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Open source projects play a leading role in top technology trends that are reshaping IT: Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, SUSE

In a conversation with Express Computer, Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Country Head, SUSE mentions what role open-source can play for CIOs, and how Linux systems will have access to every available security fix

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Software-Defined Everything (SDx) is changing the way businesses are strategised, managed and operated. How are Indian customers taking this up?
Indian companies use both traditional as well as software-defined IT, because co-existence makes more sense for them. SDx looks as a promising trend in the coming years and will definitely change the way businesses are strategised, managed and operated. We have travelled half way through, but it is likely to take a few more years to play out well in the enterprise area.

With technological advancements happening rapidly, businesses look for ways that are more flexible and dynamic. SDx, which includes Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC) and Software-Defined Storage (SDS), is rapidly driving the growth in the software defined market. Dynamic provisioning of networking resources, unified cloud resources, reduced operational costs, and easy Quality of Service (QoS) implementations, are a few other factors.

Today, OpenStack is the top choice for anyone looking for a private cloud platform. Ceph is the ideal SDS solution to help change the economics of storage. For containerised or cloud-native applications, Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry have quickly become open-source’s leading lights.

Please explain the role of Kubernetes in implementing DevOps to accelerate software delivery with container; how is Kubernetes changing the DevOps space?
Containers and Kubernetes together are well-suited and accepted by enterprises and are prompting an extensive shift in the DevOps space. It’s been almost over six years that Containers came into existence – a technology that offers a standard packaging format and run-time for multi-component applications. Organisations that have been leveraging the benefits of Containers are finding Kubernetes even more exciting. Organisations find it difficult to control containers at cluster scale and look for specialised software tools that can allow cluster management. Kubernetes, an open source container orchestrator, is one such tool and there are several reasons backing up its popularity compared to others.

Kubernetes represents the hard work of skilled engineers for building and maintaining the largest container platform. Its design is built on over 10 years of operational experience of the Google engineers. Kubernetes is receiving an outstanding open-source community and industry support. The project has recorded a large active user base from developer community, global enterprises, IT and cloud providers amongst all other container orchestration solutions. Today, businesses, IT enterprises, SMEs and start-ups are adopting container technology and Kubernetes at fast-pace.

Kubernetes supports a wide spectrum of workloads, programming languages and frameworks, enabling stateless, stateful, and data-processing workloads; and making Kubernetes flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide range of users and use cases.

Kubernetes enables businesses to leverage the potential of container technology and the operational reality by automating, simplifying and extending daily container management workflow. It automates the deployment, scaling, and management of applications in containers. It also supports large, distributed resource pools and application component redeployments. Being an OS solution, it provides the freedom to use it in on-premise cluster, a hybrid environment, or a public cloud. Kubernetes also lets you automatically, handle networking, storage, logs, alerting, etc for all your containers.

Do you believe that security is still a concern for organisations when it comes to Open Source?
We treat software security as a process that never ends. This means we promptly react to security incidents and deliver premium quality security updates; continuously improve the security-related functionality in SUSE products; continuously contribute to the rapidly growing maturity of Open Source Software; and we respect the Open Source Software security principles of openness, transparency and traceability.

Companies often think that open source is public and is more vulnerable to attacks than proprietary solutions, but we have realised that the malicious attacks in the past few years are not on open source. Potentially, in open source, more people look at the code and spot bug faster than proprietary. Secondly, an openly governed project creates an ethos of contributing back. Whenever a security flaw is found, it immediately gets reported and people subsequently fix it.

Businesses relying on commercially supported Linux systems will have access to every available security fix; unlike Windows, where we need to depend completely on the response of one company to provide timely security fixes and updates. As a lot of developers/code maintainers are involved, they ensure that Linux is up-to-date and must keep system secure and protected. Open source is not dependent on a single company/developer/coder with closed source code. Instead, it allows access to the worldwide community to get the best security fix available. Linux offers regular updates (kernel) to an almost daily list of security patches to provide strong security and enhanced system for its users.

CIOs today have a huge responsibility in enabling business to capitalise on market opportunities and simultaneously maximising value through cost savings. What role can Open Source can play?
Today, open source projects play a leading role in all the top strategic technology trends that are reshaping the IT world. According to Gartner, the business value derived from AI will be US$ 1.2 trillion this year. It is expected to have an impact everywhere, from customer support and chatbots to finance, research, machine learning, automating data centre operations and security. Going by the data, the need for the right infrastructure will be a priority for enterprises for leveraging the benefits of AI. As AI runs on data and many applications, it’s crucial for enterprises to opt for huge datasets and the compute capacity. Thereby, companies implement high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure and parallel processing to speed up AI applications as they turn high volumes of data into business value.

AI, ML, deep learning, predictive analytics, virtual assistants and chatbots and neural networks are among the hottest areas for technology research, thereby open source projects are playing a major role. TensorFlow, Caffe, H2O, Mahout, and MLlib are leading examples, but there are plenty of other options available as well.

Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing need a real-time OS that is simple, lightweight, lean on resources and low cost. IoT solutions have already made their positions cemented in almost every sector – from manufacturing, freight and transport, farming, asset management, smart infrastructure (homes, buildings, and cities), smart utilities (electricity, gas, and water) and even contextual marketing. When it comes to the moving processing and computes to the edge of the IoT network, SUSE OpenStack is proving popular for a distributed cloud model.

Companies who are concerned about Smart Contracts, identity and fraud management, anti-money laundering, legal and financial transactions, keeping personal records accessible and secure and security of IoT systems, need to leverage open source. Open source delivers some top-notch Blockchain technology options and platforms such as HyperLedger, Openchain, Ethereum, HydraChain (an extension of the Ethereum platform), Quorum and MultiChain.

Today SDS is becoming mainstream. What are the benefits it brings along; and what are the key trends that are impacting enterprise storage?

In the modern enterprise, the proliferation of data requires a change in how it is stored and managed. Real-time data requires responsive, and resource efficient systems that are always available. Software-Defined Infrastructure – designed to facilitate real-time data transactions – allows addition of new functionality, resources and storage whenever needed.

Cloud computing has now been around for more than two decades now. We are positive that spending on cloud computing and mobile IT solutions is going to slow down anytime soon. Cloud is the common factor linking most of the technology trends driving the IT industry. Presently, the move to SDx seems unstoppable and smartphones play a crucial role and have become the portal for the information and media-driven world around us.


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