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SpikeSource Stacks Open Source Apps

It's not always as easy as you'd think to get an open source application up and running in any given environment.

Thanks to a new initiative from open source stack provider SpikeSource, the barrier to installation and deployment of a host of popular open source applications is about to get a whole lot lower.

The Spike Certified Solutions Program certifies open source applications for deployment and bundling with SpikeSource's open source infrastructure stacks.

The infrastructure stacks provide tested and validated open source components that form the basis from which application can be deployed and run. SpikeSource offers free as well as paid support offerings of its stacks.

Nick Halsey, vice president of strategic alliances and international sales at SpikeSource, explained that there are a lot of people who want to try out open source applications but have had trouble installing and configuring Apache, PHP and MySQL, which most other open source applications rely on.

SpikeSource tests and certifies applications in the certified program and then offers a solution that gives users a one click install for everything they need to run the application. End users get both the application and the software infrastructure.

Halsey noted that users today can download and deploy their own stacks based on the various components, without the need for SpikeSource, but there is a catch for your average user -- it's time intensive.

"Problems start to increase when [users] are using lots and lots of open source software in stacks and there is a high velocity of change in the component and the configurations," Halsey told internetnews.com. "What we're trying to do via automated testing is extensively test and certify various combinations of open source components and then make those available to the market."

The certified stacks retain the core open source promise of no vendor lock-in.

"Everything is just regular open source components. If you started using stack and support, the stack would run just fine and you could source patches updates yourself," Halsey explained. "Users have flexibility and support with enterprise SLAs {service level agreements) but no enterprise lock-in."

For the most part, SpikeSource's stacks are being consumed for free, by both end users and applications developers. Halsey noted that there is no cost to the open source vendors to become part of the Spike Certified Solutions Program except for their effort.

"We're saying we're going to commit the technical resources to assist them, and they in turn have to commit to doing the longing testing and certifying that SpikeSource core stacks are a certified platform," Halsey said.

To date there have been over 150,000 downloads of SpikeSource's stacks, which first appeared in April of last year. Of that number, Halsey admitted that paying customers are a very small percentage.

"We have a few dozen paying customers today, which is in line with our business plan," Halsey said. "It's all about getting mass penetration and converting a percentage of those into paying customers."

The certified solutions program so far is comprised of 13 different open source vendors, including: Adisoft, Expense Submittal System, Alfresco Enterprise Content Management, Best Practical, Continuent, Funambol, JasperSoft, Logicalware, Pentaho, SQLFusion, SugarCRM, SynchSource, Volante and XenSource.