Ask your OSS a question…

A very clever friend of mine made an interesting observation recently. He had noticed that one of his global markets, a developing region, tended to ask for a very different set of outcomes from his OSS than his customers in more developed regions.

He has noticed that the developing regions are asking business level questions like the following:

  • How many services do I have
  • Where do I have spare capacity (ie where to focus my marketing efforts)
  • How is the health of the services running over my network
  • What on earth just caused that outage and who is impacted
  • etc

Whereas the developed regions ask more engineering level questions like:

  • How do I build highly available platforms
  • How will my data sources integrate with your data model
  • I have many alarms in my alarm list. What features does your tool have to reduce them
  • Can your solution do function X
  • etc

The former (developing) is overlooking the technical details that just happen to underpin the answers  but their questions actually matter to their business.

The latter (developed) is resolving the technical challenges with great competence but not asking their OSS the questions that matter outside operational teams.

As IT solutions are constantly evolving, the latter will diminish in importance over time because the technical challenges will be overcome. But the former will only rise in importance and we must deliver an entirely different type of OSS if we are to take it to the masses, as described in this recent post about OSS answers rather than information..

I note that our current OSS can answer the business-level questions but usually require a technical intermediary with deep understanding of the tools / data to tease the answer out. The OSS of the future will cut out the middle-man by providing a user interface to ask important questions and get useful answers (without needing super-user level expertise on the solution).

My suggestion to my friend was to start building an OSS around the requests of his developing markets, and let the developed markets catch up.

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2 Responses

  1. Developed countries still have a throw back to the heavy engineering days where Technology was driving the business. In developing Regions the competition is intense and this leads to more business related questions and more requirements from the OSS stack solution. As the Industry is now embracing more and more Open Source Technology (Linux, OpenStack, OpenDayLight, Hadoop/Storm/Spark, Cassandra, Splunk, etc..) the detailed technical questions will be addressed by best practice “design pattern” projects. The traditional OSS/IT internal bespoke solutions are now being replaced by comprehensive OSS stacks that adopts a number of Open Source Technologies.

  2. Hi Wallis

    Thanks for your insightful comments.
    Yep, “patterns” are changing this industry of ours aren’t they?

    Would you hazard a guess as to whether CSPs in the developed or developing regions are embracing open source (the other OSS) more quickly?

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