The Challenges of Open Source in the Enterprise

Enterprise and open source—are they peanut butter and jelly, working well together for a better world, or are they oil and water, meeting but never coming together? In this article, I explore the challenges of adopting open source in the enterprise. I look at the technical issues, the business challenges and the political hurdles.
Tying It All Together

Open source has had huge amounts of successful adoption in the enterprise: Linux, Apache, Xen, Perl, PHP, Java and the list goes on. Open source also has had failures, either failure to launch (where it does not get adopted) or explosion on the launchpad (where it is adopted and fails). When looking to adopt an open-source solution in an enterprise, it is important to remember the entire nine-layer model and answer three questions:

  1. Does it meet all of the technical requirements, including those that are unique to running any technology in an enterprise?

  2. Does it have sufficient support and maturity to meet the business requirements of the enterprise?

  3. Can I move it through the process while taking into account the politics inherent in any enterprise?

If the answer to all three is positive, you have a good situation for promoting adoption of an open-source solution.

Avi Deitcher is an operations and technology consultant based in New York and Israel who has been involved in technology since the days of the Z80 and Apple II, and he has worked with global enterprises through tiny Web startups. He has a BS Electrical Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from Duke University. He can be reached at avi@atomicinc.com.

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