One of the things that Gartner did very well at this conference is they blended heavy duty research and analysis with good examples to illustrate the trends. They had a good balance of analysts presenting as well as panels that let open source gurus, customers and vendors discuss the issues. And for the most part, the panels were not scripted affairs, they allowed the moderator to pursue interesting lines of discussion and take questions from the audience.
A few of the presentations also used short case studies on companies to show how they have been successful with open source. Ray Valdes cited a number of examples in his presentation such as:
- Sabre Holdings reduced their TCO by over 40% by implementing their open source fare search system (ATSE) using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, MySQL and Tomcat (with a smattering of JBoss). The system runs on more than 45 quad CPU linux boxes and handles 20 million fare records, 1.5 million scheduled departures and 3 billion price combinations! The overall system scales to handle 300 transactions per second.
- TheFaceBook has more than 8 million unique visitors delivering 5.5 billion page views per month, making it the tenth most visited site in the US. They get 93% repeat visitors per month and 70% of their users visit every day. The amazing thing is the system was written in 10 days by a college kid (now their CEO) during final exams! What does the system run on? LAMP stack, using MySQL, naturally.
- Cendant has a travel system that handles more than 700 pricing requests per second all built on a Red Hat open source stack
- Morgan Stanley has implemented more than 1000 Linux Servers for various applications
Valdes also gave examples of "Global class" web sites such as Amazon, Schwab, Expedia, as well as some unconventional (by IT standards) sites like MySpace, Zanga, LiveJournal that are all built on open source. MySQL came out very well represented in these scale-out applications.
Valdes also compared the LAMP Stack to the traditional stacks from "gorilla" vendors IBM, SAP, and Oracle. While the large companies have more in their stacks (think Apps, Content Management, Portals, Directory Services, App Servers, OS and in some cases hardware), the LAMP stack is still "burning bright." He said that although the LAMP stack is a "short stack" it continues to improve and its small footprint is actually a virtue for many new enterprise applications.
There were several other excellent presentations at the conference, including Tim O'Reilly's keynote, a presentation by Linux analyst George Weiss, practical guidance on overcoming obstacles towards adoption and several other interesting panels. If you're a Gartner client, you can look forward to more research in the open source area in the next year. For those not yet clients, I recommend attending Gartner's next open source conference in 2006.