|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
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Jun. 25, 2016 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 976
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Jun. 25, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 662
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Jun. 25, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,518
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Jun. 25, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,005
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 867
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Jun. 25, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,195
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Jun. 25, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,158
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,161
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 479
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Jun. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,279
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,228
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Jun. 25, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,217
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jun. 25, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 665
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jun. 25, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,080
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
Jun. 25, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,043
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Jun. 25, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 876
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor 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. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Jun. 24, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,330
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Jun. 24, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,588
industrial company for a multi-year contract initially valued at over $4.0 million. In addition to DataV software, Bsquare will also provide comprehensive systems integration, support and maintenance services. DataV leverages advanced data analytics, predictive reasoning, data-driven diagnostics, and automated orchestration of remediation actions in order to improve asset uptime while reducing service and warranty costs.
Jun. 22, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,350
Vidyo, Inc., has joined the Alliance for Open Media. The Alliance for Open Media is a non-profit organization working to define and develop media technologies that address the need for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. As a member of the Alliance, Vidyo will collaborate with industry leaders in pursuit of an open and royalty-free AOMedia Video codec, AV1. Vidyo’s contributions to the organization will bring to bear its long history of expertise in codec technolo...
Jun. 19, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,243