Driving Down Development Costs Calls for A New Model Based on End-to-End Linux Support

Shrinking budgets, floundering development teams, limited resources, backlogged projects and lack of stakeholder engagement are common occurrences among development teams. Yet developers are continually asked by management to remain flexible in their product designs while increasing their productivity. Making matters worse, the size and quantity of development projects continue to increase so it becomes more difficult to obtain a clear sense of direction from management that forces development teams to become less flexible, not more. As a result, many business opportunities fade as it takes too long to build solutions that companies need to succeed.

To counter this, companies need to find ways to maintain flexibility, scalability, stability and portability in their development of solutions while shortening the development cycle and containing costs. The good news is that the risks associated with free operating systems such as Linux are now far behind us and many development teams are taking advantage of its cost effectiveness and modularity to remain flexible within the development cycle.

For instance, the underlying Linux device driver model allows independent hardware vendors to create source code that can easily integrate into the Linux kernel or even be accepted into the primary Linux kernel. This modularity in design and implementation makes it easy to add, modify or remove specific pieces of the kernel to create a solution that is tailored to a specific purpose–something undoable with proprietary and closed operating systems such as Windows that require development against a predefined application binary interface (ABI) and restricts driver integration.

Under closed situations, developers can only hope and wait for any key ABI call that may be required for future development. But the Linux modularity enables development team to create their own features or hooks into the kernal and actually expedite the development process.

One can hardly argue against the success of Linux. User and developer communities such as The Linux Foundation and The Linux Developer Network attest to the success and steadily increasing set of robust development tools and user communities. And while Linux is still free, many large distributors, companies such as Dell, IBM, HP, and Sun Microsystems, have latched onto its benefits by creating business models that support selling, supporting and contributing to the Linux free software and open source initiatives.

As a market leader in offering Linux servers, HP has consistently been at the top of the hardware vendor list. In an IDC press release, Jie Wu, IDC’s research manager for technical computing, finds that HP maintains a sizable share of the market for server revenue for the second quarter of 2008 (HP with 37%, IBM with 27%, and Dell with 16%). In terms of developing and deploying applications on Linux, HP has a commanding lead in both Linux revenue share and units and leads IBM by 16.5 percentage points and Dell by 21.7 percentage points. This commanding share of the Linux market is rooted in HP’s clear and serious commitment to the growth, maturity, and success of open source technology as it employs more than 2,500 developers and 6,500 service professionals focused on Linux.

For a developer, gaining valuable insight into the best methodologies and features for complex development projects can be difficult, especially when a deep-dive into architecture is needed. It’s at these times that developers can benefit from mature and well-developed vendor relationships. As a key distribution partner of HP solutions, Bell Micro has built a strong relationship with HP that enables Bell Micro to easily extend HP’s expertise to developers who can then indirectly tap HP’s strong background in Linux. By buying directly from Bell Micro, companies can take better advantage of the Bell Micro and HP relationship since their developers are better positioned to access expert support during the design, development and service and support of their products and solutions that this relationship delivers.

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