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Companies are struggling with open-source transition: Study

Companies are struggling with open-source transition: Study
Photo Credit: Pixabay
13 Apr, 2022
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Even though more and more businesses are adopting open-source technologies to save costs, gain scalability and accelerate innovation, many are consistently facing challenges when adopting open source.

According to a new study by open-source company Instaclustr and Forrester Consulting, companies using open-core technologies cite major barriers to their adoption of free and open-source software (FOSS). Moreover, 39% of respondents stated inconsistent strategy across departments as a barrier and called for strong leadership to achieve the open-source transition.

Of the other problems, nearly one-third of the respondents mentioned a lack of end-to-end support, while 29% said a lack of in-house expertise related to open-source technologies as a barrier to further adoption of FOSS in their organisation.

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Open-core solutions build on FOSS offerings by adding proprietary functionality, but can also come with higher commercial license fees and the risk of lock-in if an organization’s code isn’t as portable as FOSS. With this in mind, survey respondents identified key tenets of FOSS offerings as compelling drivers for adoption.

When asked about the top FOSS benefits for the application development strategy, 45% of respondents cited cost reduction, 41% cited the lack of licensing fees, 40% highlighted unrestricted access to application source code, and 40% highlighted the strength of FOSS communities there. Of respondents actively practising FOSS-only strategies, 47% cited the beneficial flexibility and freedom from constraints that FOSS offers, 38% cited the full software portability, and 31% cited the increased agility and adaptability as drivers for their adoption FOSS.

Also read: How open-source can fast-track innovation in financial services

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One of the key findings — at least for decision-makers currently adopting open core strategies — is that the benefits these respondents cited as reasons for adopting open core are available for free from FOSS. For example, four out of 10 cited reduced risk, an almost equal number mentioned greater efficiency, and 33% cited easier cloud transitions as key benefits of open-core solutions.

However, the study said that mature enterprise-class FOSS technologies have the built-in governance and community support to rival or surpass open-core alternatives in terms of security, efficiency, and interoperability. FOSS freedom also allows for unrestricted cloud adoption, which is not the case with licensed solutions.

The study noted that 84% of respondents already using FOSS solutions indicate an interest in hiring external managed services platforms or consultancies to support their FOSS implementations with greater expertise. In particular, 68% of these decision-makers identified security, 66% scalability, 66% migration support and 65% general FOSS know-how as their most pressing needs that partner-led support provides a solution for.

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The results indicate a strong desire for license cost savings, code portability, and strong community support offered by free and open-source technologies versus proprietary open-core alternatives. It also highlights that CXOs are likely to migrate to open-source technologies that offer greater flexibility and freedom they are looking for — this can serve as an eye-opener to open-source companies.