Over the last year, businesses have been challenged with maintaining growth during a period of unprecedented change. Now, many are looking to the future and preparing for life after Covid-19, assessing the impact of the pandemic, and working out how to stay ahead of the competition as we move towards a ‘new normal’.

Adopting new business strategies or implementing new technology is a proven route to growth. Increasingly, it’s open source technology that is being chosen as organisations seek a competitive edge and the latest innovations.

In a recent survey of enterprise developers released by Aiven, 85% of enterprises reported they used open source in their organisation. Growth in the adoption of the software has only accelerated over the last year. Similar Tidelift research found that almost half of organisations are looking to rely more on open source as a result of the pandemic.

So, why are so many businesses now turning to open source?

Open source is driving growth

Nearly everything around us is powered by open source today, from cloud providers’ services, to mobile phones and household appliances. There’s immense value in being able to build on the existing foundation of technology without having to re-invent the wheel. Open source and permissive licenses bring about business agility and capabilities to move faster, experiment and innovate – all critical in remaining innovative and competitive.

Open source is transparent and open to inspection, a key benefit granting businesses the capability to utilize and process their own data regardless of what would happen to a single vendor or a single product. On the other hand, the open development model and contributions from small and large enterprises – Amazon, Google, Intel, and Microsoft to mention a select few – ensure open source is at the very cutting edge of innovation.

The number of people working on some of these open source projects means that bugs in the code can be identified, diagnosed, and resolved quickly. As a result, open source software is often considered more secure than a proprietary software.

But it’s not without a few challenges. For a start, open source can be harder to implement than proprietary software – it’s often not plug-and-play in the same way as proprietary software and it might not fit your business use-case out-of-the-box. In order to maintain it you will also need to keep on top of patches and updates.

Ultimately, these challenges come down to the fact that open source software code is built for the community. The worldwide open source community drives innovation and improvement of various open source software projects, but it does not provide direct support for individual businesses using the technology. Although there are forums, online guides, and people happy to give advice, you can find yourself on your own if you have a problem that isn’t easy to resolve.

This is where managed open source comes in. Managed open source is a solution to some of the key challenges associated with open source software. It allows a business to get the best out of open source software without taking on the responsibilities of maintenance. Managed open source providers, such as Aiven, take care of implementation, maintenance, and security. This allows in-house developers to focus their time on more important work that will help drive their business forwards rather than spending time at the command line interface.

Open source and the cloud

Forrester predicts the global public cloud infrastructure market will balloon in 2021 – seeing 35% growth and reaching $120 billion in sales. The main driver for cloud adoption is the very same driving open source adoption: business agility and the ability to innovate and experiment at a faster pace.

Ultimately, businesses need to find a mix of solutions that work best for them and their individual use-cases. For many businesses, that mix will include some combination of open source software and cloud technology. Implemented with the right support, these technologies can help businesses to grow, remain agile, and innovate at speed.

Open source is no panacea, but with managed open source options, businesses can reap the benefits of the innovative software while avoiding some of its major pitfalls. More and more businesses are recognising how open source can help them. If your business hasn’t considered open source before, now might be the time to do so.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Want to find out more about topics like this from industry thought leaders? The Cloud Transformation Congress, taking place on 13 July 2021, is a virtual event and conference focusing on how to enable digital transformation with the power of cloud.

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