Monday, April 11, 2011

Open Source / Closed Source Databases

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

Readers who follow this blog and individuals who have attended Collaborative Workshops hosted by Collaborative Construction know that we are agnostic when it comes to software solutions.  The goal of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is to arm the planners, designers, constructors, owners and other stakeholders with business processes and technical tools that will increase the efficiency with which the services related to the creation of capital projects are delivered.  Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a critical business process utilized by stakeholders to increase efficiency in an IPD environment.  The "i" in BIM is critical and one of the most fundamental questions an integrated team must ask is where will project related information be stored?  "BIM Servers" are being considered by software sellers and major institutional owners as a mechanism for storing project related information.

Many in the AECO Industry see a battle looming - vis-a-vi BIM Servers - between proprietary, closed source databases and open source "cloud based" databases.  At Collaborative Construction we anticipate both solutions will be widely utilized in the AECO Industry and different aspects of each system will be exploited on an as needed basis.  Closed source databases offer the possibility of walling data off from the prying eyes of competitors and the need for such protection will, in many instances, outweigh the benefits of an open source system.  However, building walls and hiring the talent necessary to create hardware and software behind walls is more expensive than doing so in an open sourced environment and we expect open source BIM Servers to proliferate in the cloud.

Regardless of which approach is taken, functional BIM Servers will enable high quality information exchanges on an inter-disciplinary basis across software platforms over the life cycle of a capital facility.  Such actions which will ultimately increase the efficiency with which planners plan, designers design, builders build, owners operate and maintenance personnel maintain.  This can, of course, be accomplished in a closed source environment or in an open source environment.  The trade offs between the two business models are not fully appreciated at this time.

As food for thought, below is a link to an article describing this disparate approach to database creation by Facebook and Google.  Facebook is taking an open source approach and Google is keeping its database behind the curtain.  Take a few minutes to read the article and think about how the two competing business approaches will impact your company as the AECO Industry moves towards the adoption of BIM Servers.  How will you access and utilize data housed on an open source platform v. a closed source platform?  You will encounter both over the next 10 years and you need to know how you will proceed.

Facebook v. Google - Open Source v. Closed Source Databases

Let us know what you think.

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International


shop fitting said...

open source database can offer more flexibility for developer to make some amendments so as to meet the need of different companies.Moreover,it's a lot cheaper,which can help to minimize the budget.

office refurbishment said...

I would suggest the closed source database as the company can receive regular support from the sellers.Moreover,the information leaking problem can be minimized.

Colloborative Databases said...

I would have to agree that the information leaking can easily be solved since it is just a minimal threat.