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Open Source SLAs

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Dialogs about how we agree to build, buy or adopt software solutions.

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Open Source SLAs

  1. 1. Open Source and SLAs Noah Zoschke noah@convox.com @nzoschke Open Source Show & Tell 2016
  2. 2. Bio • Worked for 6 years at Heroku, deployment PaaS. Subsidiary of SalesForce, one of the largest SaaS companies in the world. • Working for past year at Convox, open source deployment toolkit. Goals: • Help teams save time and money making cloud infrastructure effortless • Build successful open source project • Build viable open source business • Grateful for the opportunity to experiment with new software and business models
  3. 3. Follow Along on GitHub https://github.com/convox/rack Go, Docker, AWS toolkit Used by 100s of companies
  4. 4. Software Agreement Dialogs…
  5. 5. Employment Agreement Hiring Manager: Here is a role, responsibilities, and a salary. Engineer: I accept! Manager: Here are the things we need to do this week to keep our business running. Engineer: Consider it done! Manager: Great job. Here is your paycheck.
  6. 6. SaaS Agreement Decision Maker: Here is some functionality I need to run my business and a budget to buy it. Vendor: We do that and its $X / month which fits in your budget! Decision Maker: Great. Here is my business credit card.
  7. 7. SaaS Agreement Upgrade Cycle Decision Maker: I wish this service also did X. Vendor: We do that on the pro plan that is $Y / month. Tech: Great. You can charge me more.
  8. 8. SaaS Agreement Support Cycle Decision Maker: I wish this service also did Y. Vendor: We don’t support that yet. Talk to this Product Manager to get it on the roadmap. Decision Maker: Ok I’ll talk and wait. I’m glad my team doesn’t have to build it.
  9. 9. SaaS Agreement Rejection Cycle Decision Maker: I wish this service also did Y. Vendor: We don’t support that. Decision Maker: Bummer. I need this so find another vendor I can pay for this functionality, and terminate my subscription. or Decision Maker: Bummer. I’ll pay staff to build it in house.
  10. 10. OSS Agreement Tech: Here is some functionality I need to run my business. OSS Project: We already solved that. Agree to the software license and you can use it free of charge. Tech: Sweet. Free and open software is amazingly helpful for getting my job done.
  11. 11. OSS Agreement Support Cycle Tech: I wish this software also did Y Abandoned OSS Project: <crickets> Incompatible OSS Project: Sorry we don’t want to do that Facilitating OSS Project: Interesting idea. Follow these guidelines to contribute a patch. We will help you and support the feature. Magic OSS Project: Killer idea. Here is your solution. Tech: Ok. Open source is [challenging | nice | amazing]. I’m glad I don’t have to solve everything myself.
  12. 12. Service Level Agreements • Software License • Used as-is… • Subscriptions • Pay $25/month for 3 users access • Support expectations • Community; same-day • Service guarantees like uptime and performance or resource • 99.9% uptime; 10k emails / month
  13. 13. Service Level Agreements • Explicit • Measurable • Monetizable
  14. 14. OSS SLAs • Generally free software “as-is” and support is best effort • Why not? • Sell a version as SaaS (with uptime assurances) • Sell some closed features (open core) • Sell same-day or same-hour support (tiered support) • Sell a way for priority feature work (professional services) • Sell contracts for migrations and training (professional services)
  15. 15. OSS SLAs Challenges • Bootstrapping. Full time support and engineering costs real money. • Packaging and pricing. Building a software sales system costs real time and energy. • Psychology. Consumers have a free version. Why pay anything?
  16. 16. OSS SLAs My Challenges • People balk at $25 / user / month • GitHub is $9 / mo • AWS bills are $5k / month • Engineers cost $10k / month • Don’t know how to price guarantees around uptime • How much is it worth to you? • How much will it cost to meet? Need engineers on call 24/7 • What happens when we don’t hit it? • Trust • Takes a lot of time and energy to gain trust
  17. 17. OSS SLAs My Wishes • More OSS projects sell services. Run the project like a business. Find ways to guarantee software quality without working for free. • CTOs buy something. Tech company budgets are huge. They could be better understanding OSS value sponsoring more work which benefits us all. • We all keep working on OSS. Critical infrastructure for our industry. • OSS becomes a clear value add, not an obstacle to selling software.
  18. 18. Thanks! Discussion / Questions / Comments ? noah@convox.com @nzoschke

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