This article, in its current form, presents some discussion points about the Eclipse COSMOS open source project and its relationship to the commercial work of some of its community's participants.
The goal of this article is to help articulate the initial focus of the Eclipse COSMOS project in this context. It is believed that the ideas here are consistent with the COSMOS Proposal.
As an Eclipse project, COSMOS will produce freely available open source. The participants include commercial software and hardware companies. The participants believe that their efforts in an Eclipse project will enable further innovation in the commercial marketplace.
So how have the participants in the COSMOS project community focused their combined efforts on a goal that will assure continued differentiation among their commercial products?
- First, by working as a community on things that must be shared and created in the open in order to be viable.
- Second, by focusing their work on componentry in an open source development framework that expands the community of contributors in such a way that they feel will strengthen their commercial offerings.
Innovation in the open
The initial goals of the Eclipse COSMOS project are intented to create something that does not already exist. This is from the COSMOS Proposal:
The mission of the Eclipse COSMOS Project is to build [...] generic, extensible, standards-based components for a tools platform upon which software developers can create specialized, differentiated, and inter-operable offerings of tools for system management.
Among the project participants are companies that have already achieved considerable market success with IT Management products. These participants are motivated to work in the Eclipse community to achieve even more benefits for their customers, accomplishing things as a group that cannot be done individually.
The innovation that is the goal of Eclipse COSMOS is:
- extensible, standards-based components
- a tools platform for software developers
- a set of working example application components
These innovations are not aimed at creating another open source IT Monitoring solution. There are several great examples already.
Expand the community of contributors
What the Eclipse community can do with the work of the COSMOS project's contributions is not limited by the work of the initial community. This is from the Eclipse Development Process:
The Eclipse open source projects are distinct from the Eclipse membership in spite of the majority of the resources on the projects being donated by the members. The projects are managed for the benefit of both the open source community and the ecosystem members; these groups will, at times, have different goals. Eclipse benefits when their interests align; Eclipse benefits when their interests provide cognitive dissonance that provokes creativity; and Eclipse suffers when one side of this duality takes precedence over the other side.
The Eclipse COSMOS project will be successful if a community of open source and commercial contributors adopt the framework and use it to extend the reach of IT Management applications. This will prove that the interoperability goal has been achieved.
COSMOS will deliver frameworks supporting SML throughout the application lifecycle. COSMOS will also deliver exemplary tools which illustrate the use of these frameworks. The COSMOS frameworks need to be useful to developers of commercial products, but the exemplary tools and the runtime components that they require serve a more limited role. This document illustrates some of the differences between the requirements for the COSMOS tools and commercial product offerings built on the COSMOS frameworks.
The difference between exemplary tools and commercial products is usually about the priorities of some of the requirements or the minimum acceptable level of completeness or performance in some areas rather than a fundamental difference of intent.
An exemplary tool should be useful to a developer. For example, a tool can demonstrate the value of the COSMOS frameworks by providing monitoring capabilities that can support a developer who is performing application profiling or load testing.
A commercial systems management product should be useful to a person with operational responsibility for deployed application infrastructure within a large enterprise.
Features and Scope
An exemplary tool may choose to omit certain features or limit the scope of the features to more limited use cases. For example, the tool may be targeted for use by a single, simultaneous user such as a developer or operator. It may initially only support a local data store and the reference design may be limited in the number of resources that it can easily support.
Features that may be required by a commercial product offering that are not essential to the runtime implementation of an exemplary tool include:
- Support for very large volumes of resources, events, and statistical data
- Retention of an extensive historical database
- Autonomic (active) system management
- Flexible ad hoc reporting
- Extensive canned reporting
- Deep analytic capabilities
- Support of blackout periods and other production schedule issues
These restrictions in features and their scope are only temporary in nature as an active open source community will continue to extend the features and expand the scope over time.
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