Published on January 3, 2007
Open Source Sustainability and Support – Is there a right model? Jim Layne Vice President Marketing Sakai, December 07, 2006 © Copyright Unicon, Inc., 2006. This work is the intellectual property of Unicon, Inc. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of Unicon, Inc. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from Unicon, Inc.
1. Market Observations 2. Sustainability and Support 3. Proposed Solution
Market Observations Consolidation Change Choice
Consolidation • Education market software vendors are consolidating – Oracle buys Peoplesoft – SunGard goes private • SunGard bought SCT who bought Campus Pipeline – Datatel goes private • Datatel buys Active Matrix – Blackboard buys WebCT • Consolidation leads to: – Market power and vendor lock-in • Blackboard raising prices and reducing volume discounts • Raising prices and slowing innovation lead to healthy profits – Less Options – Uncertainty over product viability • What’s the future of aging Datatel and SCT systems? • What happens to WebCT?
Impact of Bb/WebCT Merger • 2006 Instructional Technology Council (ITC) survey: – 30% of their membership are considering alternatives to Bb/WebCT – In 2005 only 1% were seeking alternatives • A-HEC Best Practices in Open Source (OS) Study – Considering open source as an alternative? (question asked before Bb/WebCT merger) • 17% of Blackboard users • 16% of WebCT users • Fact: Interest in open source e-learning solutions is growing – Sakai, Moodle, LAMS, etc. • Recent Bb legal actions fueling the interest but also delaying action
Education Seeking Options “We [higher education IT buyers] need to strengthen our power as consumers. Quite frankly, the open source movement in higher education (and elsewhere) is simply a way to do this. In Porterian terms, that movement increases the threat of substitutes.”  Richard Katz views fostering open source development and usage as a way to provide choice and maintain a healthy competitive market.  Richard N. Katz, “Honey, Have You Seen My Market?,” Educause Review, (January/February 2006); p. 76.
Open Source Moving up the “Stack” • Within Higher Education (HE) – Sakai, Moodle, LAMS, OSP, Kuali, uPortal, CAS, OpenEAI, etc. • Outside of HE – Zimbra, SugarCRM, Compiere, Alfresco, Medsphere, etc. Gartner predicts “by 2010, mainstream IT organizations will consider open-source products in 25 percent of their business software (applications) investments (0.6 probability).”
Open Source Applications in Higher Education Open Source gaining acceptance in HE – 2/3 of CIOs considering open source (infrastructure and applications) – 25% of all institutions implementing HE OS applications – 32% of HE has not yet considered OS (mostly smaller institutions) – 26% believe OS application presence will be substantial in 3 years jumping to 55% of those who have already implemented an OS application – 56% of institutions are more likely to adopt OS if backed by a commercial vendor *Abel, R J. (2006). Best Practices in Open Source in Higher Education Study The State of Open Source Software. March, 2006. Lake Mary, FL, The Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness, Inc.
Sustainability and Support Defined Selection Criteria The Challenge
Open Source Sustainability – What is it? Ongoing investment and resources for: – New innovation Development Activity – Ongoing development – Product maintenance over Time useful life of product
Open Source Sustainability – Economics • Software project costs: – 20% spent for initial release Development Activity 80% 20% – 80% spent on ongoing maintenance releases over useful life of project* Time • Sustainability is all about how to fund the 80% *Dr. Brad Wheeler, AACRAO Presentation, April 19, 2006 *Also see: http://www.compaid.com/caiInternet/ezine/maintenance-canfora.pdf
Support – What is expected? • Mechanism for reporting and escalating product issues • Mechanism for getting defects fixed • Development of ongoing product enhancements • Predictable installations, upgrades and migrations • Functional and production advice • Infrastructure to facilitate support activities • Training, consulting, custom development, etc.
Support and Maintenance – What is it? “Software maintenance is the process of modifying a software system or component after delivery to correct faults, improve performance, or other attributes, or adapt to a changed environment.” *IEEE Std. 610.12, “Standard Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology”, IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA, 1990.
A Market Problem with Open Source Annie Stunden, CIO, University of Wisconsin observed that the education community has yet to develop an effective model to support shared Open Source solutions: “We need to develop creative, collaborative solutions to the dilemma of maintenance and support in our shared software development initiatives.” *Annie Stunden, CIO, University of Wisconsin, November 2003 EDUCAUSE Review
Sustainability and Support Challenge • If sustainability of an open source project is questionable due to A inherent funding and resource d o uncertainties then this deters p t adoption i o n • Lack of dependable support model for open source software Time deters usage Provide certainty around sustainability and ongoing support then usage of OS increases
Open Source Project Support Variables • Where to focus the resources? – On Innovation and future releases – Or maintenance and past releases • Who can you rely on? – Volunteer resources – Dedicated resources • How to fund support and maintenance activity? • Would it help to offload support and maintenance to a dedicated, accountable team?
Open Source Cooperative Support Model What is it and how is it different? What can Unicon provide? How the program works SLA’s and Pricing
Stakeholders • Developers Support Cooperative Subscribers • System Administrators • DBA’s • Institutions • Community • Our Associates
OS Support & Maintenance Approaches Heavy Productization / Minimal Productization / Mixed OS + Proprietary Pure OS Code Cooperative Products like Academus, Support Concept Individual Support Luminis, rSmart Vendor Partner In-house Experts OS Cooperative Support -Pros -Pros -Pros - QA and documentation assurances - Complete freedom to - Some freedom to choose version choose version -Baseline quality established through - Broad freedom to make modifications QA making support easier - Complete freedom to - Investment in in-house expertise is make modifications - Productized optional -Cons - Maintained Integrations - Guaranteed development investment - Institution completely back into project - Accountable partner accountable - Accountable partner -Cons - Quality and -Cons - Minimal say over version documentation depends - Complexity of deployment increases on community - More limited customization options cost of support - Easy to fork code - Less freedom - Dependent on outside experts - Guaranteed on-going - Vendor lock - Model difficult to scale with right talent investment depends on - Forked version institutional investment
Unicon’s Proposed Solution • Open Source Cooperative Support Program – Solves support problem by providing a support model – Helps sustainability by providing consistent stream of development activity – Represents a funding model for 80% Development Activity Development Activity 80% Time Time
What is Cooperative Support? Cooperative "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically- controlled enterprise. " Wikipedia.com
What This Program Provides • Stability and peace of mind - insurance • A trust-worthy accountable partner • Access to dedicated and experience project contributors without hiring them • Strength in numbers to support Sakai project sustainability
What This Program Provides (con’t) • Predictable and controllable support costs • Visibility (both inside and outside program) • Option to participate in OS project by proxy • Additional channel for communicating product bugs and enhancements • Mechanism for getting dedicated development work done on bugs and enhancements
Why Is It Different • A subscriber driven program • Democratic approach to development efforts • No layers to reach the experts • Support is provided directly on the community distribution • All resulting efforts are committed to the project (no forked versions) • Less vendor lock-in risk
Pricing Model • Two-tier price structure – Fixed annual subscription fee • Base number of support hours included – Low hourly rate for urgent development issues that subscribers wish to accelerate
Pricing Model • Rationale for pricing structure – Fixed rate funds the dedicated technical resources – Hourly rate reduces risk and ensures judicious use of the team’s time – Hourly rate enables members to fund individual priorities, an option that’s difficult to accommodate within OS today
How the Program Works Subscriber
How the Program Works Subscriber Open Support Case Open Development Issue
How the Program Works Subscriber Open Support Case Open Development Issue Provide Response According to SLA Provide Resolution According to SLA Close Support Case No Further Work Technical Support Uses Support Hours Included w/ Subscription Additional Time is $100 per hour
How the Program Works Subscriber Open Support Case Open Development Issue Any Support case that requires development Provide Response According to SLA Provide Resolution According to SLA Close Support Case No Further Work Technical Support Uses Support Hours Included w/ Subscription Additional Time is $100 per hour
How the Program Works Subscriber Open Support Case Open Development Issue Any Support case that requires development Cooperative Path Any Issue No Cost to Subscriber Subscribers Review Provide Response And Vote for Issues According to SLA Gets Selected and Developed Provide Resolution According to SLA Apply Patch to Project Head (If Appropriate) Close Support Case No Further Work Close Dev Issues Technical Support Cooperative Development Uses Support Hours Included w/ Subscription Free to subscribers Additional Time is $100 per hour
How the Program Works Subscriber Open Support Case Open Development Issue Any Support case that requires development Cooperative Path Accelerated Path Any Issue Defect or No Cost to Subscriber Under 40 Hour Effort Subscribers Review Gets Selected Provide Response And Vote for Issues and Developed According to SLA Gets Selected Attach Resulting Patch and Developed Provide Resolution to the Issue According to SLA Apply Patch to Project Head (If Appropriate) Close Support Case No Further Work Close Dev Issues Technical Support Cooperative Development Accelerated Development Uses Support Hours Included w/ Subscription Free to subscribers $100 per hour Additional Time is $100 per hour
How the Program Works Subscriber Open Support Case Open Development Issue Any Support case that requires development Cooperative Path Accelerated Path Enhancements or Any Issue Defect or Features over 40 Hour No Cost to Subscriber Under 40 Hour Effort effort Unicon Professional Subscribers Review Gets Selected Services Provide Response And Vote for Issues and Developed According to SLA Gets Selected Attach Resulting Patch and Developed Provide Resolution to the Issue According to SLA Apply Patch to Project Head (If Appropriate) Close Support Case No Further Work Close Dev Issues Technical Support Cooperative Development Accelerated Development Uses Support Hours Included w/ Subscription Free to subscribers $100 per hour Additional Time is $100 per hour
SLA’s Program Standard Enterprise Institution Size Small to Medium Medium to Large Response Time* 1 hour** 1 hour (24x7) High Severity 4 hours** 4 hours (24x7) Medium Severity Next Business Day Next Business Day Low Severity Named Contacts 3 6 Development “Priority Votes” 3 6 Annual Subscription $15,000 $35,000 Included Annual Support Hours 30 100 Additional Support Rate $100/hr $100/hr Accelerated Development Rate $100/hr $100/hr * Unicon technical support staff will provide best effort support in working with you on a resolution; however, there is no guaranteed resolution time. **During normal support business hours, 6 AM – 6 PM (MST)
Sakai Services • Implementation Planning • Project Planning and Assessment • Installation/Configuration • Branding • Training • Custom Development – Portal/SIS Integration – Content Migration • ASP/Hosting Services
Why Unicon? Unicon – Founded 1993 – Over 100 employees – Early open source innovator Experienced staff in: Our Vision: – Higher Education To be recognized as the leading independent supporter of open source – Open Source development and technologies for the online campus in community involvement the Educational market. – Online campus development Open source involvement – Leading commercial supporter of uPortal – Sakai Commercial Affiliate – Zimbra VAR
Questions? Jim Layne Vice President Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org www.unicon.net
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