EMC Opens up ViPR, but is it Really Open?

EMC is known in the industry as one of the longstanding archetypes of commercial software. They are also known for restricting access to knowledge and information around their storage products. They certainly aren’t what’s considered “open” by anyone’s definition. However at this year’s EMC World they stated that VIPR, their software defined storage product,  will also be available as an Open Source project called CoprHD (Copperhead). If anything, this further legitimizes what we’ve always done at iX by developing our software in the open. I say wait to see the facts on the architecture and licensing of ViPR, but there is a lot to be said about them joining the party.
After all, we’ve been defined by Open Source  since the beginning and so have others, so shouldn’t it be simpler now? However for many vendors, Open Source is a buzzword they like to throw around for good press and not walk the walk. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks like EMC is trying to adopt that same strategy for ViPR.

At iXsystems, we are defined by Open Source. Everything we do, all software we use internally, all projects we contribute to, and nearly every piece of software we develop is open. We develop FreeNAS, the Open Source version of TrueNAS. FreeNAS is a software defined storage product and has been freely-available Open Source software since its inception in late 2005. We’re passionate about Open Source because we believe in the open flow of information and the innovation it fosters.  We love the development model because it allows us to release a more secure, stable product more quickly than our competition. The model also provides us with direct access to a community of users and testers that provide us with feedback and feature requests, and therefore enhances our speed of innovation. TrueNAS is more secure, stable, and feature-rich because everyone can see and contribute to the base source code in FreeNAS. TrueNAS is also released faster since many people are involved. For instance, in our last release, FreeNAS 9.3, we had thousands testing nightly and BETA builds of FreeNAS, reporting bugs, requesting features, and even helping us close hundreds of bugs in the space of a couple of months. This interactive development model allows us to be the most agile company in storage.


So, we can’t help but be flattered by the imitation, EMC.  The key from here will be to show the world if you can truly walk the walk and be open, or if this is just another half-stepped PR ploy and buzzword grab.  Until you have a history of contribution to open source, you can’t claim to be open.  Releasing code is a good start but certainly only the first step in the sequence.  We’d love to have you as part of the gang EMC, so here’s the playbook to demonstrating your commitment to Open Source from here:

  1. Be serious, committed, and authentic.  You’re either all in or not at all.
  2. Develop in the open: release nightly and beta versions of the Open Source code to the community.
  3. Support multiple Open Source foundations, communities and events.
  4. Foster a self-sustaining community of contributors and users, and be open and honest with them, always.
  5. Have public forums and robust bug reporting/tracking tools.
  6. Have a formal policy for Open Source that allows any developer to be a committer of any Open Source project.
  7. Establish a release schedule process that is flexible to include new features, community submissions, feedback, and testing.
  8. Foster a culture of contribution to various projects inside and outside your organization.
  9. Scour the internet and other forums for unreported problems.
  10. Contribute to upstream projects.
  11. Get your customers engaged in the development community.

And, if you’re really serious:

  1. Make all your software Open Source, where applicable.

This is what we’ve done at iXsystems since the beginning, and this is the level of commitment needed before you can truly say you are driven by Open Source. So welcome to the party, EMC, but we’re going to need to see more to know whether you’re really here to stay or just jumping on the bandwagon.

To learn more about how TrueNAS is replacing EMC, you can view our webinar on 6 Reasons Why TrueNAS is Replacing EMC and NetApp in the Datacenter. You can also call or email one of our consultative representatives and let them configure an Open Source driven solution that meets your needs. Visit staging-www.ixsystems.com:8084, call 1.855.GREP.4.IX or email sales@ixsystems.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Brett Davis
iXsystems Executive Vice President