Presented by DataStax

Open source is an engine for innovation, offering reliability, scalability, and security for IT leaders. Learn how open source can help companies activate data in real time, improve customer relationships, and transform their business in this VB Live event.

Register here for free.

The world’s application innovation is now based on open source software. It has come to transform enterprise infrastructure — and as the ecosystem gets bigger, the innovation comes faster. Just look at the way Microsoft helped accelerate the progress of Linux.

As we look ahead to the next decade, or what some have started to call the decade of data, companies trying to execute on their data strategy are joining that open source ecosystem, says Bryan Kirschner, vice president of strategy at DataStax. In recent research conducted by the company, they found that 96% of today’s data leaders are embracing more open source software, and 69% of all companies as a whole.

While data technology doesn’t have to be open source, best-of-breed technologies like Kafka, Sparc, Apache, and Cassandra, and emerging technologies like Pulsar and Flank, are all open source. That trend will just continue to accelerate over the next decade. Open source lets companies leap directly toward creating value and driving innovation.

“Facebook built Cassandra because they couldn’t find a solution for what they wanted to accomplish,” Kirschner says. “But you as the end user, you don’t want to be solving a problem that’s been solved somewhere else by somebody else before. Leverage the technologies that often were built to expand the boundaries of what was possible.”

What’s unique about every enterprise is no one else has your customer relationships and the data they generate, he says. You have unique interactions with your customers, and domain knowledge in your industry. It’s about taking that data and figuring out how to use that data to create more value in those interactions or make your operations and processes more efficient.

“Focus on what’s unique to you, what’s in your domain knowledge,” he says. “The more types of interactions, the more data you generate, the more you can drive that data back into analytics, intelligence, recommendations, personalization, and so on. That’s what’s special. The infrastructure, the technology, they don’t solve problems that have already been solved.”

How to start leveraging open source

For companies that are interested in diving into the open source world, Kirschner notes that it’s an incredibly safe, secure, and rich ecosystem which offers a tremendous amount of choice. You can choose the level of autonomy you prefer, from Apache-licensed technology that lets you take the code and run it yourself, to 100 percent as-a-service offerings, like Astra DB, which is multi-cloud DBaaS built on Apache Cassandra™, so that your people don’t need to learn it if they don’t know it already.

Leaders in the space are also strong believers in best of breed — being able to deploy and use the best of breed today, but having their eye out for what’s cutting edge tomorrow.

“You’re going to come up with new and different ways of operating the business,” he explains. “It’s important to follow that commitment to best of breed. Expect that new tools will emerge that may make your wild and crazy ideas possible. Stay plugged into the ecosystem. Keep looking at what’s next, do proof of concepts, and stay proactive as the open source ecosystem evolves.”

Getting buy-in: Open source and a culture of innovation

“Technical practitioners have been getting excited about open source for as long as I can remember,” Kirschner says. “For folks on the business side who aren’t familiar with open source and its history and dynamics, it’s an opportunity for CIOs or CTOs, folks on the tech side, to explain why this is valuable and exciting, why you want to go down this path, and help them share that enthusiasm.”

If you have a culture that encourages experimentation and innovation, open source is fantastic for the frictionless, “give it a try, see if it works” kind of innovation — and if you don’t have that culture, you should encourage it, he adds.

One of the big takeaways of the DataStax “State of the Data Race 2021” report was that the enemy of progress, pre-COVID, was talk. Debate can be endless — you make a lot more progress by shipping code, shipping MVPs, doing proof of concepts.

“What has come out of this disruption is we have just cut months and months off of the time it took us to do anything, because we have a bias for action,” he says. “It grew out of necessity, but once you prove that bias for action works, it sticks. That doesn’t require open source, but open source is a fantastic platform to help embed the culture of doing into your organization.”

Register for free here.

You’ll learn:

  • How and why key open source technologies should play a central role in your data strategy role
  • How to leverage leading and emerging technologies to drive your own data strategy forward
  • Best practices for aligning cultural as well as technical patterns for success to accelerate innovation


  • Al Gillen, Group VP, Software Development and Open Source, IDC
  • Bryan Kirschner, Vice President Strategy, DataStax

More industry thought-leaders to come!