Why You Should Consider Commercially Supported Open Source

06-11-2012 / CloudOps

While open source technologies such as Linux and Apache are making inroads into larger companies, the thought of using open source technologies in a production environment will still cause most CIOs to lose sleep. Add to that the thought of using open source in the context of the Cloud and that poor CIO many never sleep another wink! The combination of open source with the Cloud is simply too risky for most enterprise CIOs today.

Walking without a tightrope and using ‘free’ unsupported open source tools as a basis for your Cloud is simply not an option for most enterprise CIOs. Most certainly there are benefits to using open source technologies for Cloud enablement. Technologies from the open source world tend to advance at a quicker pace than their commercial counterparts. Open source technologies tend to be robust, benefitting from the creative efforts of a large community of developers. Yet all benefits aside, the use of unsupported open source technologies in anything but the most experimental development environment is risky business and frowned upon in the enterprise. In fact many organizations have policies that strictly prohibit the use of unsupported open source technologies of any kind.

At the other end of the spectrum are the large ‘big iron’ vendors such as HP, IBM and their commercial Cloud offerings. These vendors have capitalized on the CIO’s open source fear, and their uncertainty and doubt surrounding the Cloud for a number of years. They’ll use every opportunity to reinforce a CIOs concerns around the use of open source technology, and have built a very convincing business case that that CIOs have no other option but to us their commercially developed, commercially supported technology platform for Cloud enablement. It’s safe. It’s stable. There’s a throat to choke when something goes wrong.

But the proprietary, commercial route also has its disadvantages. By hooking their IT wagon to a large enterprise vendor, the CIO is locking the business into a restrictive vendor relationship, slower technical advancement (as compared with the pace of open source advancement) a closed product roadmap, and is at the mercy of costly annual maintenance agreements.

But there is a third option — commercially supported open source. In our opinion this option offers CIOs the best of both worlds. On the one end of the spectrum, the business gets to benefit from all the best that is open source. The technology is readily accessible. They can take advantage of open source’s constant technical advancement. They also gain from the collective knowledge and expertise of a worldwide development community – and its force of continued innovation.

On the other end of the spectrum, the commercial support of open source technologies that is provided by solution providers such CloudOps, allows CIOs to match item for item all the benefits claimed by a large enterprise technology vendor. They can move forward with a solution that is stable, fully supported 24X7, and provided as a managed service if required. This approach allows for the best balance between innovation and stability and at a price point that is highly palatable to even the most budget-sensitive CIO.