Industry use of enterprise open source software will be close to parity with proprietary software use – which is waning – within just two years, according to a major new survey by Red Hat.
The report found that 68 percent of businesses have increased their use of open source enterprise tools over the past 12 months. Fifty-nine percent plan to do so in the coming year.
The shift is a momentous one for industry; many companies have historically been wary of perceived security issues and lack of support for open source tools, preferring to fork out for proprietary licensed software in the belief that it is safer.
Red Hat said it is increasingly seeing open source used in categories that have historically been more associated with proprietary applications. These categories include, but are not limited to, cloud management, security, analytics, and storage.
The company’s Gordon Haff said: “We see [much of] this transition powered by speciﬁc technologies. Take containers, for example. Along with much of what is going on in the cloud-native space in general, containers are almost entirely a product of collaborative open source development. 67 percent of organisations plan to increase their use of containers over the next year. That’s because of open source.”
The survey of almost 1,000 senior IT leaders found that lower cost of ownership was among the core drivers of the shift. (See graph to right).
The report captures the extent to which mainstream organisations have “bought into software as a change agent rather than just a cost centre, and into enterprise open source as a central element of the software universe rather than something a bit scary which lurks at the periphery,” Red Hat said.
Historically, Red Hat’s open source software has been used in IT infrastructure modernisation to update proprietary operating systems, application servers, and virtualisation software, among other areas.
However, the survey also shows the widespread use of open source in many aspects of modern application development, as well as business-level organisational initiatives such as digital transformation, the company said.
The top three use cases it captured:
> Infrastructure modernisation (48 percent in the UK)
> App integration (41 percent in the UK)
> App development (35 percent in the UK)
Security remains the main cause of concern, however, particularly in the UK, where 42 percent of respondents said the security of code was the biggest barrier to using enterprise open source. Red Hat said: “This concern may also reﬂect how unmanaged open source code—found across the web or brought in through dependencies—can introduce vulnerabilities in both open source and proprietary solutions.”
The company concluded: “However, using trusted sources for enterprise open source software, with automated tools to quickly uncover and remediate security problems, can signiﬁcantly reduce the potential for security issues.”