Sunday, October 30, 2005

VON Magazine on The Open Source Craze

The October issues of VON Magazine (vol 3, No 10) features on its front page The Open Source Craze (p58).

Doug Mohney reviews the state of Open Source in IP Communications today. He cites Irwin Lazar at the Burton Groupis whos recent survey shows that 5-6% of the companies looking at VoIP are interested in Open Source solutions.

The biggest challange is apparently to get community projects in front of big enterprises. Competing against Nortel, Cisco, Avaya with infinitely bigger marketing budgets is an obstacle. Another factor is migration path from existing legacy systems. OSS projects tend to be all or nothing or do it yourself.

The article argues that OSS VoIP will pick up as big names line up behind it. The comparison is with Linux, which gained traction in the business world after IBM started offering professional level support.

I tend to agree with these arguments as I have been able to witness them first hand on a number of very popular OSS projects.

Fortunately for the Mobicents community, the project is backed by big names both among telco operators and telco vendors. Portugal Telecom, Vodafone R&D, Lucent Technologies, and Aepona are among them. Some started piloting professional support for their products labeled "Powered By Mobicents".

The technology Mobicents builds on - JSLEE is designed to accomodate legacy systems. There have already been developed adaptors for proprietary telecom protocols such as SS7, which can be wired with SIP and XMPP applications running in the Mobicents environment.

I will try to clarify these facts with Doug and we will hopefully see a follow up article in the near future that adds more color to the picture.

It is interesting to hear other opinions on this subject. Do you think OSS stands a chance in IP Communications? Post a comment.

1 comment:

Drew Lippolt said...

I dont see any other outcome. When you can add enterprise or carrier grade supportability to high levels of:

-- compatibility
-- extensibility
-- customizability

yet maintain low:

-- cost of ownership
-- cost of implementation

people managing risk will start to switch. The main threat in my mind was someone pulling off a national level service on the cheap (vonage, etc.) with good quality and better sla adherence.

Since that service hasn't emerged, the do-it-yourself community has had time to mature to the point that "Real" businesses have emerged, offering up single throats to choke for voip implementations.

Now its just a waiting game for market adoption.