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Open Source 2007?

Open Source in Telco

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In the last year, we've seen open source software explode into the telecommunications market.  Typically telco equipment manufacturers, carriers and the like are on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, so this is really no big surprise.  The only surprise is how fast they've migrated from home-grown and proprietary software to open source.  Some of the largest deals MySQL closed in the last year were in the telecommunications industry, who are heavy users of MySQL Enterprise and MySQL Cluster.  This includes such well known companies as Alcatel, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, France Telecom, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel, Telio, Vodafone and many others.

We've also started to see a new generation of "Web meets Telco" companies, like Tellme Networks, build almost completely on open source.  Tellme was able to reduce the costs of their mission critical applications and improve availability by using MySQL.  They use it in their core distributed data cluster handling more than 2 terabytes of data per week as well as for data warehousing and as a general data store for their applications.  Tellme has grown tremendously in the last few years.  They are the market leader in Directory Assistance handling nearly 2 billion call sper year and over 80% of all automated calls in Amercia including customers like American Airlines, Amazon, E*Trade, FedEdx, Merrill Lynch, Dominos and many others. They are also now powering all Cingular Wireless 411 calls.  If you've ever used an automated voice recognition system to make reservations or check on the status of an order, you've most likely been using Tellme's service. You can also use Tellme to do any kind of general web searching by calling 1-800-555-TELL (or 1-800-555-1212).

Seeing widespread use of Open Source in mission-critical telecommunications applications shows how far the technology has come in recent years.  It's not just about web application front-ends anymore.  The new generation of business critical applications are web-based now and it seems clear that this trend towards web convergence will continue.  My believe is that the Web 2.0 companies we regard as leading edge today will showcase an architecture that becomes mainstream for Enterprise 2.0 in the next few years.

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