A group of open source companies have formed a non-profit association that will focus on increasing interoperability among their products and potentially increasing enterprise adoption of non-proprietary software.

Enterprise DB announced the launch of the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA), which will also pursue joint marketing programs and define frameworks for using open source in the enterprise. Other founding members include Adaptive Planning, Centric CRM, CollabNet, SourceForge.net and JasperSoft. Enterprise DB, based in Iselin, N.J., announced its entry into the Canadian market earlier this week.

Andy Astor, Enterprise DB’s CEO, said the OSA will allow IT managers to purchase open source products with confidence that it is “enterprise class,” a message he said was important for the market at large.

“While there are good, solid standards around operating systems and around the middleware stack, once you get to the database and application layer, it’s a little bit of a wild west out there,” he said. “If this organization doesn’t form, the adoption of open source and open source-based solutions will be really, really hobbled.”

Enterprise DB’s flagship product is not really open source, however – it is based on the PostgreSQL database and its Advanced Server is designed to work with Oracle products. Astor said the OSA will reflect the heterogeneity of enterprise software.

“The openess of the source isalmost never the reason enterprises are adopting open source software. It’s the quality, the security and the community,” he said. “There are a lot of different business models that will make sense.” 

The OSA will primarily work on interoperability between its own members, Astor said, but other vendors, including popular open source database firm MySQL, have been invited to participate. Matt Lawton, director of IDC’s worldwide software business strategy groups, encouraged the OSA to invite proprietary vendors such as Oracle and IBM into the mix as well.

“I would agree with their perception that there are a lot of point solutions. I think customers are needing amore integrated approach to deploy solutions and solve their overall business problems,” he said. “Any initiative that the industry takes to address interoperability is a good idea.”

Astor said that there were conversations going on with a number of other industry players, but added that being part of the OSA will require more than adding a company logo to the group’s Web site.

“Many organizations form consortia where people join and then really don’t do anything,” he said. “The intent of this organization is that if you’re going to join, you’re going to put significant resources towards these efforts and help deliver the standards that achieve the interoperability.”

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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