SpikeSource to Straddle Open Source and Closed Source

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 04, 2008

SpikeSource—well-known for the automated testing, maintenance and support services it has provided for businesses using open source technology—has just announced a new service that will straddle the open source and closed source arenas. The company is introducing a Solutions Factory platform aimed at ISVs, and is suddenly flush with cash after a new round of investments. Existing investor Intel Capital has poured $10 million into the company, and a string of existing venture capital investors--Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Fidelity Ventures, CMEA Ventures, and DAG Ventures—have also invested undisclosed amounts. Is SpikeSource abandoning its open source focus? Not entirely.

SpikeSource’s Solutions Factory is targeted at ISVs (independent software vendors) who want to be able to perform testing and maintenance tasks that—in many cases—would be beyond their scope. It’s also aimed at allowing ISVs to provide turnkey support for applications that they often wouldn’t be able to provide.

Solutions Factory automates the patching of software to keep security features up to date, and can identify and resolve problems businesses have when deploying diverse types of software in a stack. Solutions Factory also tracks the certification of deployed software applications.

While Solutions Factory is definitely an attempt to stretch beyond the open source-focused efforts that SpikeSource has historically concentrated on, the company isn’t abandoning open source efforts by any means. Solutions Factory will apply to open source, closed-source and hybrid software developments, according to the company.

Is it bad news to see a company that has been focused on open source open its kimono in this way to the world of commercial software deployment? I don’t think so. I won’t be surprised to see many open source software and service providers who have meaningful things to offer businesses take this route.

Without a doubt, the big investment from Intel will mean that SpikeSource-certified solutions will run better on Intel hardware. Given how pervasive that hardware is, though, Solutions Factory could bring more open source solutions to more people.

Increasingly, open source solutions have opportunities to co-exist with closed-source technology, and that trend is even likely to affect how open source developers approach extending the functionality of their products. We’ll have to see how SpikeSource’s forward-going focus is applied, but, in general, marriages between open source software solutions and closed-source solutions bode well for open source.

Do you agree?