2015-19-March-Aikido-Attack-Asa-Aarons-Smith

EMC CEO Joe Tucci’s star didn’t rise in an open source world. In fact, the idea of paying engineers to write code that would be donated to “the community” might have seemed as crazy to him as taking the doors off of all of his vacation homes and inviting a bunch of hippies to move in.

But the times they are a changin’, as Bob Dylan likes to sing.

This morning EMC will announce that it is opening the first Cloud Foundry Dojo, a place where application developers can receive the training needed to gain full open source contributor (“committer”) status on the open source development project in six weeks. It typically takes as long as one year.

The move, according to a pitch we received from EMC, is intended to signal “a new strategic focus for EMC as a major contributor to open source.”

No Vendor Lock-In

This is a critical and important initiative for the company. As its customers move to the third platform, they’re simply not interested in proprietary solutions that lock them into a specific vendor or prevent them from influencing the future of the technology.

That’s certainly a lesson EMC/VMware spawn Pivotal Software learned as it knocked on doors with its proprietary big data platform.

 “It has to be open source, the conversation doesn’t begin,” said Michael Cucchi, a marketing manager at Pivotal Software during a recent conversation. He was explaining why Pivotal was going to open source its big data stack.

Perhaps EMC kept hearing the same message.

The Cloud Foundry Dojo concept belongs to Cloud Foundry Foundation, a consortium of 40 plus member companies ranging from Accenture and Alpine Data Labs to BNY Mellon and GE. Its purpose is to provide developers with a choice of clouds, frameworks and application services that make it easier to build applications faster.

Rapid Learning

EMC’s Dojo will focus on rapid learning and development of applications using the paired programming concept, which was put into the spotlight when EMC acquired Pivotal Labs.

It positions coders shoulder-to-shoulder with Cloud Foundry gurus so that they can learn the project inside and out as they work. The expectation seems to be that participants will be able to commit code to the Cloud Foundry project by the end of six weeks.

EMC says that it will invest $10 million into its Dojo over the next few years.

The Cloud Foundry project’s aim is to provide a platform for the community of customers, partners and even former competitors to collaborate, teach, share and learn together, accelerating the pace of innovation and contribution.

Will Open Source Be Enough?

As we’ve already established, EMC’s move from a proprietary solution provider to an open source contributor is a big deal. And betting on Cloud Foundry as the Platform as a Service (PaaS) of the future doesn’t seem to be much of a risk.

After all, Accenture, ActiveState, Alpine Data Labs, Altoros, Anchora, Anynines, AppDynamics, Azul Systems, Blue Box, BNY Mellon, Canonical, Canopy, Capgemini, CenturyLink, CloudCredo, Docker, EMC, Ericsson, GE, HP, IBM, Intel, jFrog, MongoDB, NTT, Piston Cloud Computing, Pivotal, Rackspace, Redis Labs, SAP, Stark & Wayne, Telus, Verizon and VMware have all joined and/or provided contributions and/or support to the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

The big question to be answered is whether EMC’s Cloud Foundry Dojo initiative will be enough to convince its customers that “EMC” is hip to open source. Training 136 Cloud Foundry contributors in six weeks each year, is a good start when it comes to gaining a foothold.

Title image by Asa Aarons Smith/all rights reserved.