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August 14, 2017 No Comments

Featured interview with Ian Knight, CRO of Treasure Data

Security. Support. Indemnities. Hard to believe, but in some circles, these are still seen as concerns holding companies back from deploying open source software. But that thinking is long outdated as leading enterprises, governments, and all branches of the armed forces now trust open source to securely manage their data. To compete in the digital economy, enterprise companies have much to gain from understanding and leveraging open source innovation. It’s never too late because this stream of innovation gets stronger every day as new and established communities continue to churn out powerfully transformative software.

Open source software has characteristics such as quality, flexibility, security, and standardization that are unsurpassed by traditional software solutions. It has long-term viability and is always on the cutting-edge of technology. The software is created and supported by a worldwide community of organizations and individual developers, many of whom also live by open source values like collaboration and volunteerism.

  • Q. How can the open source community help prevent cyber attacks?

A. With many eyes, all bugs are shallow is a famous refrain from OSS. If the last few months of cyber attacks have taught us anything (Verizon, Target, etc.), it’s that cyber threats are a bigger risk than ever before. Thus, the need for open source which inherently produces higher quality and more secure code while providing a response vehicle for the community to spot an issue and address it at once. OSS response to vulnerabilities and bugs are faster and more comprehensive when compared to proprietary development models. Often, proprietary software companies are reluctant to publicly admit there is a vulnerability, preferring to “hide” the fix in the next update, thus creating longer times to remediation.

Less philosophically, the founders of Treasure Data were also the founders of the Fluentd open source project.  So much of today’s cyber-security threat monitoring is based on collecting and analyzing edge-of-network logs to identify and expose activities that can alert and predict cyber attacks. Fluentd has become the de facto standard for log collection, forwarding, aggregating and routing – without Fluentd, enterprises face higher costs and slower response times to real threats.  That’s a very tangible example of how innovation from open source is helping prevent cyber attacks.

  • Q. Why are the fintech and telecom industries best positioned to adopt OSS now? And who’s next?

A. Any industry can adopt open source software, adoption rates tend to be driven by the role technology plays in creating a competitive advantage.  The fintech and telecom industries gain competitive advantage from the speed of transactions and ability to scale which dictates that they are always on the bleeding edge of tech. These were some of the early pioneers of cloud and dev-ops operational models which were born and grew from open source roots. Fintech and Telecom business models demand secure, scalable, and customizable applications that have been repeatedly proven to perform best on open source. Two of the biggest technology shifts of the past ten years have been Cloud and DevOps which are best managed and optimized through log-based reporting. But yet, many of these companies aren’t realizing the full benefit of Cloud and DevOps because they haven’t established a unified logging strategy which creates unnecessary expense and time waste digging through mountains of logs to find the gold.

  • Q. What are the advantages of using OSS over the traditional corporate software?

A. Open source innovation comes from the idea that the best code will win, regardless of where it comes from or who created it. In comparison, some proprietary software companies are still characterized by unhealthy group competition and politics that prevent the best code from winning. Open source software offerings were the first models to leverage the customer-first, customer-friendly, subscription-based monetization model which is far superior to the outdated license and maintenance model. Subscriptions allow customers to consume a constant stream of innovation as their operational life cycle dictates vs. the quarterly revenue needs of the software company. Comparatively, outdated license/maintenance models have traditionally held back innovation until a new license deal could be transacted. Financial models aside, at times, it’s simply a manpower game – a community of motivated companies and programmers, competing in a meritocracy is far superior to anything a proprietary software could ever hire, construct, and manage.

Open source is the both the present and the future. The best-in-class web, mobile, data management, and cloud solutions are all open source native and are most performant on open source infrastructure. I’m a strong believer in open source software and have seen it transform and optimize literally hundreds of enterprises, with 65% of today’s companies contributing to open source products in 2016. If you value your business, your job, your future…then you need to value OSS.


Ian Knight is currently the CRO at Treasure Data. Knight is an IT veteran with more than twenty-five years’ experience in scaling enterprise sales organizations and driving open source adoption and commercialization. Knight’s prior experience includes a decade long tenure at Red Hat where he helped grow its subscription revenue from $84M to over $1.3B while serving in a variety of leaderships positions, including Vice President of Western US Sales. Knight has also held positions at Oracle/PeopleSoft and Salesforce.

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