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EMC software goes open source

EMC's Jeremy Burton addresses EMC partners. (Photo by Nestor Arellano)
Jeremy Burton, president of products and marketing at EMC

LAS VEGAS – Jeremy Burton, the president of products and marketing for EMC, described the company’s plans to release an open source project based on ViPR Controller and Project CoprHD into the open source community, a historic day for the Hopkinton, Mass.-based vendor.

ViPR will be EMC’s first open source project, but it will not be its only. Isilon ECS, ECS ScaleIO, Caspian, and DSSD, which is next generation flash will rolled out to the open source community.

“We believe the apps being built for the future are architected in different way; instead of scale up they will scale out and be distributed. This needs a different kind of infrastructure,” Burton said.

He added that EMC is taking a different philosophy here and believe decisions are being driven by technical people. “They have more power today and it reminds me of the power developers had back in the 90s. This is the golden era of application development. The developers who buy the software use it but will not buy it. Procurement buys it and this process drives developer’s nuts. They are not getting the software they need to build what they want to build,” Burton said.

This new philosophy influenced EMC to make software freely available to developers. Burton suggested they should try it out, test it and if they like it buy it for production use.

He added that the software will not be “time bombed.”

For the channel, Burton said this move will improve demand generation for solution providers because customers will come to a point where they will proceed to production use and this will lead to a channel opportunity.

“There will be less friction in the channel experience with EMC,” Burton said.

“The partner community especially with system integrators can do their own projects or proof of concepts for customers.”

The customers there will be value in a free trial because there projects will have no impediments. There will be no licenses to acquire nor will there be any forms to fill out.

The risk with this move is that in the open source community if no one contributes to the software it could kill the product, Burton admitted. However, EMC will be active in the community and have already forged partnerships with SAP, Intel and Verizon. Others are scheduled to confirm support shortly, Burton said. “Those companies plan to contribute to the project and then Open Stack brings more benefits with more features quickly. In this generation users of technology want a faster pace of innovation,” he said.

Another risk is potential software theft. Burton was not too concerned with this saying: “If developers are going to steal software I want them to steal our software. They might not be EMC customers anyway but it can lead to a production-level deployment.”

Project CoprHD is planned to be made available on GitHub as an open source project for community development in June. The move to open source does not mean EMC’s sales force will stop selling these products in the commercial market. That sales effort will continue.

Project CoprHD is set to be licensed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0.