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BLOG: The future is open

Jim Whitehurst | April 25, 2012
Open source is the answer to 21st century computing demands.

Open source has thrived over the last several years, providing low-cost, high-value solutions that appeal to organisations faced with tight budgets. The interoperability, flexibility, affordability and countless other benefits that open source and open standards deliver will be key as companies look for IT solutions that solve 21st century business problems.

It's Time to Look to the Future

A lot has changed in the past year. With the tight economy, open source has helped companies weather the storm and continue to innovate. With increasing computing demands and complexities, enterprises need to be able to match the pace or bite the dust. In the 21st century economy, closed technology that locks in customers is fast turning obsolete. Business models that don't deliver value are no longer sustainable.

As open source is driving a lot of innovation in IT, innovation will slow significantly if we don't see further adoption of open source. With all the complexities in the world, we have to be open. With IT budgets largely fixed, open source companies like Red Hat can offer more. What seizes CIOs' buy-in better than saying 'We can save you money' is to overcome their challenge by showing them how open source can give them more functionality within their budget.

Open source is critical for future innovation

Open source is the answer to 21st century computing demands. Open source conditions customers to expect more for less, and disciplines vendors to deliver it. It does not provide an easy business model, but it enables various business models that align customers' interests with vendors', which proves to be a winning combination in a recession.

In a world of traditional software economics, Google would not exist without open source. The company is preparing to manage as many as 10 million servers in the future[1]. Adding up the roughly US$2,000 in software costs per server (for the operating system, database, and so on) means that it would take roughly US$20 billion for Google to run those servers with proprietary software.

Luckily for the search giant, they were able to save billions of dollars by running millions of servers in its infrastructure with free open source Linux software, making Google the most successful open source company in the world in terms of returning shareholder value.

This also explains why open source, not proprietary software, is the best enabler to drive cloud computing. 

The cloud is the most significant trend in open source today

Interest in cloud computing is growing rapidly, with many enterprises deploying cloud solutions. Without open source, the economics of the cloud would not have been possible. Open source is the foundation for the cloud, and the cloud, in turn, plays perfectly to the advantages of open source.

  • It is flexible and scalable
  • It drives up hardware efficiencies
  • It helps consolidate IT budgets
  • It reduces operating expenditures and helps projects get started quickly
  • It helps meet the challenges enterprises have in creating flexible, secure production apps


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