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Myth Busting the Open-Source Cloud Part 5

One myth remains to be busted: Moving mission-critical apps to the open-source cloud.

In this five-part series, we have busted myths around security, support, maturity and having too many cooks when it comes to open-source clouds. It’s time to turn to a perception that is quite common and possibly the one most in need of shattering: that the open-source cloud is not ready to handle mission-critical business applications.

This myth ties back to several of the previously mentioned misconceptions about open-source cloud computing. A perceived lack of security, support and maturity and the idea that open source is in the hands of too many entities gives IT and business executives the sense that open-source cloud can not yet be trusted to support the most vital processes in the enterprise.

The reluctance to migrate critical applications to open-source platforms is fed by all of these misconceptions, and is keeping some organizations from realizing the benefits of open source.

The movement to open-source technology has transformed every industry and even the public sector. Organizations are being freed from being locked into single-vendor solutions while also benefiting from the growing communities that are innovating at each step.

Some companies can extend open source to solve problems specific to their business or industry. For example, in the telecommunications sector, providers are extending OpenStack as part of their race to virtualize network functions. Media and entertainment companies faced with massively growing data storage requirements are using open source to build low-cost distributed storage platforms. Healthcare providers are implementing open source to improve the reliability of software and the availability of data to serve patients around the clock without any downtime—planned or unplanned.

More to the point, industry research shows that many organizations have already made open source a part of their business operations. For example, 78 percent of the companies surveyed by venture capital firm North Bridge and logistics software provider Black Duck Software as part of their ninth annual “Future of Open Source” report say they run part or all of their operations on open-source software. By comparison, in the 2010 survey only 42 percent of respondents said they used open source in the running of their business or their IT environments.

Open source has become the default approach for software, the study notes, with more than two-thirds of respondents saying they consider open-source software before other options.

The results “reflect the increasing adoption of open source and highlight the abundance of organizations participating in the open-source community,” the researchers say. “Even companies that may have historically relied on more proprietary technologies are realizing they face a competitive disadvantage by not participating in open-source projects.”

In CIO magazine’s own 2015 Tech Poll, 58 percent of respondents say their investments in open source will remain the same, while 21 percent plan increased spending in this area.

Clearly, concerns around security, maturity, lack of support, too many cooks and a fear of moving critical business apps to the open-source cloud are simply myths. And if you’re still not convinced, spend some time at the OpenStack site, where the sheer volume users and types of innovation going on will change your mind.

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