#OpenSource is the way to go!

There are several reasons for this, but seeing my LinkedIn-timeline flowing over with proprietary software- and infrastructure-stack-related news, I feel I should point out some crucial points for open-source:

Open. Source.

The source is open – you can actually see, what is happening! This gives you something which you won’t get with proprietary software and ecosystems: Trust!

Trust

Trust is not only what you need in times where more and more workloads are sourced out into public cloud- and hyperscaler-environments, it is a strategic asset! Trust needs to be at the center of your actions, but there is another aspect being strongly related to that: Security!

Security

With open-source software, literally everyone can check the source code and find security issues. Yes, it might be painful and it feels better with proprietary software, since their security issues are handled way more silent – but this is security-by-obscurity! Just because security issues are not that well-known, it does not mean they don’t exist. Instead, there is a higher chance for them to be exploited, since there is no sense of danger. Open-source-projects fix their security issues regularly and often – proprietary software vendors might not do this. This leads to another important aspect of open-source: Support.

Support

With open-source projects and solutions, you get an awesome level of support if you dare to ask. Yes, the tone might be sometimes a bit … nerdy, and yes, there are no SLAs, but this then again is where you can rely on professional vendors such as Cloudical, providing you with SLAs, professional support and managed services. The advantage of those vendors give you over proprietary software vendors is quite important: They are independent of a specific (proprietary) software stack! So they give you support and consultancy, but in an unbiased and open way.

If you compare this to vendors of proprietary software, they usually want to sell you their products – which might not be what you want. The open-source ecosystem provides you with many vendor-neutral frameworks and solutions – and you find a lot of skilled experts for your operational needs. And even if not (or if it would not be enough to hire those experts) – there are several very affordable and well-executed managed service offerings in place!

Managed Services

Since experts, specifically cloud infrastructure- and software-experts, are a rare things nowadays, there is a huge struggle for finding and hiring the brightest minds. Nonetheless, you need the know-how and knowledge to run your infrastructures and workloads – regardless of the cloud environment and regardless of the workloads you are throwing at them. Managed Services for open-source ecosystems are platform- and vendor-agnostic, so they can work on every cloud and on every platform.

Since the required knowledge is reusable and (mostly) independent of the platform, it will give you peace of mind and sustainability in regard to operations. This would be more complicated with vendor-specific software and infrastructure-stacks, since they are way more limited in regard to their usage and usability scenarios. Another aspect of open-source projects is that they are usually widely adopted and utilized – in their original, vanilla form.

Vanilla

The foundation of products such as Red Hat OpenShift, SUSE CaaSP or Rancher K3S is Vanilla Kubernetes. The foundation of Red Hat Open Stack or Mirantis Open Stack is Vanilla Open Stack. The foundation of Pivotal Cloud Foundry or SUSE Cloud Application Platform is Vanilla Cloud Foundry.

And the good thing is: All the things you or your partners know from vanilla projects apply to the commercial distributions. With open-source projects, knowledge is transferrable between distributions, knowledge is shareable – and knowledge can be achieved without expensive certification trails (although some very useful certificate trails exist). And: Knowledge is shared within a community. It is understood as an asset, not something someone owns (because it was so expensive to gain). Community stands at the center of open-source.

Community

With community, open-source starts and with it, the circle closes: Without a community of enthusiasts, interested industry partners and supporting foundations, open-source would be not even half as appealing, as it is. Open-source is for a very long time matured, processes and governance exist for dozens of years, and even companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP or Amazon contribute to open-source. They form a community, big foundations support and steer the process and create the sustainability in the projects they chose to sponsor.

Open-source is all about openness, trust, security, support, managed services, vanilla and community. And this combination of factors make open-source a strategic aspect and a strategic factor in organization’s sustainability. With open-source, you decide against vendor-locks and golden cages, surpressed issues and horrendous prices. Open-source is trustworthy, cost-effective and driven by intelligence, not by greed.

What does this imply for Cloudical?

Well, with Cloudical we already decided to set more on open-source toolstacks. We decided to move away from Microsoft 365 and Google-GSuite-based approaches. We decided for an open-source CRM-system. We integrate them, we operate them, we trust them.

We are currently setting up, integrating, automating and starting to operate our own open-source ecosystem – and we will make this stack (i.e. Rocket Chat, Keycloak, Harbour, etc.) available to our customers as managed solution and service.

We already offer awesome consultancy and managed services, and we will step up the game later this year. There will be way more offerings from Cloudical, and we will broaden our support for the open-source ecosystem – so stay tuned on that!

What does this imply for me?

For me, personally, this implies way more usage of these technologies. I need to learn and adjust, even if it implies leaving well-known and comfortable ecosystems. But I feel it is worth it, because to me, trustworthiness, privacy and security are more worth than “just” comfort.

To me, it is worth every effort. I personally don’t trust Microsoft, Google or Amazon. I don’t want to be spied upon, don’t want to be bombarded with advertising and don’t want my profile to be sold to some random company. I don’t want my data and my workloads to run within environments we don’t trust (and we can not trust them, because it is their proprietary ecosystem!). I want to support alternatives, I don’t want this world to end with some dominating companies – I want freedom of choice, trust and security.

So to me personally, there is no alternative to this positioning and to this approach.

Over and out for Twitter

I have to admit: I was a Twitter-fanatic back then. I used it for 10 years now, but for the past couple of years, Twitter got more and more irrelevant to me personally, so I mainly utilized it for sharing business-announcements and the likes.

Twitter Logo taken from Wikipedia

That could have continued for the next ten years, but there is a different aspect in Twitter disturbing me: The discussion culture, or better: The lack of any discussion culture.

Discussions vs. Shouting

I was raised with a culture of asking and discussing. That was something, I liked in the Newsgroups in the 90s and in many, many forums. It was a matter of respect, allowing others to make their point and to hear their arguments – and discussing them, attacking the arguments (not the person) and always knowing there’s a person on the other end. That gave things a personal aspect, there was room for irony, jokes and even friendships growing from there.

I learned a lot from this. It widened my horizon. It allowed me to grow.

With Twitter, this is different.

Twitter is not a place for discussion or for learning from other people’s arguments. Twitter is for shouting out, for sharing something without caring about any others, since there is no such things as threads, moderation and a common sense, as you have (or had) with other platforms. It is about being the loudest, mobilizing people, shortening things to just headlines. It is about black and white – and nothing in-between. There is no room for personal aspects, for irony or jokes, since pretty much everything is dragged out onto the public. There is no humanity anymore, there are Twitter-bots and a loud, cheering crowd.

That changed discussion culture in our society: We have a US-president, who’s making politics by using Twitter. We have shitstorms. We have right-winged parties just pushing and hating – and communities, that behave the same.

Perhaps I’m too old for that

I don’t want to be part of that game anymore.

Perhaps I’m too old, perhaps I’m too conservative, perhaps I’m too naive – but I usually expect people to get in touch instead of just starting shitstorms, I expect people to express their questions, criticism and concerns towards me before mobilizing masses. And I don’t see that happening anymore with Twitter. Because it is so easy to just attack instead of asking or instead of discussing (and accepting other points of view). Black-White is always easier than Colors and Shades.

That is not the way I want to be involved in discussions. That is not the way I want to operate. That is not what defines me. That is not what reflects me, my ideas, my wishes and expectations.

Bye, bye

Therefore: Farewell, Twitter. We’re going different paths, I do not want to be part of the shouting crowd anymore. There are more important things in life than Twitter and a culture of obsession and being loud. I doubt reaching the right people here with the right messages. My company will perhaps remain with Twitter, but I’ll quit that chapter for me.

Now.

Feels good to me.

Dear Clara (*), …

I am not a Technician-at-your-Disposal

(Deutsche Version dieses Beitrags)

…I am not a Technician-at-your-Disposal, even though I am perhaps sharing quite a lot of information, perhaps may have quite a lot of knowledge in regards to things you are interested in and we perhaps met at some time in the past, had a conversation or two or even battled with each other in a ballroom competition.

So, whenever you ask me something in some social network, there is no world in which you would have the right to expect an answer from me within minutes or even days. I WILL answer your question, but at a point of time, when it fits into my life as well.

Additionally, although it might look differently, I am not following social networks very closely. I am looking into them not more often than every second day, I have no FB-messenger or similar software installed, I actually refuse to use the default applications for such networks and I have turned off any notifications from those networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).

Therefore, kindly hesitate to stress me in your social network of choice not even 48 hours after your inquiry. It won’t improve my reaction time, it won’t give you a better answer, but it will guarantee you my frustration and a harsh response. So, do me a favor, Clara: Ask me, but ask me in time. Expect an answer and perhaps remind me of that answer (you deserve it), but don’t bug me or lay your stress and frustration on me, since I will answer you in exactly the same way then.

Thank you, Clara!

Truly yours,

Karsten

(*) Name changed for some obvious reason