Report: 70% of developers struggle with the transition to open source


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According to a new study from Instaclustr and Forrester Consulting, companies using open core technologies report a clear desire to move to pure open source alternatives, but 70% struggle with internal company strategy and roadblock support. The results indicate a clear desire for savings in licensing costs, code portability, and strong community support offered by free and open source technologies, compared to more proprietary open core alternatives.

However, respondents currently working on open core solutions describe significant obstacles to their FOSS adoption. Thirty-nine percent cited inconsistent strategy across departments as a roadblock and called for more unified leadership to achieve open source transitions. Thirty-one percent cited a lack of extensive support available, while 29% cited a lack of internal skills around open source technologies as a barrier to greater FOSS adoption within their company. Interestingly, 29% also state that existing license lockouts are a barrier to moving to open source options. A majority of 41% of respondents described “access to qualified, expert help from third parties” as the most effective method of moving their organizations toward FOSS adoption.

Graphic.  Key challenges preventing open core-only organizations from using FOSS.  Full results available in the article itself.Several reasons prevent open core users from easily transitioning to FOSS alternatives.

Open core solutions build on the FOSS offering by adding proprietary features, but can also come with more expensive commercial licensing costs and the risk of lock-in when an organization’s code is not as portable as it is with FOSS. Against this background, survey respondents cited the key principles of the FOSS offering as compelling drivers for adoption. When asked about key FOSS benefits to application development strategy, 45% of respondents cited cost reduction, 41% cited lack of licensing costs, 40% emphasized total access to application source code, and 40% pointed to the power of FOSS communities. Of respondents who actively adopt FOSS strategies, 47% cited the beneficial flexibility and freedom from constraints that FOSS provides, 38% cited total software portability, and 31% cited increased agility and adaptability as driving their FOSS adoption.

One of the most surprising finding — at least for decision-makers currently using open core strategies — is that the benefits these respondents cited as reasons for their open core adoption are actually available for free from FOSS. Forty-one percent cited lower risk, 39% greater efficiency, and 33% identified easier cloud transitions as the top benefits of open core solutions. However, mature, enterprise-grade FOSS technologies have the built-in governance and community support to match or exceed open core alternatives in security, efficiency, and interoperability. FOSS freedom also enables unlimited cloud adoption, which licensed solutions may not be.

Finally, 84% of respondents who already use FOSS solutions say they are interested in using third-party managed services platforms or consulting firms to support their FOSS implementations with more expertise. Notably, 68% of these decision makers named security, 66% citing scalability, 66% citing migration assistance, and 65% citing general FOSS expertise as their most pressing needs that partner-led support addresses.

The research highlights the desires of enterprises to move beyond open core constraints and take advantage of FOSS benefits. It also highlights the paths that application development decision makers are likely to take in migrating to open source technologies that provide the greater flexibility and freedom they seek.

For their research, Forrester Consulting and Instaclustr surveyed 322 application development decision makers.

Read the full report from Forrester Consulting and Instaclustr.

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