Archive for February 27, 2009

Open Source and SaaS are a great combination

Why Open Source SaaS will be the future?

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is becoming increasingly popular and vital to a business. In the recent times, Open Source software or open source development has greatly contributed to this trend. Open source has revolutionized the software business in enterprise, by dramatically lowering the cost of entry for software providers. Development tools and infrastructure components required to deliver software as a service are now mostly inexpensive or free. This has opened the software market to a much wider audience of developers who can now start companies and deliver their products for far less money than was required just a few years ago. In short, open source is making software cheaper in that it lowers barriers to entry and creates a more competitive market.

The greatest contribution of SaaS has been in tools like Google’s Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Apps etc which make collaboration cheaper and easier. It used to be that software was not released to the market until it was “ready;” however, SaaS products are typically developed in public long before they are formally released. SaaS Model exploits public beta testing and also could bring down your verification and quality expenses. This new mindset has been a significant change in the way companies develop software and it is the SaaS providers that have really lead this charge.

Real issue is, Enterprises are concerned with deployment times, and SaaS has certainly helped to reduce those.

Important thing to be noted is that SaaS is a fundamental shift in software delivery and that it will be the defining mechanism for delivering new software applications in the future. Open source is revolutionary, but not for the user as much as for the developer. The user wants simplicity, and SaaS provides that.

The paradigm shifts in computing history always is in the ease of use that change things. SaaS is a revolutionary deployment in the user’s access to powerful software. It will change everyone’s expectations about the complexity and accessibility of applications. That is what is revolutionary about it. Open source is a huge contribution to this shift, but mainly in its role as a development resource. It will not directly revolutionize user computing the way that SaaS will but it can be a great complement to SaaS. Most SaaS applications are developed using Open Source which makes them agile and cheap (or free in few cases).

There is already a trend, where SaaS and open source are coming closer or in fact they combine. This is a reality now. Best example is SugarCRM which is Open Source and available as SaaS.

crm_generations

Most notably, open source software must be downloaded and installed and maintained on the user’s premises. But if Open Source software gets the value proposition of SaaS, that it does not need to be installed for or maintained by the user. People will get both the power of open source as well as the ease of SaaS.

Open Source should embrace the easy deployment of SaaS and people can get wonderful deals.

Open Source projects like Open Office should also be deployed as SaaS. Many a times, people like the scope of collaborative participation in SaaS and tend to use Online Office suits like Google Docs or Thinkfree. Even though, Open Office offers a lot more features, people may tend to ignore since it needs to be installed on theirs computers etc.

Open Source Projects with Exceptionally Low Defect Density

Scan site along with Coverity Prevent, did an objective measure of static analysis defect density in popular Open Source projects. The analysis is based on the fact that previous reports from Microsoft has proven that static analysis can be an accurate predictor of defect density ( Source: Static Analysis Tools as Early Indicators of Pre-Release Defect Density, Microsoft Research ).

Static Analysis Defect Density is defined as the number of Coverity Prevent discovered defects per 1,000 lines of code in a given project or set of projects.

As part of this research, Coverity Prevent™, the industry leading static analysis tool, was made available to qualified open source software projects via the Scan website. Through the Scan site, open source developers can retrieve the
defects identified by Prevent analyses through a portal accessible only by qualified project developers. scan.coverity.com

By comparing the number of defects identified in the first analysis of each open source project to the number of defects found in the most recent analysis, Coverity measures the overall progress of participating open source projects at the Scan site.

Change in Defect Density Across All Open Source Projects

Based on the Scan 2006 Benchmark, the initial static analysis defect density averaged across participating projects is 0.30, or roughly one defect per 3,333
lines of code.

The current average number of individual defects per project, based on the Scan 2006 Benchmark (as of March 2008) is 283.49. Based on the consolidated results of the most recent analysis for each project, the current static analysis defect density averaged across all the participating projects is 0.25, or roughly one defect per 4,000 lines of code.

These findings represent an overall reduction of static analysis defect density across 250 open source projects of a total of 23,068 individual defects, lowering the average static analysis defect density in these open source projects by 16%.

Average Number of Defects

Initial Static Analysis Defect Density-Current Static Analysis Defect Density-

Certainly, there is a change in the defect density across various open source project. The findings represent an overall reduction of static analysis defect density across 250 open source projects of a total of 23,068 individual defects, lowering the average static analysis defect density in these open source projects by 16%.

Change_in_defet_density1

Frequency of Individual Code Defect Types

To provide insight into general trends regarding the frequency of specific defect types, consolidated totals across all open source projects are presented in the list table

  1. NULL Pointer Dereference: Number of Defects: 6,448 Percentage: 27.95%
  2. Resource Leak: Number of Defects:5,852 Percentage: 25.73%
  3. Unintentional Ignored Expressions: Number of Defects: Percentage: 2,252 9.76%
  4. Use Before Test (NULL): Number of Defects: 1,867 Percentage: 8.09%
  5. Buffer Overrun (statically allocated): Number of Defects: 1,417 Percentage: 6.14%
  6. Use After Free: Number of Defects: 1,491 Percentage: 6.46%
  7. Unsafe use of Returned NULL: Number of Defects: 1,349 Percentage:5.85%
  8. Uninitialized Values Read: Number of Defects: 1,268 Percentage:5.50%
  9. Unsafe use of Returned Negative: Number of Defects: 859 Percentage:3.72%
  10. Type and Allocation Size Mismatch: Number of Defects: 144 Percentage: 0.62%
  11. Buffer Overrun (dynamically allocated): Number of Defects: 72 Percentage: 0.31%
  12. Use Before Test (negative): Number of Defects: 49 Percentage: 0.21%

Projects with Exceptionally Low Defect Density

The site divides open source projects into rungs based on the progress each project makes in resolving defects. Projects at higher rungs receive access to additional analysis capabilities and configuration options. Projects are promoted as they resolve the majority of defects identified at their current rung.

Rung 0

The first rung is rung 0. At rung 0, a project has been built and analyzed by Coverity’s Scan infrastructure, but no representatives of the open source project have come forward for access to the analysis results. Projects progress to the next rung by selecting a set of official contacts to represent the project to Coverity

Currently there are 173 projects at Rung 0 – http://scan.coverity.com/rung0.html

Rung 1

The next rung is rung 1. At rung 1 and above, Coverity supplies a mailing list for developers to discuss analysis results, and to facilitate communication from Coverity about questions from the project or additional functionality being made available. Projects progress to the Rug 2 by reaching a reasonably low defect count in the basic issue types, appropriate for the size of the project code base.

Currently, there are 86 projets in Rung 1 – http://scan.coverity.com/rung1.html

Rung 2

The following projects are the projects with exceptionally low defect density and have advanced to Rung 2 of the Scan ladder.
Amanda
• NTP
OpenPAM
OpenVPN
• Overdose
• Perl
• PHP
• Postfix
• Python
Samba
• TCL

For details on defect density check http://scan.coverity.com/rung2.html

All of these projects eliminated multiple classes of potential security vulnerabilities and quality defects from their code on the Coverity Scan site. Because of their efforts to proactively ensure software integrity and security, organizations and consumers can now select these open source applications with even greater confidence.

Amanda’s developers fix over 40% of the Scan’s detected defects with a single reading of the Scan analysis for that issue. In the chart below, the red defects were RESOURCE LEAKs.

Amanda Chart

Over 75% of the defects Scan identified in Samba were fixed within two reviews of the Scan analysis. In the chart below, the blue defects were NULL DEREFERENCEs

samba_Chart1

Conclusion

Findings are based on analysis of over 55 million lines of code on a recurring basis from more than 250 open source projects, representing 14,238 individual project analysis runs for a total of nearly 10 billion lines of code analyzed:

The overall quality and security of open source software is improving – Researchers at the Scan site observed a 16% reduction in static analysis defect density over the past two years
Prevalence of individual defect types - There is a clear distinction between common and uncommon defect types across open source projects
Code base size and static analysis defect count - Research found a strong, linear relationship between these two variables
Function length and static analysis defect density - Research indicates static analysis defect density and function length are statistically uncorrelated
Cyclomatic complexity and Halstead effort – Research indicates these two measures of code complexity are significantly correlated to codebase size
False positive results - To date, the rate of false positives identified in the Scan databases averages below 14%

Source: scan.coverity.com

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Low cost, open routers are high on quality

Open Source Router technology is bringing innovation and affordability to the networking industry by leveraging open source technologies and the performance increases of x86-based processors. This open approach to routing and security has created customizable solutions that scale from the branch office to the service provider edge for a fraction of the cost of proprietary systems.

Traditional proprietary router vendors have invested a fortune developing new products based on custom designs, chipsets and boards. But this time-consuming process pulls proprietary vendors into a spiral of maintaining and supporting rapidly aging technologies that they cannot scrap due to inertia in aging technologies, argues ‘Case Communications’ Andrew Saoulis. Customers must therefore swallow poor performance and pay high prices to support custom development. Fortunately, a revolution experienced by desktop publishers, mainframe users and other technology segments is at hand.

vyatta

Benefits of open routers

  • Industry standard hardware – Open routers can be installed on traditional x86 systems.
  • Pricing – Significantly lower. sometimes as low as 1/4th of its proprietary counterpart. A sample price difference between Vyatta and Cisco is here
  • Performance – Performance can increase as the open routers are based on off the shelf available commodity hardware. Due to its cheap cost, every year, router H/W can be upgraded to the current industry standard hardware.
  • Open Source Software – There are open router community projects like XORP and Quagga (descendent of Zebra) become platforms for other open router vendors. Other vendors can download these router code, improve or assemble them into a separate router products which can be tested and provided to small and medium enterprises at a much lower cost. Advantage here is that, router technology, the OS on which it runs (Mostly Linux) are all open and evolve rapidly unlike the proprietary router technology.
  • No Software Licenses – vendors can easily and inexpensively include all software with the hardware, without additional cost to themselves or users.
  • Flexibility – Organizations can easily modify the router, Linux operating system to meet their specific needs. Unlike proprietary platforms, Linux users can choose from thousands of software of software packages to add to commodity routers.

There are many Open Source routers out there in the markets, some of the very famous are;

  • Vyatta – Vyatta offers low cost open routers either based on x86 PC hardware or with their own, high performance, H/W appliance. It supports a lot of router protocols, firewall, intrusion detection etc. Advantage is Vyatta offers a good customer support.
  • XORP – XORP is the industry’s only Extensible Open Router Platform. It is being used by many worldwide, with thousands of downloads by companies and educational institutions and an active international developer community. Designed for extensibility from the start, XORP provides a fully featured platform that implements IPv4 and IPv6 routing protocols and a unified platform to configure them. It is the only open source platform to offer integrated multicast capability. XORP’s modular architecture allows rapid introduction of new protocols, features and functionality, including support for custom hardware and software forwarding. XORP is available as absolutely free and anyone can download, use, modify etc.
  • Quagga – Quagga is a routing software suite, providing implementations of OSPFv2, OSPFv3, RIP v1 and v2, RIPng and BGP-4 for Unix platforms, particularly FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris and NetBSD. Quagga is a fork of GNU Zebra which was developed by Kunihiro Ishiguro. The Quagga tree aims to build a more involved community around Quagga than the current centralised model of GNU Zebra.
  • Open Router Project – ORP is a stand-alone GNU/Linux distribution which aims to be a complete PC-based router solution.

There are companies like Case Communications, ImageStream that are cost effective, open and are based on Linux.

Challenges ahead:

  • Though open routers bring in cost effectiveness to an enterprise networking solutions, it still needs to be backed with a great customer support. Only then it can compete with proprietary router vendors.
  • It is better to have an in-house expertise on routers while deciding on open router technologies, as open router technology is still evolving and may need customization. At the same time, it is not far away from becoming matured enough to replace biggies like Cisco router products etc.

Top 10 Most Exciting Technologies of 2009

marketplus

Channel Insider 2009 Market Plus Survey, lists the top 10 technologies what Solution Providers are asking for. While the spending is under pressure in IT and businesses are looking at ways to contain costs these technologies really have them excited. Smart Phones is the top most technology of 2009.

Here are the top ten technologies that solution provider say are getting customers excited:

1. Smart Phones – Business users want more connectivity, app access and telephone in their palm. The demand is reflected by the number of vendors releasing new smart phones – Microsoft to Google to Palm. Smart Phones will remain red hot through 2009

2. Virtualization – as the cost pressure is mounting, every organization is exploring virtualization applications to increase efficiency and decrease cost.

3. Handhelds Devices – They range from PDA to ultra-lite computers to speciality devices. The common advantage is that they allow the user to perform business tasks while they are away from their desk, more better than the smart phone app.

4. Software-as-a-Service – SaaS is a product of reliable bandwidth and connectivity. The morden internet is making it possible to push feature-rich apps to the usres, through the cloud. It provides users regularly updated technologies often at a lower price than the conventional software

5. Business Apps – Business and productivity software – CRM, ERP, collaboration apps, office suites etc provide businesses greater operational efficiency and greater transparency.

6. Managed Services – as businesses find it more affordable, they are ready to delegate redundant tasks to Managed Service Providers and change their IT cost from capital expense to operational expense.

7. Wireless Networking – As more and more PCs, laptops and mobile devices are added to the network, there complexity around wireless network is increasing. Businesses wants flexibility and mobility and they are willing to invest in wireless infrastructure

8. Desktop/Notebook PC – This is not your traditional desktop or notebook. Thin clients, virtualized desktops and notebooks are the next wave for personal computing.

9. E-Commerce Apps – eCommerce is becoming more and more important as the retails are falling victim to turbulent eonomy. Retailers want online portals that can reach customers with greater effeciency. eCommerce solution has clearly demonstrated Return On Investment

10. Voice Networking – Customers are screaming for more voice networking solutions that can be integrated with their existing infrastructure. Voice Networking can save money over traditional telephone system and can reduce the management complexity for IT staff.

Do you agree with the Channel Insider 2009 Market Plus Survey?

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MyScreen – A revolutionary way to advertise targeting specific audience segments

MyScreen may change the way Advertisements are delivered to mobile users.
myscreen

MyScreen is a mobile solution that delivers targeted advertisements to registered users on their hand sets at the end of the call. The registration is free and the user needs to provide some basic information on their interests that is used by the advertisers to target specific audience segments with brand messages. The users in turn earn reward points for viewing those ad messages.

Currently MyScreen is optimized for Smart phones that are powered by Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm and RIM. MyScreen provides the ultimate customer experience on Smart Phones using the device functionalities. However, MyScreen supports non-smart phone users as well. Non-Smart phone users as well will receive compensation for viewing the ads on the handset but the ads will not be displayed at the end of the call.

To choose the MyScreen experience, one needs simply needs to fill the mobile number, fill in the details related to the hand set, enter the personal contact information and select the lifestyle category that you are interested in. ( this an be modified later ). After the registration you will receive an SMS asking you to download the application on the handset, if your handset is a smart phone. The application will allow the relavent advertisement to be delivered to your phone in a transparent, non-intrusive manner.

All the ads will be displayed at the end of each call in a visually rich format utilizing the full screen. Ads will contain hot keys that will enable you to either visit the advertiser’s web site or call the advertiser’s hot-line to listen to their advertisements. You will earn reward points upon viewing the advertisement. The reward points can be redeemed with your mobile operator

If you do not have a smart phone, you will still receive advertisements as and when they are available and you will earn points as and when you view the advertisements. No application is needed to be downloaded.

Based in Toronto, Canada, MyScreen has revolutionized the way advertisers communicate with consumers. MyScreen is a patent-pending innovative marketing and advertising solution within the mobile communication industry, which has established both a permission and incentive-based marketing model that allows mobile subscribers to be compensated for allowing targeted rich-full screen, contextual advertisements to appear on their mobile device at the end of a call.

MyScreen will be at GSMA World Congress- Barcelona- February 16th-19th ,2009. Last week MyScreen Mobile, announced that they will unveil the MyScreen mobile advertising solution on Android to mobile operators and industry insiders at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain beginning on February 16th-19th 2009. MyScreen will display their recently completed Android version along with their existing device platforms; RIM Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Palm OS.

Ad_sample1Ad_sample2

Advertising Samples : Image Source: www.marketwire.com

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