RealTime IT News

SpikeSource Out to Demystify Open Source

A new company is taking the notion of professional open source to the next level with pre-tested and certified components for use in the enterprise, officials said Tuesday.

SpikeSource offers more than 50 interoperable open source components, called Core Stack, as well as asset management and paid services to take the hassle of manually integrating the software out of the hands of the IT department.

SpikeSource aggregates a wide variety of open source software not catering to a particular product like a database, language or platform, and certifies its interoperability with other open source components.

The company then sells a services component to go with the software offerings. They range from basic installation support, which handles the initial setup, to premium annual support, which includes 24/7 telephone support, online issue reporting and custom code development.

Also available is the SpikeSource Update Service, an accessory paid service called Update Service, an accessory paid service currently in beta, provides updates, patches and upgrades to the certified open source software residing in the network. Paying customers can also log into the SpikeSource Web site for an online resource.

It's the individual efforts of companies like JBoss and Zend that first prompted the company's two founders, Murugan Pal and Ray Lane, to look into creating a company that wraps the services and support of the separate professional open source companies together.

According to Nick Halsey, SpikeSource vice president of marketing and sales, while companies like JBoss and MySQL do a good job in their areas of expertise, Pal and Lane reasoned that many corporations wouldn't adopt it companywide without interoperability with other software components.

"Our whole reason for being is to do interoperability testing of combinations of open source components in useful combinations, or stacks, and then making those stacks, with services and technical support around them, available to our customers," Halsey said.

The idea was enough to get funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), where Lane is a partner, Intel and Fidelity Ventures. After nearly two years of development, the company held a public beta of its Core Stack in December 2004.

Key to the company's launch is the partnerships SpikeSource struck with the other professional open source companies it is nominally competing against in the industry. Among other partnerships, the company integrated its technical support services with JBoss, MySQL, Zend, Novell and Red Hat while integrating the compliance management software and license calculator from Black Duck Software.

SpikeSource also launched an ISV program Tuesday that allows software developers to test and certify their applications on the company's Core Stack. All tests conducted, officials said, will be published to the open source community.

Halsey said the company is committed to providing interoperability and testing resources for applications. As such, some of the tools created to make the Core Stack and testing services have been donated to the open source community.