Huawei’s strategic open source play

The knee-jerk reaction to open source is… well, it’s free. But it’s not that simple. Companies can craft strategic open source projects that complement and enhance and build momentum behind its own products. Huawei has been clear that this is part of its strategy.”
Scott Raynovich
here on SDx Central.

Scott’s report goes on to highlight, “that the Chinese company is currently the largest contributor to OpenStack at 28 percent of all contributions,” and that “Huawei has contributed 20 percent of the code on ONOS,” the Open Network Operating System.

I was aware of Huawei’s contribution to open source, software defined networking projects but I had not been aware that its investment in them topped $30M. That’s a serious investment and a clever positioning approach.

Scott’s report is well worth a read.

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3 Responses

  1. There are a lot of old school Execs that shun Open Source software. Some are afriad of litigation. Some are afraid of back doors,and vulnerabilities. Truth is this – A LOT of innovation happens first in open source.

    There is also the maturity of developers and the software. Some more mature Open Source apps like OpenNMS have had the same developers for most of the life of the application. What you gain here is the application being put in a lot of different places and code that has been optimized and refactored. (Really important for Java based apps)

    The other thing you get when you support open source is an avenue to modify it to fit your business needs. Need UI changes? A different feature? You can make it happen. Begging for changes and features from a vendor can be painful and hit or miss. Your priorities may not be the vendors priorities.

    The ironic benefit you get from corporate sponsorship and investment of open source… Leadership in the industry. I think back to all of the technology and apps that were built at AOL while I was there. We were moving TBs of performance data around every day when 500GB data storage was HUGE. Very little open sourced back. I think of PEZ, Argus, Weasel, NERF, Bucky Complexes, etc. that would have enabled many industries to be MILES ahead today.

  2. Hi Dougie,

    I wonder if the shunning of open-source comes down to the feeling of lacking control over it? But if you look at it from the other angle, they probably have more opportunity to control / influence an open-source project than a vendor’s implementation, as you implied.
    The other aspect is knowing exactly who to contact / kill if something goes wrong. Putting the right service / solution wrapper around the software can overcome this fear in some cases.

    Sounds like you had a blast at AOL!

  3. PS. I can’t help but thinking that the only way the OSS industry will really deliver a revolutionary, next-generation solution is through the power of the crowd and open-source is its likely vehicle. For example, we have such a fragmented market that there is massive duplicative effort on tools like resource managers. If we were able to get even a fraction of those very talented inventory and orchestration minds working collaboratively towards a common goal then we’ll get there faster than dozens of organisations working in competition (and that includes competing open-source projects BTW). The questions I ask is how do we generate the excitement of an Apollo program and the associated gravitational pull of the greatest minds to accomplish an OSS moon-shot? Where do you think open-source fits within this ideal Dougie?

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