A month ago I talked about Bitrock and Bitnami on the blog. [And I pointed out I'm an advisor.] I talked about the Bitrock one-click multi-platform installer technology used by many open source companies (e.g. KnowledgeTree, SugarCRM), and the release of a great collection of open source packages on Bitnami (e.g. Ruby-on-Rails, Drupal). But I believe the most exciting business opportunity Bitrock brings to the table is the Network Service. This week Bitrock will be unveiling the new version of the Network Service at the Open Source Business Conference.
A lot of the value provided by businesses using open source software comes from the subscription network offerings made by the vendor. It started as a security and administration discussion with Red Hat Network and Novell/Ximian Red Carpet but has grown to include extremely successful companies like MySQL, JBoss, and Canonical. This is the business model innovation that gets well beyond "open source business" equals "selling support and consulting services." This is the subscription revenue stream dreamed by historical closed-source software companies but never delivered. [Stephen O'Grady had a good post on this value creation last Summer, with supporting comments from Zack Urlocker (MySQL) and Javier Soltero (Hyperic CEO) and my added commentary on the broader business model.]
The BitRock Network Service provides the platform of tools and infrastructure on which companies can build their own profitable network solutions around their open source software offerings. Companies can provide value-added subscription services like updates, monitoring and (soon) backup without having to build the solution from scratch. Bitrock will be doing a demo at OSBC at 11:30 AM on Wednesday. [The OSBC organizers have fixed last year's demo problems by providing a separate breakout room for demonstrations.] Bitrock also has a booth so it's easy to drill down if you want more information.