I've just been reading through Mitchell Ashley's Network Convergence paper and I'm still a bit annoyed that I didn't think of it myself. I've been involved in a similar project, but centred around an open compliance framework (open source and open standards), so I have to be convinced that this is the way which makes most sense for the industry to proceed.
However, something is nagging at me. I can't quite get past the facts that big organisations like to pay for software and have it properly supported, plus all of this "free" stuff has hidden costs which usually come in the form of expensive consultants (like Mitchell and, er... me). And there aren't going to be enough consultants available for it to be viable for a very large and dispersed organisation.
I really wish everyone would install Cobia and develop tools to run on top of it, but unless they are going to see an immediate return on their time investment, I don't think it will happen that quickly.
I agree with Jon Robinson that network appliances CAN suck, and Mitchell's answer is almost perfect. Certainly for anyone brave enough to have a go it is cheap and effective. Jon and I have been talking on this point since his post and it seems there is a lot more at stake than just cost however. I didn't realise quite how much more until Jon pointed out a few things. I will let him post on this next week when he's moved his blog over to Wordpress rather than stealing his thunder. Essentially though: it is the data that is of value, but not JUST the data, it's all down to how we use it. I blogged on this last week in answer to something Kenneth Belva posted, and now I think it's all part of the same set of convergence ideas, which relate to the advancement of security, and vice versa.
All of which talking led Jon to ask me a simple question: "Could we license our data and let anyone use it, like we do with GPL for software for example, and what are the implications for its security?" (That's paraphrasing, his email was rather longer, but you get the idea). Answers on a postcard please!