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InfoQ Homepage News System Initiative Software Goes Open Source; Aims to Model and Automate Infrastructure Management

System Initiative Software Goes Open Source; Aims to Model and Automate Infrastructure Management

System Initiative, a customizable power tool, recently open-sourced all of its software under the Apache License 2.0. The release of System Initiative's software to the open-source community aims at improving the DevOps landscape, with a specific emphasis on simulating the user’s infrastructure and using it to manage real-world systems.

Adam Jacob, CEO of System Initiative, illustrated the vision behind the open-source release in a blog post. Recognizing that the fundamental principles of rights and values in the realm of "Free" and "Open Source" are central to this decision, any engineers utilizing the System Initiative software will have unrestricted access to all software features, without any competitive limitations, and with no exclusive rights reserved. As a counter-example to this, HashiCorp recently announced a move to the Business Source License v1.1 (BSL 1.1) on all future releases of HashiCorp products, which drew criticism from the tech community.

Within System Initiative, every infrastructure configuration parameter qualification and respective action is defined in a TypeScript function, constructed on a Hypergraph. Each function takes its input from various points on the graph. If there is any modification to these inputs, System Initiative automatically re-executes the function and records the changed results. The model and real-world infrastructure are "digital twins", and proposed configuration property changes can be synchronized in both directions.

Although System Initiative is yet to be released as a production-grade replacement for an existing infrastructure as code (IaC) management and continuous delivery solution, Jacob emphasized that fostering a strong community is essential to ensuring the collective success of all System Initiative users. This community-building effort comes with the open-sourcing of the software.

Jacob argued that the current DevOps tools and practices are insufficient to achieve the original goals of the movement. In another one of his blog posts, Jacob highlighted the need for a second wave of DevOps tools. He stated that 88% of respondents from the 2022 State of DevOps report find themselves unable to deploy more frequently than once a week, with some reporting deployments occurring as infrequently as once every six months.

Jacob reflected on the approach to improving complex environments and asserted that it was not considered whether the system would benefit everyone. The design initially aimed to solve immediate problems. However, this approach resulted in challenges with "DevOps work" in modern application development. These challenges include various small issues and inconveniences in their tools, communication processes, and software.

He has invited DevOps engineers and software developers who share the vision of building a brighter future to participate in the System Initiative project and contribute to its advancement.

Related, we noted recently that the majority of businesses incorporate more than 70% of open-source components into their infrastructure, products, and services. It is crucial for contemporary software developers, particularly those in senior roles, to possess the skills needed to collaborate with open-source resources effectively.

The community around System Initiative aspires to be built on empathy, trust, and shared interests, and the software is seen as a vehicle for the success of the organization and its users. The tech community on HackerNews took notice of this announcement and raised questions. We saw Jacob responding to the questions from the community in the same post.

Jacob also recently sat down with InfoQ podcast co-host Daniel Bryant, exploring the progression, and potential future trajectories of DevOps and infrastructure management.

Readers can find the source code on GitHub, and sign up to try it. To stay informed about System Initiative, join the Discord channel or subscribe to the mailing list.

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