Question: What does open source bring to the data integration table that proprietary software can't provide?
Diard: Data integration is about interoperability of all systems - open or proprietary, deployed inside the firewall or in SaaS mode, databases or packaged applications, “modern" or legacy. Unlike proprietary solutions, open source data integration is capable of connecting to all of these systems. The open nature of the approach means that connectors can be extended, or even created, by the community as needed. Proprietary vendors do not offer this capability, and will only build a custom connector at a steep premium.
Another benefit of the open source approach is that it removes adoption obstacles - there is no initial cost, and no cost for incremental deployments.
Question: Is there something about data integration specifically that lends itself to open source?
Diard: Open source is gaining ground at all levels of the information system. After becoming prevalent in the “lower" levels, the infrastructure, open source is gaining ground in middleware and in business applications. The model has proven itself to be versatile and scalable, and the solutions to be as robust, even more so, than their proprietary counterparts.
In addition, data integration constitutes the interoperability layer of the enterprise information system. As open source becomes more and more prevalent in business systems, it is logical for open source to also become prevalent in its integration layers.
And of course the recent M&As in the space tremendously help the open source cause. Clients are tired of being victims of product strategy shifts, price list changes and other demands of proprietary vendors. Open source is an insurance policy against all this.
Question: You've written recently in the Talend blog about Microsoft's efforts to become more “open. " Are Microsoft's moves good or bad for open source? Why?
Diard: It depends which Microsoft moves you are talking about, and who you ask in the open source community. As far as we are concerned, Microsoft's support of open source, through their open source lab in Redmond, is a very positive thing. They are supporting a few select open source vendors (including Talend, MySQL, Firefox and a few others) to ensure that they interoperate well with Microsoft's technologies. This suits us just fine because we are in the interoperability business, and Microsoft is present everywhere in the IT stack. Our joint users will benefit from better support by Talend Open Studio of the Windows platform, advanced support for Microsoft Dynamics and the new version SQL Server 2008.
Question: How does the fact that Talend has an open source business model affect the company's partnership with Microsoft?
Diard: It does not impact our partnership. Today, open source and proprietary solutions co-exist in the information system, and data integration is the “glue" that links them together. What this partnership is about is simply to ensure the best possible level of interoperability. The business models do not need to be similar for us to deploy our solutions alongside one another.
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