The 10 Coolest Open Source Products Of 2017

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In 2017, there were plenty of signs that open source innovations continued to drive forward the tech industry as a whole, as businesses embraced open approaches to IT infrastructure automation, application development, and more. This year, open source offerings that saw major upgrades included Puppet, Kubernetes, Docker, Mesosphere and Red Hat OpenShift.

What follows are the 10 coolest open source products we've seen in 2017.

For more lists, reviews and recaps, please visit CRN's 2017 tech year in review.

Apache Spark 2.2

This year saw a major update to Apache Spark, an open-source data processing engine that leverages cluster computing. Improvements with Apache Spark 2.2 include a significant expansion of SQL functionality, a production-ready version of the Structured Streaming continuous application API, and advanced analytics through the introduction of new algorithms for machine learning.

Chef Automate

Chef announced updates this year to its continuous IT automation platform for enterprises, Chef Automate. The updates included 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 critical steps in the application creation process for users.

Docker: Moby Project and LinuxKit

This year, container technology pioneer Docker 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 to assemble container-based systems that are comprised of component libraries, frameworks, and reference blueprints. Developers can even work with non-Docker components to avoid reinventing the wheel on building specialized applications, according to Docker. Meanwhile, Linux Kit helps developers to quickly build a secure, lean, and portable Linux subsystem, Docker said.

HashiCorp Terraform

HashiCorp, a startup that's developed a set of open source DevOps tools that are cloud agnostic, this year rolled out a major update to Terraform, its multi-cloud infrastructure management tool. HashiCorp introduced the Terraform Module Registry, which offers dozens of templates for Terraform to provide more straightforward setup and operations of cloud infrastructure. The modules in the registry are open source and free to download, and the registry includes modules specific to platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Oracle Cloud.

Kubernetes 1.8

Open-source container orchestration tool Kubernetes received an update this year that includes major enhancements to security, through improved capabilities around role-based access control -- enabling admins to define roles for enforcing access policies dynamically. Other changes in Kubernetes 1.8 bring upgrades to the migration of workloads to Kubernetes, including through native Kubernetes support in Apache Spark.

MariaDB AX

In November, open-source database creator MariaDB launched an improved version of MariaDB AX, its open source analytics solution. The upgrade includes enhancements such as simpler data ingestion (so that data can be available for analysis more quickly); bulk data adapters (enabling the development of applications and services that continually send data to MariaDB AX); and a streaming data adapter (to automatically replicate data from operational environments to MariaDB AX).

Mesosphere DC/OS 1.10

Mesosphere this year unveiled a major new edition of its container operations and data services automation platform, with DC/OS 1.10. Improvements include the integration of custom certification authority for enhanced security; the addition of new upgrade capabilities for improved uptime and disaster recovery; and a new DC/OS edge load balancer to boost performance for applications and services.

Puppet 5 Platform

This year, IT infrastructure automation firm Puppet announced 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 this year also introduced Lumogon, an open solution for gaining better insights into container deployments, as well as updates to its product for businesses, Puppet Enterprise 2017.3. The recent updates to Puppet Enterprise improve search for packages that are connected to the software, along with providing better coordination around new releases of core Puppet components.


This past spring, startup Rancher Labs debuted its ultra-lightweight Linux distribution, RancherOS. An operating system built from containers and geared exclusively for hosting them, RancherOS achieves a small footprint by eliminating Linux system libraries and utilities outside the kernel. Those often-extraneous components can be reintroduced separately in Docker containers when needed. With all traditional OS functions atomized in containers, RancherOS achieves rapid boot times and unique efficiencies that improve operation and scaling of distributed applications that are built as containerized micro-services.

Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.7

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. With version 3.7 of the OpenShift Container Platform, released in November, Red Hat has introduced native integrations with AWS Service Brokers. The integration provides developers with a way to connect services across AWS and on-premises resources, supplying a consistent and open foundation for application development.