Why WalmartLabs Turned to Open Source

Support for open source platforms helps them hire the brightest engineers, amongst other advantages, says MD of WalmartLabs India.

There is an increased focus on Social, Cloud, Analytics and Mobiles by businesses.  And corporates are increasingly turning to open source to address a plethora of their requirements. There is a growing focus on big data - hadoop and hadoop based technologies, caching technologies like Cassandra -NoSQL, and cloud technologies like OpenStack.

Many Indian companies are turning to open source software given the increasing acceptance of open technologies among the Indian developer communities. This also makes it easier for organizations to find the right talent. Some of the best engineers across the globe contribute to open source technologies and the community participation ensures that the technological contributions are of phenomenal quality.

WalmartLabs, that powers Walmart eCommerce, recently turned to open source for quite a few reasons.

In an interaction with BW CIOWorld, K Jaya Kumar, Vice President and Managing Director of WalmartLabs India, cites ‘attraction for developers’ as the main reason.  Here is the interview.

What made Walmart turn to open source?

Open source software has a lot of attraction for developers. WalmartLabs seeks to provide developers the freedom to use open source software platforms that helps them in developing software in a fast and agile manner. WalmartLabs support for open source software also helps us attract and hire some of the brightest engineers.  And as a company, Walmart also supports the open source software movement by giving back to the community with technologies like Hapi – which is a framework for enterprise-class mobile app development. .

What has Walmart contributed to in open source?
An example of open source software that Walmart has used is the OpenStack cloud solution that Walmart has deployed in production. This stack has already been deployed on more than a 150,00 cores and the year may see more deployments as and when they are deemed necessary.

An example of software that Walmart has contributed to the open source world is called OneOps which is a cloud management system. It enables continuous lifecycle management of complex, business-critical application workloads on any cloud-based infrastructure. 

This product is widely used in Walmart’s internal clouds to power deployments of commerce and backend supply-chain applications in production as well as support large-scale engineering activities in lower environments. It allows a development team design their application-specific assembly, provision runtime environments and monitor their live applications in operations.

OneOps streamlines the three phases of an application’s runtime lifecycle: design, provisioning and operations. You can visually assemble your application from a library of predefined building blocks and reusable packs. It provides a powerful set of automation tools to monitor applications, scale and repair them during operations. Additionally, OneOps is portable across a wide range of cloud providers from public to private and local.

What are some of the matrices and parameters that WalmartLabs has set to estimate the RoI?
Reduction in Capex and Opex costs would be one way of measuring the ROI. Others could be the degree of adoption of different open source technologies inside the company. In addition, if there is a reduced time to market for software apps because of the use of open source technologies – that would be another way to measure the ROI.

What’s the implication of this move for users?
The users of open source software will be able to develop their applications and do their deployments faster, be able to develop expertise which will be useful in different contexts and also learn from the open source community.


Tags assigned to this article:
hadoop NoSQL Hapi open source openstack OSS walmart WalmartLabs


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