|By Bill Weinberg||
|July 27, 2004 12:00 AM EDT||
In today's proprietary-dominated software marketplace, companies large and small must live with the fact that their own priorities can and do diverge from those of their key suppliers.
IT departments and other software and hardware consumers constantly face capability gaps from product end-of-life, features and functionality missing from product releases, and limited hosting options.
These gaps raise their real costs and impact the timeliness of internal and external deliverables. Such problems are endemic to any technology ecosystem, but are further exacerbated in markets dominated by a small number of players.
At a minimum, open source Linux broadens these technology supply bottlenecks by "N+1" - that is, with open source, IT departments and other enterprise technology consumers gain the critical option of looking inside their organizations for viable, cost-effective solutions, not just outside them. When open source alternatives exist across a marketplace, as they do with Linux and its software stack, the competition drives all players, open and proprietary alike, to become better suppliers, to win their customers' business on a recurring basis. So, instead of building roadmaps to navigate around obstacles thrown up by suppliers, organizations can better plot paths that suit their own business goals.
As Linux and open source technology move forward apace with proprietary software, they give IT departments more choice about when and if they need to make investments in new solutions. Unlike the leading proprietary OS and its applications, Linux runs comfortably on legacy hardware (allowing for longer deployment/depreciation cycles). Also, the open source community and the accompanying commercial ecosystem are willing and able to support current and past versions of Linux and attendant applications thus ending forced end of life imposed by proprietary vendors.
Open source Linux lets IT departments take back control of their technology strategies and their budgets, and to make more conscious choices about how and where they spend their money. Examples include:
- Multivendor Linux ecosystems for software and services create useful competition in the marketplace.
- The open source nature of Linux and much of its attendant software stack lets companies resolve many support issues internally more quickly.
- Internal and external support for Linux platforms leverages long-standing, readily available Unix expertise in the marketplace.
- Significant reductions in overall hardware costs by leveraging existing workstation and server fleets for longer deployments.
- Inexpensive clustering and distributed computing options let companies address high-end computing requirements with less expensive, even legacy, hardware, building out, instead of up.
- Base software platform costs drop dramatically through use of open source and move away from per-instance licensing charges.
- Licensing expenses and compliance costs drop or disappear without a need for vigilance and audits in observance of proprietary licenses.
- Software acquisition and training costs become more competitive in a multivendor ecosystem (that includes new options for internal implementation).
- Outsourcing costs become more competitive with readily available global expertise in Linux development, integration, and support.
- Training and/or new-hiring requirements for organizations with no Linux and/or Unix expertise; man-hours and associated costs of the migration and integration project.
- Migration from legacy solutions can require additional hardware for leading-edge adoption and prototyping in parallel with legacy systems.
- Not all software stack components can be addressed by open source software components, meaning that associated licensing expenses in place can remain even after open source and Linux deployment.
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