As open source software continues to gain traction and adherents, many have predicted that such solutions will virtually replace enterprise software. However, as Information Age contributor Ben Rossi recently pointed out, this is not how the technologies in question are playing out. Instead, open source and enterprise software are increasingly working together synergistically to deliver superior results.
Let our powers combine
Rossi pointed out that when combined effectively, the union of open source and enterprise software has the potential to deliver the unique benefits of both approaches. Open source offers the advantage of community-wide efforts and more openness. Enterprise software, meanwhile, enables intellectual property protection, as well as greater accountability, the writer explained.
Rossi went on to explain that while there is no doubt that open source is having a transformative effect on the industry, it has not matured to the point where it can serve as a complete replacement for enterprise software. The latter is therefore still necessary to meet certain business needs.
To highlight this point, Rossi pointed to the extremely popular open source program Hadoop, which enables organizations to store, utilize and query large data sets without altering format. He noted that Hadoop is so popular that its name is now effectively synonymous with big data analytics.
Yet Rossi also emphasized the fact that Hadoop has a number of shortcomings. Most notably, it cannot deliver real-time insight. In order to get such speedy results, firms must combine Hadoop or other, similar open source software with enterprise Massively Parallel Process in-memory databases. The results that businesses can enjoy by using both of these resources collectively far outpace the outcome of an exclusive approach.
"A coupling with enterprise makes Hadoop a smarter, quicker, much friendlier beast, and businesses will undoubtedly have to marry the two if they want to remain agile and responsive to the demands on them," Rossi asserted.
Best practices needed
Similarly beneficial pairings between open source software and enterprise offerings are fairly commonplace. It is therefore detrimental for any firm to embrace an approach to software that relies entirely on one type of offering and wholly ignores the other.
This speaks to the overall need for a well-thought-out approach when it comes to open source solutions. These tools have the potential to radically improve a company's productivity, efficiency and effectiveness, but only when combined with best practices and steady strategy. Moving too quickly and recklessly to adopt open source software will significantly undermine the technology's utility.
A key example of such best practices is the adoption of technical support tools, such as scanning and governance solutions. These assets are essential for managing open source usage and ensuring license compliance. By incorporating automated scanning and other functions, these tools reduce the risk in open source deployments, thereby delivering the greatest possible value from the technology.