Open Source IT governance: Nora Denzel opinion

Dave Rosenberg met Nora Denzel, former Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Software Global Business Unit of Hewlett Packard, to talk about IT operations management and open source’s role in the space.

Worldwide IT operations management total software revenue grew to $9.9 billion dollars in 2005, where US holds about 48% of the overall market.

Rosenberg asked her what role does she see open source solutions playing in the IT infrastructure space:

Obviously, there’s a significant cost savings with open source solutions compared to proprietary tools. And as most mid-market organizations (including educational institutions) can’t afford to shop at the “Big 4” (HP OpenView, IBM Tivoli, CA Unicenter, and BMC Patrol) store, it opens up a big market opportunity for open source. Add to that the flexibility and extensibility of open source products that allow companies to “right-size” and customize their IT monitoring and management solutions to fit their specific needs. Being able to do this at a low cost had been a pipe dream for SMB’s and smaller enterprises, since most of the solutions out there cater to the largest enterprises with the deepest pockets. The availability of open source options is changing that.

When it comes to IT monitoring and management personalization play an important role, and tipically any need fits “the 80-20 rule” the other way around: common needs fit the 80% of cases and 20% of resources are needed to fulfill them, but to cover the remaining 20% of cases you need 80% of the resources.

Rosenberg then asked her what does she think about the future of open source in this space:

[..] Inevitably, as customers realize the commoditization effect of IT infrastructure monitoring due to the economic disruption of open source alternatives, the large proprietary vendors will follow suit by focusing on the upper layers of IT operations management, where prices are protected and open source alternatives are not ready for prime time. Open source IT infrastructure monitoring solutions can then serve as feeders to the upstream proprietary solutions.

In the long run probably open source alternatives will be progressively moving on upper layers too, because common based peer production works well where customization (the 20% of cases) play an important role, as this is the case.