Using Open Source Software (OSS) Is Critical For Cloud Transformations


Article by New Relic Senior Director of Sales Engineering for A / NZ Myk Shaforostov.

As more organizations migrate to the cloud, many will be faced with a choice: use open source platforms or stick with vendor-owned solutions.

Previously, there had been a lot of misconceptions about open source, that it is less secure or more difficult to maintain, for example, or even that it is not enterprise grade. In fact, open source allows security issues to be resolved quickly since anyone in the community can fix them, rather than waiting for a single software vendor to release a fix.

As for not being enterprise level, just consider Amazon, Google, IBM, and the London and New York stock exchanges, which not only use but have a critical reliance on open source technology.

The Australian banking system also uses open source extensively: whenever a technical banking team mentions Kubernetes, Apache, or even .NET, they are using open source software. And with cryptocurrency being fully open source, the future of banking could very well be built on this kind of open foundation.

There are four other reasons why the future of the cloud includes (or should be) open source, and that starts by helping address the current skills shortage.

1. Solve the skills shortage

The war for technological talent shows no signs of abating. In Australia, top engineering talent is constantly changing organization, attracted by lucrative salary offers.

On top of that, COVID-19 restrictions have made it nearly impossible for tech talent to arrive from abroad. However, open source technologies such as Kubernetes, GO, Mongo, etc., are already used by many ecosystem employees. If more companies choose to adopt this familiar technology, technical teams can expand the network of potential new hires.

Speaking a “common language” in IT can also be achieved through open source and allows teams to jump right in when onboarding new team members.

2. Preference of developers and engineers

An IBM survey in February 2021 identified a preference among developers to work on open source cloud platforms, with 94% deeming them to be equal or superior to proprietary software. When choosing cloud providers, 70% of respondents also preferred those based on open source.

The use of open source creates stronger professional opportunities. For a developer, open source can also mean more career options, as it doesn’t require them to work with a single cloud provider.

3. More innovation

Technological problems are becoming far too important for any business or person to solve them on their own. With open source, you get global collaboration, transparency and ideas. People use their skills for the benefit of the wider community, even their competitors. This speeds up the development cycle and makes it possible to produce innovative solutions much faster.

For example, modern cloud native applications often exceed the limits of multiple technologies and vendors. But the available tracing tools were not designed with interoperability in mind, which means that traces are often interrupted and information is lost. An open source project, the W3C Distributed Tracing Working Group, is working to define common standards that will be beneficial to all, and it is this type of collaboration that fosters greater innovation.

4. Better compatibility

With many companies adopting a hybrid cloud model, open source offers the advantage of being compatible with other cloud environments. While traditional solutions focus on vendor needs, open source solutions can be tailored to meet specific business needs.
There is more flexibility and adaptability as well as longevity.

Open source software can survive even if the relationship with the original vendor ends if it goes out of business or focuses on new business.

Open source software has become particularly critical for the surveillance landscape. IT teams use dozens of tools to measure the performance of their technology stacks. Open source software is at the heart of this explosion of tools, along with open standards, such as OpenTelemetry.

It may sound like a lofty ideal, but at the end of the day, the world works with software, and the world needs a better internet to build a better world. No organization can do it alone, so by contributing to open standards, open instrumentation, and open collaboration, technology leaders can make a positive difference in the world while creating a more vibrant and inclusive developer community.


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