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Here is Why Reliance Jio is All Gung-Ho about Open Source Technologies There is a slow shift in country to adopt open source

By Vanita D'souza

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Reliance Jio

We all know about Reliance Jio and the changes it brought in the Indian telecom sector. One cannot deny and stop talking about Mukesh Ambani's outlook, but have you ever wondered what makes the Jio so agile? Well, there are no marks for guessing it right.

If this still doesn't ring bells in your head, then remember Akash Ambani speaking at Reliance's India Digital Open Summit earlier this year? The junior Ambani asserted that Jio is committed to using open source technologies to improve the consumer experience.

This is where Jio gets it agility from! The telecom company's entire big data stack is sourced from an open source platform.

To understand what is going on behind the scenes, Entrepreneur India caught up with Raghuram Velega, Vice President – Big Data and Analytics, Reliance Jio, the man that knows it all.

The stack

Like we mentioned earlier, Reliance big data stack is completely open source as the company had partnered with vendors across the globe to build the platform. Even though Velega believes it was the leadership of Reliance (Mukesh Ambani and Manoj Modi) which helped Jio create a name, he also agrees that open source is one of the drivers behind it.

Talking about Jio's open source platform, Velega shares "It is a plug and play platform. So take an example of the Spark, which a lot of people are using for big data analytics. However, tomorrow if there a new technology that comes in, it will be easier to take existing technology out and put a new technology in. This is only possible if its open source and you are building from the ground up. And that's the way all the big companies are taking."

Setting the Tone Right

Even though open source is making the right noise in India, we haven't seen much of ground-level action in the country. However, according to Velega, there is a slow shift in the country to adopt open source.

The VP compares India current position to the US as he feels we stand where the latter was 10 years ago. Giving a rationale to point, he shares an example of Apache Spark, an open-source cluster-computing framework which was developed at the University of California, Berkeley's AMPLab during the late 2000s.

"This curve is similar to which the US went about 10 years ago. This was back then in 2008 when Apache was not corporate funded or backed initiative. But then the big companies like Google. AWS, IBM worked with Apache and the project just took off," he shared.

According to him contributing to open source will majorly have two advantages - you are elated because you have contributed in something which is used by a third person while on the side, the value the contributor will be awarded in the industry, which is what is happening in the US.

"Today, if I have to hire a person in the US who comes through open source, his pay package is 30 per cent more than a normal guy. If you bring that culture down here (in India), we have an immense talent pool and they will jump to it," he points out.

Which is why Velega also feels companies should work with educational institutes to develop courses to teach open source and related skills.

He says, "The value where India would pick it up shall be noticed once we have cultivated the mindset of open source among young Indians coming out of colleges. If you teach them before they join the workforce, then that generation is going to take it to the next level."

Moving up

One of the key issues with open source adoption is lack of awareness. Since there are multiple stakeholders on the platform, often people do not know who to reach out to when crisis knocks on the door.

However one should keep in mind that all the top companies and the entire open source stack is open and there are no proprietary rights to any of the software.

"Earlier you had certain experts from companies to help you, but today you have the whole world helping you and in worst cases, you can open the code and do it yourself (DIY)," he concludes.

Vanita D'souza

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

I am a Mumbai-based journalist and have worked with media companies like The Dollar Business Magazine, Business Standard, etc.While on the other side, I am an avid reader who is a travel freak and has accepted foodism as my religion.


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