4 Reasons Why Enterprises Should Use Open Source

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Many enterprises seem to approve of the benefits of open source technologies in running their businesses so much that they have already adopted them. However, there are enterprises that are still hesitant to use open source.

Though workers and managers don’t mind deploying the technology wherever possible in IT environments, it’s still a hard sell with management, partly because that department is particularly resistant to change. Why would they want to fix something that isn’t broken? They don’t want to make changes by bringing in open source technologies, while everything’s already functioning properly.

Another reason could be the fact that open source software are indeed open – neither bought nor sold. Then there is a general perception that the “free” in free doesn’t necessarily mean “good”.

Ironically, open source software does indeed provide a lot of benefits to enterprises that use them properly. Here are a few reasons that explain how an enterprise benefits from using open source technology.

  • Cost – Back in the days, vendors of proprietary software spent a lot of money to convince enterprises that proprietary software are more beneficial, easy to maintain, and less expensive to deploy. The relatively new (then) open source technology couldn’t compete with that.

Times have changed however. Now it doesn’t take a big effort to prove that open source is indeed everything it claims to be and more; a better option compared to expensive proprietary software.

Open source software is generally free, and the users need only pay for support. Open source vendors generally charge only a fraction of what proprietary vendors charge for product support. Present day open source software also comes with adaptive capabilities to overcome challenges that arise when new applications are deployed.

  • Versatility – Not all proprietary software are versatile. Salespersons may say otherwise before getting an enterprise to sign the contract. Proprietary software are basically just off-the-shelf solutions designed to be effective only in a limited set of use-case scenarios. Yes, most vendors offer a 30 day free trial. But it might take longer than 30 days for an enterprise to realize that the software needs a specific feature to tackle a particularly redundant challenge. Contacting the vendor won’t help when it comes to proprietary software. They probably wouldn’t understand why the enterprise would want such a feature.

When it comes to open source software, the enterprise can take more time to completely evaluate it. Because the enterprise gets access to the source code of the software, they will also be able to figure out the areas where the software lacks a necessary feature that can meet the firm’s needs, and work it out the way they see fit.

  • Scalability – Open source products for enterprises can scale to large proportions. The release of Kubernetes enhanced this feature allowing enterprises to scale up whenever the demand rises, and down when the demand drops. Though this feature mostly helps large enterprises, even small companies benefit from it. They won’t have to rely on other platforms for scaling, and can do so without hassle when they hit paydirt.
  • Security – The security aspect of open source has always been a subject of debate. Because everyone gets access to the source code, people with malicious intent can locate and exploit the vulnerabilities in the code, which can spell disaster for enterprises. But the open source community begs to differ. They seem to believe that because a large number of developers and security experts get access to the source code, security vulnerabilities will be identified sooner.

Once a security vulnerability is identified, they will immediately start working on a patch. In practice, open source software are the most vulnerable in systems that aren’t properly configured or patched.

 

Conclusion

 
Proprietary software don’t get released like they used to nowadays, which is why experts think open source is the future. Although the trend is only picking up pace, there is still a question of quality. Open source software for enterprises aren’t a set of codes developed by kids for their college projects. Google started the Kubernetes project, and NASA had a role in the development of OpenStack. Big players have already started favoring open source, which makes this the right time for enterprises to adopt the technology and future-proof themselves.

Written by Ajeesh Azhakesan

Ajeesh leads Verbat's Open Source Practice. He helps clients with project inception, team establishment, devising software architecture and quality deliveries throughout the product life cycle on all software projects built using Open Source technology stack at Verbat.

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