Exadel: Navigating The Rocky Shoals of Open Source Development

October 28, 2005

Exadel: Navigating The Rocky Shoals of Open Source Development

Exadel: Navigating The Rocky Shoals of Open Source Development

by Rikki Kirzner, Partner

The Open Source Siren Song

Many organizations recognize and are embracing the economic benefits of choosing open source solutions to create business-critical enterprise applications.  Open source software is reliable, secure, scalable and well suited for all types of enterprise business requirements when it has been correctly developed and deployed.  The problem is that actually using open source to develop mission critical business solutions is neither as simple nor as straightforward as open source vendors would have you believe. 

IT professionals are confused about where to go for information and good quality solutions.  Consequently IT managers looking to reduce their development costs by choosing to use open source often rush into projects without careful planning or a real understanding of the pitfalls of using open source.  They seldom consider the ability of the vendors from whom they purchase their open source products to support their applications throughout the entire lifecycle of the project. 

Until they have a project well underway, many developers fail to realize they don’t have the right tools, methodologies, or enough expert knowledge about open source to help them produce a quality, scalable, secure, and robust application on time and on budget.  Although open source provides everything developers require, the technology does not work seamlessly together.  More often than not, few developers realize different open source frameworks and open source and commercial tools are incompatible.

Furthermore, not enough developers have the necessary experience or skills to use or integrate open source with legacy technologies deployed within the organization.  Moreover, few open source companies have the support necessary to help companies develop and maintain open source projects. The lack of knowledge, reliable tools, and crucial support for open source, mission critical applications has contributed to cost overruns, costly integration efforts, deployment mistakes, and delayed delivery of open source mission critical applications. 

While a plethora of open source technologies have come to market, few software vendors have thus far been able to deliver an open source software development model that economically fulfills the broad requirements of enterprise requirements.  Too often, in an effort to win a competitive advantage using trendy technology, most software vendors seem to be more concerned with creating their own Eclipse plug-ins or going for the glitz of cranking up speeds and feeds or adding bells and whistles to “me-too” products rather than take the less glamorous but more customer-specific approach that solves real business problems. 

Few can deliver the right affordable combination of open source tools, development environment, infrastructure, and services to actually help developers with varying skills and knowledge of open source to quickly solve real business problems.  So it is refreshing to find that rare company with an innovative set of open source solutions and effective go-to-market services and expertise able to help organizations derive the benefits of using open source.

Exadel: Charting a New Course in Open Source Development

Exadel provides a comprehensive set of solutions companies need to successfully undertake an open source or Java project?no matter what level of technology proficiency exists within the organization.  Exadel offers software, tools, testing, support, maintenance, expertise, and professional services.  Exadel’s portfolio of solutions can accelerate a company’s ability to create mission-critical business applications while delivering significant cost and time savings over equivalent offerings from the leading commercial software industry vendors.

Exadel’s professional services incorporate a combination of mentoring, architecting, monitoring, and guiding development efforts from open source vendor evaluation and selection to scoping and modeling the project.  Customers work with experienced Exadel architects to learn how to effectively use open source to design, structure, build, test, scale, deploy, and maintain customized, mission-critical enterprise-wide applications based on each company’s exact specifications and requirements.  Exadel helps companies avoid the steep learning curve and costly development mistakes that are associated with using open source.  It allows companies to create applications more rapidly and with less effort and fewer mistakes.

While they work on their open source projects, developers can use the Exadel Studio Pro–a rich and comprehensive open source application development environment. Exadel Studio Pro leverages various open source technologies including Struts, JSF, Hibernate, Spring and others   It provides the level of abstraction that enables developers to mix and match the best available commercial software and different open source technologies.

Since Exadel abstracts away the differences between disparate or different versions of open source technologies, developers don’t have to be highly knowledgeable about the nuances between different frameworks in order to work with more than one framework at a time.  For example if a developer wants to use both JSF and Hibernate, Exadel’s abstraction makes it appears to the developer as if there was only one version of a framework.  In addition, advanced wizards, WYSIWYG visual editing, auto mapping tools and content assist features enable enterprise developers to work more efficiently and effectively both independently and across multi-functional teams.

Among its many services, Exadel offers feasibility assessments, ROI and TCO analysis to help organizations assess the financial benefits of using open source, and development of technology and migration roadmaps to help companies either integrate or migrate from proprietary systems to open solutions using qualified commercial open source vendors.  Throughout the engagement, Exadel guides its customers’ development team, saving time and costly mistakes and decreasing maintenance costs.  Exadel also guarantees on-time, high quality, and on-budget delivery of the project.

Furthermore, Exadel enables customers to use whatever technology tools and platforms they desire.  Exadel will not only help companies build the business functionality from open source, it will also support their efforts all the way from development to deployment.  Exadel does not have any predisposed bias to recommending or preferring one version of tools or products over another as would some of the large commercial software vendors who have a strong financial interest in promoting their more profitable commercially licensed  or open source software.

Home Shopping Network, AT&T, E&J, Gallo Winery, ABN AMRO Bank, McDonalds, General Electric, Echopass, and numerous other Exadel marquee customers have successfully implemented adaptable and/or reusable open source solutions in their organizations. Exadel’s solutions enable developers to spend less time analyzing code and development problems, giving them more time to adequately address critical business issues. Furthermore, Exadel’s customers have the time to focus on the business problems, processes, and implementing competitive business strategies.  By providing a more affordable means of creating custom applications through its outsourcing capabilities, Exadel may actually reshape the way companies develop and buy open source or Java software applications in the future.

More Reliable and Cost Effective Open Source Development

Hurwitz & Associates believes that the time, cost, and arduous effort involved trying to understand how to implement new, complex, and unfamiliar technology always has a negative impact on a company’s ability to be competitive, profitable, and achieve its business goals on time and on budget.  Failure to understand the ramifications of integrating new technology into an existing environment is perilous.  The secret to success for any open source vendor will be found in its ability to provide its customers with economic software expertise and cost effective, expert, tools across the entire development lifecycle. 

It will also depend on a vendor’s ability to enable its customers to easily and economically create high quality, mission critical, enterprise applications by providing the guidance and tools necessary to help developers unfamiliar with the technology from making costly and time consuming mistakes.  Furthermore, vendors who understand the challenges of integrating open source into a current infrastructure will be better able to help companies in the early adoption phase of open source.
Exadel enables companies to become more efficient at aligning their software requirements with their architectural, operational, and business goals. Exadel also enables companies to understand the complexities and trade-offs of integrating open source technologies into their organizations while also helping them understand how to design, configure, and reuse components as part of their application development strategies.  All these capabilities allow Exadel to pilot its customers through the rocky shoals of open source incompatibilities to the safe harbor of open source business solution development and deployment.


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