Study: Open Source Going Mainstream

Open source is becoming a basic part of the services portfolios of IBM Global Services, HP Services (HPS), Unisys and Novell, reports IDC in a recent study, “Worldwide Open Source Services 2006 Vendor Analysis: The Open Source Services Opportunity.”

Companies worldwide are showing increasing interest in investing in open source — mainly Linux — technology, says the research firm, as the service arms of large tech companies have formalized support, training and certification services in order to promote the use of Linux with their products.

Integration, Maintenance, Support Costs

“There is no longer any doubt that enterprises are trying to take advantage of the quality, flexibility and license cost savings that open source software offers,” commented IDC’s Sophie Mayo, director, emerging technologies.

“However, they have to take into consideration integration, maintenance and support costs while deploying and managing their open source infrastructure,” she noted.

“As the adoption increases, services providers are working to become their clients’ single point of contact for all of their open source initiatives. They are also creating more refined offerings, including preintegrated stacks of open source or mixed-source components, and are supporting them,” observed Mayo.

Vendors must further develop their open source capabilities as the software goes mainstream, IDC advises, if they wish to retain their existing clients and attract new customers.

Demonstrate Commitment to Open Source

IDC offers the following recommendations for services providers:

  • Create direct open source services offerings and embed open source in solutions wherever possible; open source will become business as usual in two to three years;
  • Be creative with a new services revenue model, as there is no new industry-wide accepted approach yet;
  • Look beyond support as a way to differentiate your company;
  • Learn “the art of componentry,” and extend the functionalities of an open source core with commercial plug-ins or extensions, or vice versa; and
  • Demonstrate a commitment to open source and open standards; open source is at the core of trends toward standardization, optimization, consolidation, and rationalization of the IT infrastructure.

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