to it if they wish to secure a seat at the table. Such contributions will undoubtedly earn them considerable merit within these communities.

The Linux Foundation Presto open source project is an exemplary case in which AWS contributes. They offer both the traditional clustered version of Presto, through their EMR service, and a serverless version with Athena v2. ( Moreover, they have a dedicated committer and other developers who contribute to the Presto project by submitting regular Pull Requests.

The balance between open source software and public cloud providers remains central to the development of the modern information technology landscape. Increasingly, enterprise IT departments demand fairness and open governance when it comes to the adoption of cloud based solutions. Open source software is a central component in this process, enabling freedom-to-choose while also providing cost savings compared to proprietary software solutions. Ultimately, organizations must balance the concerns of price-performance, agility, lock-in, and governance when considering how best to leverage open source software in conjunction with public cloud providers.

Given this, public cloud providers are more and more inclined to embrace and contribute back to the community. AWS is already a major contributor to the open source ecosystem, and they will continue to make massive investments in open source software over the next year. By building bridges between cloud providers and open source communities, AWS stands to benefit from increased exposure, more satisfied customers, and most importantly, bringing value back to the community it serves.

We predict this trend to continue across all the major cloud providers, as other public cloud providers are sure to follow suit and make large investments in open source software, investing deep in their development and making more contributions back to the community than ever before. It is important that developers remain aware of this movement as open source projects become even more closely intertwined with the growth of the public cloud.

In an effort to remain in good standing with the community, we anticipate that cloud vendors will increasingly opt for open-sourcing internal projects. Donating their own projects can bolster their market presence, and open the door for potential collaborations that align with their broad cloud goals. For instance, Firecracker is a micro-VM technology that was developed and made available by AWS developers to power their serverless services like AWS Lambda. A few of the many open source projects they provide originated from fulfilling internal requirements - take Firecracker, as an example. Here's their github which includes both AWS originated projects and others. We should anticipate this trend to persist for an extended period of time as open source software continues its takeover of the IT industry.



Steven Mih, Cofounder and CEO, Ahana


Steven brings over twenty years of experience in sales, business development, and marketing of enterprise technology solutions to Ahana. In addition to his role of CEO, Steven is a Presto Foundation Board Member. Prior to Ahana, Steven was the former CEO of Alluxio and Aviatrix. His multifaceted go-to-market experience spans leading additional organizations including Couchbase, Transitive, and Cadence Design Systems. Steven started his career as a Field Sales Engineer at AMD. Steven holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UC San Diego.

Published Friday, December 30, 2022 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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