In short, the SugarCRM Open Cloud is the evolution of Sugar’s commitment to empower their customers with choice and flexibility.
Don’t be fooled, cloud computing is a way to keep things proprietary.
The open source community made so much progress in the past decade getting software with open source licenses into business’s products and IT solutions. But just when you thought your software was becoming open and standards compliant, someone found a way to market vendor lock-in again.
So the “Cloud” and (perhaps more apropos) Software as a Service models are easy and attractive solutions because there is “No Software” to mess with. This is all fine and dandy, until there’s a bug you need to be fixed or feature you need to be added. Then your business is stuck because you don’t have access to source code. So it’s back to the old proprietary model that our open source licenses seek to fix.
What’s even worse, is that with your application in the Cloud, you’ve relinquished complete control of the application entirely to your vendor. What happens if a switch or a router burns out and performance for the next couple days is terrible and it’s accessibility spotty at best? In the cloud, all of your data and your business’s mission critical application is at the mercy of the vendor.
Please don’t mistake what I am saying, there IS a very tangible value created by cloud computing. This isn’t a FUD blog post. Do you have the technical and financial resources to scale X, Y, or Z product? What about rolling out the software in a few minutes? Unlikely, even for the largest enterprises. That’s why the cloud IS important, it’s because it removes the technology barriers that keeps businesses from successful implementations. However, we need to bring the values of open source to computing in the cloud.
In my opinion, bringing openness to the Cloud does not mean we need to apply licenses that close the ASP loophole to the code that we write. Restrictions on how to use or distribute software that exist in said licenses just create hurdles that prevent massive adoption. Instead we need to encourage truly free (as in libre, not gratis) software in the cloud. This is where SugarCRM’s Open Cloud shines.
The SugarCRM Open Cloud creates choice and flexibility for the customer by focusing on openness. This removes the proprietary nature from SaaS and the Cloud. Now you can purchase SugarCRM and can be up and running with “no software” in short order. However, because of Sugar’s commitment to open standards, if you want, you can migrate your CRM to any host with PHP. There are no restrictions, your SugarCRM instance is free (as in libre) in the Cloud.
I propose a new marketing slogan of “No Software, No Choice” for our competitor, but I suspect that won’t go over well in the market.