WSO2Con 2011: Open Source Adoption in the Enterprise - Prajod Vettiyattil

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  • By WSO2Con 2011
  • 8 Nov, 2011

Open Source Attractions

Economic pressures and a flexible cost model are two driving factors behind enterprise adoption of open source, Mr. Vettiyattil said, and he noted that, “If you have a good team, you don't have to pay at the beginning of the project and even the end of the project you only have to pay the support costs—and even the support costs you can reduce.”

Another compelling factor is access to the source code. “Since the source code is available, if you have some critical issue and a good team, you can actually fix it yourself,” Mr. Vettiyattil explained.

Finally, the move to the cloud naturally aligns with open source adoption, Mr. Vettiyattil observed. Many cloud platforms are built on open source, and several vendors offer open source products on the cloud. Moreover, he said, the elastic pricing models complement open source licensing and support models.

Despite the advantages of open source adoption, many enterprises still face resistance due to concerns over support, protection of intellectual property (IP), and internal team dynamics.

Resistance Challenge #1: Support

Mr. Vettiyattil noted that support traditionally was a big concern, but it is less so now. There are flexible support models that allow enterprises to control what they want support to be, and there are many competing open source vendors, so enterprises have a lot of choice among the competition, he said.

There also are third-party support vendors available to provide service-level agreement (SLA) based support in which the enterprise gives the vendor an issue and the vendor resolves the issue within a specified time. Additionally, consulting is available and can be useful across all stages of the project lifecycle, including development, testing, and deployment.

Resistance Challenge #2

An enterprise may also ask: “If the development team creates software using open source, who owns the IP? Can someone take it away?

One way to overcome this challenge is to create an open source usage policy, Mr. Vettiyattil advised. This policy can determine what kind of open source is allowed in the organization and even which parts of the organization are allowed to use open source software. The enterprise also can put into place a governance team to create policies and then monitor and enforce them, he added.

Resistance Challenge #3

The last area of resistance is among internal teams who are likely to have questions about their future when a new platform is introduced, Mr. Vettiyattil said. These concerns may be over what new opportunities exist and who will have control.

Training helps to overcome internal resistance, Mr. Vettiyattil advised. Once the team is trained on the product, many of the questions they have are answered. The training also can be very motivational.

The training can be vendor-supported or internally driven, Mr. Vettiyattil observed. However, he noted that internal training has the additional benefit of establishing specialists within the corporation, who are on-hand and able to answer questions at any time down the road.

Going Forward

The future is bright for open source, Mr. Vettiyattil said. It is a very demand-driven market that is in alignment with the economy—and with cloud adoption among organizations.

The key, though, is the completeness of the open source software stacks, Mr. Vettiyattil noted; “If an open source provider only gives you an ESB, it may not be a complete solution.” By contrast he said, “WSO2 is an example of a complete open stack.”

For more perspectives on enterprise open source adoption, view Mr. Vettiyattil’s full presentation here.

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  • WSO2Con 2011
  • Sri Lanka