Open source software has come of its age. Today it’s impossible to think of a platform company that doesn’t have an open source strategy. Even Microsoft – a company that once compared open source to cancer – has embraced it fully. Of course, we have companies like CloudBees, Red Hat and Docker that built highly successful business models with OSS. But when it comes to cloud platform vendors, the story is slightly different.
Though cloud is built on the foundation of OSS, the top 3 vendors – AWS, Microsoft and Google – have a very different approach to it. AWS and Azure are the largest consumers of OSS. Amazon EC2, one of the most successful IaaS platforms, is built on top of Xen, the popular open source hypervisor. Amazon has turned almost every successful open source project into a commercially available managed service. From ECS to EMR to RDS to ElastiCache, Amazon integrated open source tools and technologies with AWS to drive consumption of its infrastructure.
Microsoft claims that over 30% of VMs launched on Azure are running Linux. Almost all the distributions of Linux including Red Hat, Ubuntu, CentOS, SUSE and Oracle Linux are officially supported in Azure. Azure Container Service, the Containers as a Service (CaaS) is built on open source software like Docker Swarm, Apache Mesos, and Kubernetes. Many services of Azure have deep integration with OSS.
When compared to Amazon and Microsoft, Google is different in its approach to open source. Unlike its competitors, Google is one of the largest contributors to OSS. During the last decade, it created over 2000 open source projects. Android, Angular, Chromium and Go are some of the most successful OSS projects from Google.
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