The 10 Coolest Open-Source Products Of 2017 (So Far)

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This year has seen no slowdown in momentum for the open-source technologies movement. Open-source innovations are continuing to drive forward the larger tech industry as a whole, as developers and enterprises embrace open ways of approaching application development, IT infrastructure automation and other business-critical functions. During the first half of 2017, vendors with major new offerings in open source included industry giant Red Hat as well as up-and-comers such as Docker, Puppet and Mesosphere.

Here are the 10 coolest open-source products we've tracked so far in 2017.

(For more on the "coolest" of 2017, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.")

Chef Automate

Chef recently unveiled updates to its continuous IT automation platform for enterprises, Chef Automate. The updates include compliance automation so that Chef Automate can better help to meet compliance and security requirements (and improve speed and efficiency in the process). Other new capabilities include improved application automation in Chef Automate, through a bolstered integration with Habitat, Chef's open-source product for simplifying key steps in the application creation process for users.

Cloudera Altus

Open-source technologies firm Cloudera recently introduced a new Platform-as-a-Service, Cloudera Altus, aimed at enabling simplified big data processing in public cloud environments. Altus provides access to infrastructure on-demand, reducing the need for data engineers to spend time on infrastructure management and operations—and ultimately making it easier to create data-intensive applications. The risk of migrating to the public cloud is also reduced, according to Cloudera.

CoreOS Tectonic 1.6.4

CoreOS, provider of the Tectonic enterprise container management platform, recently rolled out a new release with features that make it easier to transport applications between hybrid clouds. Tectonic 1.6.4 provides an "enterprise-ready" version of Kubernetes container orchestration, featuring the recent Kubernetes 1.6 update, that enables users to get a cloud-like operational model no matter what IT infrastructure they're using.

Couchbase Server 4.6

Open-source data provider Couchbase said that the recent Couchbase Server 4.6 update will help enable simplified deployment and security for applications. Server 4.6 also provides better application performance, as well as integrated .Net Core application development and improved support for data such as lists and maps. In addition, Couchbase announced updates to other products in its data platform including Sync Gateway 1.4 (now featuring "limitless scale for mobile and IoT applications") and Kafka Connector 3.0 (better scalability and performance for connections to Apache Kafka).

Docker: Moby Project and LinuxKit

Container technology pioneer Docker recently introduced two new open-source projects aimed at taking containerized software to new levels of usefulness for developers and solution providers. Moby Project is a workflow tool that helps developers assemble container-based systems that are comprised of component libraries, frameworks and reference blueprints. Developers can even work with non-Docker components to help avoid reinventing the wheel when it comes to building specialized applications, Docker said. Meanwhile, Linux Kit helps developers to quickly build a secure, lean and portable Linux subsystem, according to Docker.

Kubernetes 1.6

Open-source container orchestration tool Kubernetes recently received an update that's focused on providing users with improved scaling and automation. Kubernetes 1.6 supports 5,000 node clusters (a 150 percent increase in total cluster size) and adds intelligent defaults, as well as bringing upgrades to dynamic storage provisioning capabilities. In addition, the latest release moves several features into beta, including role-based access control, for enhanced security.

Mesosphere DC/OS 1.9

Mesosphere recently unveiled the latest update to its container operations and data services automation platform, with DC/OS 1.9. Improvements this time around, according to Mesosphere, include the addition of native monitoring and troubleshooting tools, GPU-based scheduling, and "Pods"—for simplified management of applications in containers from Docker or Mesos. Security and compliance have also gotten a boost, with new ways to limit access to underlying IT infrastructure for developers that are accessing software debugging and related apps.

Puppet 5 Platform

IT infrastructure automation firm Puppet recently unveiled updates to its core open-source platform. The Puppet 5 Platform—including Puppet Agent, Puppet Server and PuppetDB—features improvements such as easier downloading and implementation of Puppet deployments. The company also introduced Lumogon, an open solution for gaining better insight into container deployments, as well as updates to its product for businesses, Puppet Enterprise 2017.2. The updates to Puppet Enterprise bring in new capabilities such as package inspection (for finding packages that ought to be managed automatically) and visual orchestration workflows (for infrastructure orchestration within the product's web interface).

Red Hat Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Red Hat recently introduced what it's calling the first open-source hyper-converged infrastructure software stack. Red Hat Hype-Cconverged Infrastructure combines four of the company's technologies into an integrated offering targeting cloud deployments. The components are Red Hat Virtualization, the company's hypervisor based on open-source KVM technology; Gluster storage, Red Hat's scale-out file system based on the GlusterFS project; the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL, operating system; and Red Hat's IT automation platform, Ansible. The Red Hat Hyper-Converged Infrastructure software stack targets customers looking to simplify their data center infrastructures, the company said.

Red Hat

Red Hat's open-source Platform-as-a-Service, OpenShift, provides cloud-native application development and deployment for enterprises through leveraging Docker containers and Kubernetes container orchestration. Building on OpenShift, Red Hat recently introduced, a new online development environment for creating cloud-native, container-based apps. The environment is designed particularly with the needs of development teams -- including distributed teams -- in mind. Features include real-time stack analysis for improved detection of vulnerabilities and abnormalities in usage.

The ultimate goal is to enable more effective collaboration around developing containerized apps that are deployed to hybrid clouds. Underlying are several open-source projects, including Jenkins, Eclipse Che and fabric8, Red Hat said.