IBM hands developers a treasure map for open source cloud tech

IBM unveiled an Open Source Cloud Guide, aiming to make it easier for developers across verticals to understand key technologies and find the resources they need to create new applications and services.

The guide in its initial form covers five key topics: artificial intelligence (AI), APIs, big data, containers and databases. Each topic page includes a definition of the technology, a brief overview about why it’s important for cloud developers, a solution sketch highlighting key elements that are generally incorporated in that technology and a list of related open source resources.

Todd Moore, IBM’s VP of Open Technology, told Fierce “we wanted to pick topics that we see everyday regardless of the verticals we’re working with…in particular AI technologies are the starting point these days and a lot of the conversation, so you look at the list and it’s right up there. But APIs as well, too, how to build good solid APIs and the tools to manage them is really important. So, those two top the list. And then data, containers – you know everybody has containerized their workload these days and you can’t do anything without data so you have to be able to process it and handle it.”

Rather than acting as a static resource, Moore said the guide is designed as a “completely living thing” which will grow in depth and breadth over time. IBM has listed the guide on GitHub and put out a call for developers to add their own knowledge and suggestions. Pull requests are already flowing in, Moore said.

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As the guide progresses, Moore said he expects vertical-specific information to be added. “We are typically engaged with financial services, supply chain, we do a lot in security, we do a lot in telco, so these would be some of the ones who are the most likely folks to go and engage.”

In addition to making it easier to navigate the maze of open source cloud projects that are out there, Moore said the guide is also about helping developers expand their knowledge base.

“Finding the skills can be really difficult out there” for companies looking to hire, Moore said, adding developers also see the advancement of their skills as "very important to them.”

A recent report from the Linux Foundation highlighted an apparent open source skill shortage, revealing 92% of hiring managers said they had difficulty finding talent with sufficient knowledge in this area. The same report noted developers ranked cloud and container technologies as the most in-demand open source skills, with AI following in fifth. A majority (66%) of developers pointed to more training opportunities as the main thing their employer could do to help them be more successful.