Beginning in 2007 and, for the following five years, Open Source Software (OSS)

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1 1 Introduction Beginning in 2007 and, for the following five years, Open Source Software (OSS) has disrupted market segments across the IT industry; the growth has been overwhelming for operating systems (OS) like Linux and its various distributions; mobile OS s such as Android 3 ; databases like MySQL 4 ; application servers like Tomcat and Glassfish; web servers like Apache and NGINX 5 and monitoring applications like Cacti and Zabbix 6. Even office suites like LibreOffice have increased OSS market share to reduce licensing costs. There are several reasons why many organizations are moving towards OSS. The reasons will be discussed further in the investigation; however, Driver (2011) states that OSS is unavoidable, insofar as it has a zero-cost barrier to entry. All of these products are currently being used, not only by Government agencies and Small and Medium Enterprises, but by big enterprises also. This is the case with SAP that announced in 2011, that it was putting $800,000 CAD into the small open-source enterprise wiki company Socialtext, which makes internal corporate Web pages that any employee can edit. According to a Pingdom 7 Blog report, 75% of the top 10,000 websites on the planet are powered by Open Source software; Apache HTTP is the clear leader in this space followed by NGINX (Pingdom, 2012). 3 Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google. 4 MySQL is a SQL RDBMS owned by Oracle. 5 NGINX is a HTTP and mail proxy server licensed under a 2-clause BSD-like license. By Igor Sysoev 6 Zabbix is a network management system created by Alexei Vladishev. 7 Pingdom is a company based in Sweden that monitors web sites performance and availability 1

2 On the other hand, there are commercial software companies moving toward the OSS. Some examples of commercial software companies disclosing source code include big corporations such as IBM, which introduced a community edition of Websphere 8, its top-tier middleware product; Oracle Corporation, likewise has released Oracle Express Edition, a free edition of its widely used Oracle Database 10g, and then, after acquiring Sun Microsystems in early 2010, they continued working on MySQL database, GlassFish Server Open Source Edition 9, and Java, keeping their commitment to creating Open Source Developer Communities; Computer Associates (CA) released Ingres 10 ; SAP distributed OpenDB; Blackboard released OpenSchema; Microsoft created the Openness program, which one might reasonably have assumed, enables interoperability between several technologies like Java, Node.js, Linux, Apache, Drupal, PHP and eclipse in Microsoft Windows Azure. Open-source technologies are now embedded in almost all commercial software and it is predicted that by 2013 open-source technology will be included in 85% of all commercial software packages (Driver, 2011). 8 WebSphere. IBM Application Server built based on open standards (Java EE, XML, and Web Services). 9 Glassfish Server. Application server project led by Sun Microsystems for the Java EE platform. 10 Ingres. Commercially supported, open-source SQL RDBMS. 2

3 1.1 Research goals and scope The purpose of this research is to obtain an evaluation model for OSS that covers the most important criteria, including technological elements and managerial indicators, which unfortunately are often dismissed by other models, not due to their relative importance, but because of a misunderstanding of the concept embraced by Free-Libre Software. In fact, a cost does exist; not perhaps a direct cost, as when support is not included, but certainly an indirect cost influenced by factors such as implementation, customization, development, troubleshooting, and so forth. These indirect costs are invisible and quite dangerous when not taking into account, and many projects have been threatened by a failure considering them. An early detection could save effort for a start, and then time, which could be translated into savings in the meantime. The intent of this model is to be used as a reference tool to help managers in support of their decision-making when selecting any kind of OSS with a certain degree of confidence. As stated previously, I seek to apply the model to a real world case study, by considering legitimate IT and Business needs regarding the EIS department with respect to Enterprise Monitoring Software. The goal is to inform the decision to retain or retire the existing OSS package, Cacti, currently used to monitor every in the state-of-the-art Data Centre. 3

4 1.2 Research question/topic The research question addressed in this thesis will try to cover areas such as IT management, IT Enterprise Infrastructure: Would it be possible to identify the most important elements, Management and Technological, with the purpose of defining an Open Source Software selection model; and could this model be applied to select an IT Infrastructure Monitoring System? In answering the previous question, the following questions will offer additional insight the matter: What is the need of having an enterprise-ready OSS selection model? What is the attractiveness of the OSS from an IT and Management perspective? Is there any current OSS evaluation or procurement models? Which criteria can be defined for OSS selection? 1.3 Scope After developing the OSS selection model, a case study was structured for the University of Toronto (UofT), Information + Technology Services division (I+TS) - specifically at the Hardware Infrastructure Group (HIG). The HIG is responsible for 4

5 maintaining and supporting the Data Centre (DC), as well as delivering state-of-the-art services to its clients. Additionally, the IT services at UofT are founded by a complex mix of physical and virtual infrastructure. The need for a Monitoring System is unavoidable in order to manage performance, scalability and availability across environments. Currently, according to Gartner (2011) the OSS Monitoring packages in the market include Big Bother, MRTG, Cacti 11, Munin and Ganglia, Nagios 12, NTop, OpenNMS and Wireshark. Although these packages cover most of the OSS monitoring market, some are totally focused on specific tasks, such as of NTop - a packet capture engine by collecting flow data; and Wireshark - a network monitoring platform for package capturing and protocol analysis. The key to this case study is the application of the selection model for a greater understanding of the UofT Data Centre needs regarding an IT Infrastructure Monitoring System. This case develops a structured evaluation of the following packages: Nagios - the most popular OSS monitoring solution. Zabbix a forked project of Nagios and self-defined as an enterpriseclass OSS distributed monitoring solution. Even though, it is not 11 Cacti is a network graphing solution that uses RRDTool data storage and graphing functionality. 12 Nagios is a monitoring system that enables organizations to identify and resolve IT infrastructure problems. 5

6 mentioned by Gartner as a strong player, it is considered to be one of the most popular. Cacti - a networking graphing solution designed to take advantage of the power of data storage and presentation features of RRDTool RRDTool is an Open Source industry standard. 6

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