July 23, 2013

This week is O’Reilly OSCON, a conference dedicated to all things open source. Basho is a sponsor and Basho engineer, Eric Redmond, will be delivering a presentation entitled “Distributed Patterns In Action“.

Basho first open sourced Riak in 2009. It’s a decision that helped us grow our business, and become a leader in newer, agile enterprise environments. Our participation in the open source community benefits our culture, our development process, and our business.

In honor of OSCON, we thought it important to explore the commercial aspects of our open source decision.

The Business of Open Source

Open source is in the DNA of our company, with both Riak and Riak CS available under the Apache 2 license. (It is worth noting that these products are but a few of our open source contributions, which also include Webmachine and Lager.) To turn this great code into a business, we chose to stay true to our roots as a software company, instead of just selling services. The enterprise versions of Riak and Riak CS offer the entirety of our open source software, with the addition of multi-datacenter replication and monitoring capabilities.

The decision to sell licenses to the enterprise, rather than to rely just on services, makes Basho unique. It allows us to engage with our enterprise customers in the transformation of their application architecture. They can be confident in the software’s availability and in Basho’s commitments to support them – as customers. Enterprises need an alternative to traditional database vendors, but one that can still fit — in license structure, operational management, and process integration — into a traditional organization.

Our licensing model for Riak Enterprise and Riak CS Enterprise lets us balance agility with tradition. Our community helps us develop groundbreaking software, while the enterprise license helps corporate IT and Operations sleep at night.

Open source drives adoption (a concept discussed at length in Stephen O’Grady’s book The New Kingmakers). That means Riak is used across many different industries, powering thousands of applications. That commercial validation — our success in production deployments — is accelerated due to the open source availability.

We remain keenly aware, and tremendously appreciative, that our community (from the individuals to the large organizations) guides Riak and Riak CS updates, and has been crucial to the refinement and forward momentum of this software.

Basho’s success is open source’s success. Our strengths reside both in our team and in our community, as their combined efforts improve our technology and its utilization. We are excited to see what other open source showcases are in view at OSCON 2013.

Greg Collins