Adoption of Open source in mission crtical apps on a rise

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Open source initiative has gained tremendous momentum leading to unique business models coming into vogue with respect to the adoption of this kind of software within larger enterprises


IT services company, Torry Harris Business Solutions (THBS) has earned a blue-chip client list for its clear understanding of technology and business and providing cutting-edge solutions that help enterprises improve their bottom line.

Headquartered in the US with development centers in Bangalore and Shenzhen and offices in the Middle East, Europe and the Far East, THBS is a strong pormoter of Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) and open source platform.

Ashwin Krishna, Chief Operating Officer of THBS, has overseen the rapid growth of the company and is also responsible for establishing operations in the Middle East. Ashwin currently manages the strategic growth aspects of Torry Harris and oversees specific functions like quality (process improvement), HR, operations and delivery.


We caught up with Ashwin to know about the various technologies and verticals that are prime focus for THBS, and his views on use of open source in mission critical enterprise applications.

Excerpts from the same:

Which industry verticals are key focus for THBS? What kind of applications is your oragnisation doing for these enterprises?


The industry verticals that THBS focuses on are Telecom, BFSI, Healthcare, Government, Automobile, FMCG and the Manufacturing sector. In these verticals, THBS has been engaged in the development, maintenance and testing of critical Business Applications. These applications consist of customer management applications, high volume messaging and integration solutions, web based transactional solutions as well management of Data Warehouses and corresponding MIS systems, to name a few.

THBS is doing a lot of development work using open source solutions, what are the most important factors in favor of open source?

The biggest advantage of open source software is the fact that it is 'open'. This implies that one has access to the source code of the software and can alter the same to suit the requirements of the system being constructed rather than build something from scratch (subject to the licenses under which this software is available). This in turn leads to a reduction of time, effort and costs in the implementation of applications. The other advantage is that most open source software conform to established standards/specifications like J2EE and hence provide a standards based infrastructure that is easier to use and extend.


The open source initiative has gained tremendous momentum over the last couple of years and this has led to unique Business Models coming into vogue with respect to the adoption of this kind of software within larger enterprises. Today we are seeing a lot of enterprises following the model pioneered by companies like RedHat, where the software is packaged and given free and these companies provide enterprise level support for the same. This Business Model is finding favor with large enterprises as they can now go to a company for support in case they encounter issues with the use of the software.

Many enterprises still do not prefer open source based solutions for mission critical applications; does your organisation face resistance from your customers?

The reluctance to use Open Source Software in mission critical systems is decreasing as Enterprises are finding this software to be enterprise-class in terms of reliability. Torry Harris is working with customers who have started using this class of software in their production systems. The availability of paid support (mentioned above) is another factor that provides the necessary confidence to enterprises to start using this software for mission critical applications.


What kind of work is THBS doing in the SOA space? How would you compare SOA adoption between India and other parts of the world?

Presence in the SOA space is a natural progression for Torry Harris, given our strengths in the messaging and integration space. We have developed a wide array of skills within the organization to implement SOA based projects in a cost effective manner using the onsite-offshore model. The skills developed include in-depth knowledge of development of XML based data transport, manipulation of XML using technology such as XPATH/XQUERY, Web services development and the associated specifications like WS-Security, WS-Addressing etc., Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) technology, process definition languages like BPEL etc. An organization wide training program has been structured and conducted to build these skills.

Companies in India are as IT Savvy as any organization in the world and the amount of work going on in cutting edge areas here is amazing. Companies have realized that an efficient IT infrastructure is critical for competitive advantage and are investing significantly in this respect.


What platforms/frameworks does THBS work on to develop web services based applications?

We have the capability to develop web services and SOA based solutions on a wide variety of platforms ranging from large providers like IBM, BEA etc. to niche providers of software products in this area. We also have the capability to provide solutions in this space using open source software such as Apache Axis, Apache ServiceMix, Mule etc.

What is the strength of your India Development Centre? Which key solutions have been developed out of India?


The India development center is our primary development hub along with our development centre in Shenzhen, China. The offshore component of all the work that we undertake are done out of these centers. Some of the significant work performed out of this center includes the support and maintenance of a Global message router for a Wall Street Major that transfers transactions worth billions of dollars between the different lines of businesses (LOBs) every day and the support and maintenance of a Fraud Management System for a UK based Telco Major that processes approximately 200 million transactions a day. Apart from these, we have implemented several development projects using the onsite-offshore model for major telecommunication providers in the UK and government agencies in the Middle East.

Are you developing products for Indian enterprises as well, or is India just an off-shore development hub?

We are working with well-known Indian companies in the Automobile, FMCG and Insurance sectors. This work is being done both onsite at the customer's premises as well as out of our offshore center. As is the case with overseas clients, for our customers in India the offshore center represents an extension of their in-house IT department wherein we have dedicated resources who are well versed in the processes followed by the customer as well as the systems being used.

Can you tell us about Mahiti?

Mahiti means 'knowledge'. Torry Harris organizes Mahiti sessions (or knowledge-sharing sessions) on a regular basis wherein speakers talk about different aspects of technology and related areas. These sessions are very popular with employees as it allows them to interact freely as well as develop knowledge on hitherto unknown areas. Some of our Mahithi sessions abroad also involve clients and designers, who want to learn more and interact on a particular technical subject. We have industry experts from within the company talking on domain specific subjects as well as technology gurus discussing specific technologies that assist in achieving business targets.

CIOL Bureau