|By Maria Winslow||
|June 15, 2004 12:00 AM EDT||
Jim Willis, director of e-Government Services for the Rhode Island Office of the Secretary of State, was a consultant for the state when he implemented an online database using open source tools. The ability to use open source technologies was a condition of his hiring, and the state has benefited as a result of his leadership.
Putting Linux in Plain ViewThe first project Willis undertook was an online rules and regulations database available to the public and other government agencies. It was the proof that open source tools could deliver value for less. The whole project was delivered for $40,000 with Willis working alone part time for four months. Because the new online database faced the public, it was the perfect test for open source value.
Willis was promoted to director of e-Government after the next election of a new Secretary of State, and he took on the role of advising other agencies on the use of open source. A high-level member of the new secretary's staff was well versed in open source, and encouraged a more open attitude toward Willis' proposals. A trend of working to improve efficiency in IT has also worked in favor of open source adoption.
The LAMP Development ModelA major trend has emerged in Internet development utilizing four open source tools or platforms: Linux for the operating system; Apache for the Web server; MySQL for the database; and PHP, Perl, or Python for the custom code (LAMP). Willis used these tools for the rules and regulations database and was able to complete the project in less time than other development models would have allowed.
Willis has been consistently pleased with the performance of the MySQL database. It is running on a Dell server with Red Hat preinstalled, with almost perfect uptime. MySQL was also included in the Red Hat installation. Agencies use a custom PHP form to upload their regulation files in PDF format. Willis was already familiar with PHP, so it was a natural choice. Some freely available Perl code was adapted to provide certain functions as well, but the vast majority of development occurred using PHP.
A big advantage of open source is that help is easier to find. Willis recommends developing staff who are able to find the solutions to problems because no one has memorized how to handle every situation. You just have to know where to look. "I've called Red Hat for support just once, when I was getting started. Google is really the first line of support."
Saving Time Is More Important Than Saving MoneyAfter his initial success with the rules and regulations online database, Willis looked for other ways to use open source software. He started by replacing an Exchange server with Courier IMAP and QMail on Linux, and replacing Outlook with SquirrelMail, a Web-based e-mail client. Users were having trouble with Outlook, and his staff was spending too much time supporting it. Willis picked the e-mail system as a good migration candidate because he knew it would save both money and time. It took Willis' team two days to migrate the mail server. They saved money in licensing costs by replacing Windows and Microsoft Exchange, but the biggest benefit has been the free time to devote to other projects. Willis says that he saves between 6–10 hours per week of support time with the new system. The reliability of open source software on Linux is allowing him to pursue other projects that will benefit the public.
Cost is still an issue, of course. Before starting on any migration to open source, Willis does an informal analysis to find out how much it will save the state. In his case, it's sufficient justification to proceed.
Web Servers and DatabasesThe next step was to start migrating Web servers and database servers. Willis had several Microsoft IIS servers that needed to be upgraded. By now, his staff was familiar with Apache, so they used Linux and Apache as a replacement for Windows and IIS. There was one glitch, however. They had previously written Active Server Pages that needed to be converted to PHP and Perl.
According to Willis, when you have applications "write" code for you, rather than code by hand, it's hard to know later what you've done. This made it somewhat difficult to convert the applications. They tried some conversion tools, such as asp2php. It worked sometimes, but Willis found that it was easier to rewrite the applications. Most of them were just database query scripts, which were easy to rewrite, and took about 3–4 days per script. All of the servers that Willis' team has converted have paid for themselves already.
Advice for Other StatesNow other states are asking Jim Willis for advice in adopting open source. His advice for getting started is to take on a small migration project first to prove to colleagues that it will work. "Don't pick something critical for the first project.
Pick a server that provides an important service, though, that people will be able to see in action."
He generally plans a migration when one of two things happen: he is tired of always supporting a problem system, or he needs to purchase an upgrade.
Open Source Software Utilized
The State of Rhode Island Secretary of State's office saves 6–10 hours per week of support time with a migration to Linux and a Web-based e-mail solution, instead of Microsoft Exchange and Outlook.
Open source products used are:
- Red Hat Linux
- Apache Web server
- MySQL database
- PHP Web scripting language
- Courier IMAP, QMail
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Oct. 24, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,867
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
Oct. 24, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,570
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
Oct. 24, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 767
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
Oct. 24, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 959
“Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CloudBerry Backup is a leading cross-platform cloud backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with major public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
Oct. 24, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,336
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
Oct. 24, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 749
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Oct. 24, 2016 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 869
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Oct. 23, 2016 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 11,349
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
Oct. 23, 2016 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,269
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Oct. 23, 2016 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,578
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
Oct. 23, 2016 09:15 PM EDT Reads: 984
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
Oct. 23, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,992
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
Oct. 23, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,289
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Oct. 23, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,721
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
Oct. 23, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,108
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Oct. 23, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,074
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
Oct. 23, 2016 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,013
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
Oct. 23, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 817
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Oct. 23, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,480
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
Oct. 23, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,496