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Technology / Software

Security concerns fail to hold back UK open source success

In March this year Microsoft revealed that its database would be available for the Linux platform.

The decision came as a final validation of open source and highlighted the increasing success that the technologies in this space are having.

However, despite its increasingly common use, many (54%) still perceive external security threats to be a big barrier to adoption, that’s according to a report published by Rackspace.

The State of Open Source study, which was conducted among IT decision makers in UK businesses with over 1,000 employees and revenues over £500m, and looks at the ways open source is being used, its benefits, but also what is holding back adoption and business concerns.

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According to the report open source has come of age with 85% using open source technology to migrate a closed source project to open source.

Open source also isn’t just a tool for small businesses; the vast majority (90%) of large businesses are now deploying open source-based enterprise applications, with 25% being completely open source.

The reason for the growing adoption is because of the money and time savings. Rackspace found that for each project that had been migrated to open source technology, six out of ten organisations saved on average £30,146 and reduced project lifecycle by six months.

Greater innovation was reported by many (49%), and 46% were driven to open source because of the competitive opportunities. Additionally, just under half (45%) said that it enabled them to get products and services to market faster.

John Engates, Chief Technology Officer at Rackspace, said: “While open source technologies have been around for many years, it is great to see that enterprise businesses are finally dipping their toes in and seeing the tangible benefits.

“However, while the perception issue is significant, we don’t expect that open source usage will decline because of security concerns. As an industry, open source code is amongst the most scrutinised, and its commitment to transparency means that – where there are vulnerabilities – businesses will be aware of these and take steps to protect themselves.”

Rackspace State of Open Source report highlights continued adoption.
Rackspace State of Open Source report highlights continued adoption.

The use of open source in enterprises is typically being seen with application development 63%, web servers 52%, operating systems 51%, databases 49%, and infrastructure 46%. While this shows a wide range of use cases, open source is yet to take off with the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence.

Only 27% of businesses are using open source for IoT, and only 20% for AI, despite the majority of innovation in these sectors being based on open sourced code, at least in some form, the report said.

Although open source is clearly growing in popularity, as highlighted by Red Hat’s finances, there are still barriers to adoption.

Security is one of them, and the skills gap is another. The report found that only one in three believe they have the necessary skills within their organisation to develop solutions using open source.

This is particularly common for using components/technologies (32%), managing open source projects (34%), and implementing open source projects (33%).

However, lots of work is being put in to improve the situation with 66% up-skilling employees to implement the technology 62% are providing open source development support, while 62% are providing training around open source technology management.

Engates said: “With an increasing amount of a company’s value derived from software, the acceptance of open source as a viable solution helps businesses compete. By using the same strategies and tactics as the market leaders, businesses of all sizes will be able to build and launch innovative solutions faster than by using closed source technologies in isolation.”
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