Guest: Billy Thompson (LinkedIn)
Company: Akamai (Twitter
Show: TFiR: T3M

Akamai Technologies is a leading provider of content delivery, security, and edge compute solutions, with the company’s values firmly rooted in the open source movement. In this episode of TFiR: T3M, Swapnil Bhartiya sits down with Billy Thompson, Solutions Engineering Manager at Akamai, to talk about how open source is accelerating the growth and adoption of cloud and how the commercial aspect fits into it. He goes on to discuss Akamai’s views on open source and the projects they are currently involved in. 

How has open source accelerated the adoption of cloud?

  • Open source has played a crucial role in the explosion of cloud computing, with many proprietary services making use of open-source technologies. 
  • Linode was the first in 2003 to provide a platform that simplified deploying virtualized servers with open-source Linux distributions. It acted as a catalyst for cloud computing making it simpler and more affordable to manage and run your own hardware and pay for space. 

What role has the commercial aspect played in open source?

  • Open source is grounded in the community, which Linode is heavily invested in. They sponsor many conferences, meets, hackathons, and open-source projects, which have been instrumental in creating some of these new products that become commercialized. 
  • The platform is used for development of open-source projects that later become industry-standard tools and cloud primitives that are used to power businesses. 
  • Hobbyist developers have also been hired by commercial companies to help in the transition over to cloud using that open source tooling and cloud infrastructure primitives that they came to know from the platform. 

How important is open source to Akamai?

  • Open source lies at the heart of the company’s ethos, deeply rooted in the open source philosophy and movement. They aim to continue to serve the community by providing support in order to drive growth, adoption, and innovation. 
  • Akamai promotes portable, rigorously tested open-source solutions while also supporting those still developing and emerging. 
  • Open source solutions avoid cloud vendor lock-in, which helps to foster innovation. Even though it is under the hood of many proprietary services it is promoted in a way that can run across different providers and is more modular and adaptive to the emerging trends. 

Current open source projects Akamai is involved in:

  • Akamai is currently supporting several open-source projects such as OpenFaaS, the serverless framework for Kubernetes web frameworks, and Pyramid, a Python web framework.
  • The company also supports several open-source conferences, including KubeCon, LinuxFeast, All Things Open, as well as some hackathons, podcasts, and YouTube channels that promote open source. 

What role do foundations like CNCF and Apache play?

  • Foundations play a pivotal role in ensuring the licensing cannot be changed later on to become privatized. They work to secure the future of open source and vendor neutrality in the industry. 
  • The ecosystems of tools also support vendor neutrality and create a more collaborative space overall. 

This summary was written by Emily Nicholls.

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