The enterprise open source wave is growing - from the bottom up and top down, delegates heard at the Linux Warehouse Enterprise Open Source Executive Forum in Johannesburg last week.
Speakers at the event noted that even where enterprises did not officially seek out open source solutions, their techies were already implementing them in various areas. In other cases, global and leading local enterprises were seeking out the benefits of open source at director level.
Sven Lesicnik, MD of LSD Information Technology, said enterprise open source should not be seen in the context of 'free' from cost - it should be seen in the context of 'freedom'' to enable integration and innovation. "Now, enterprises are starting to understand these benefits, and they are taking enterprise open source more seriously. It's a good time for open source," he said.
Jan-Jan van der Vyver, MD of Linux Warehouse, noted: "We are seeing 'land and expan' when it comes to enterprise open source - enterprises adopt a specific solution to meet a particular need, then go on to grow their enterprise open source stack.
"Enterprise open source is happening now, and it is moving up the stack through applications and middleware. Businesses can either put their heads in the sand, or embrace it," said Van der Vyver. "When businesses embrace enterprise open source, they reap significant advantages, eg, increased ability to innovate."
However, a key difference between enterprise open source and community open source is that the latter does not focus on enterprise risk and governance, noted Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian.
The speakers said the technology advantages of open source were proven, but that governance and risk had to be considered too.
Risk advisory expert Tiaan van Schalkwyk said the same IT governance and risk principles needed to be applied to open source as to any other IT consideration, which meant unmanaged software should be avoided. Because enterprise open source is accompanied by effective patch and security management, and supported by manuals and training, enterprise open source is a better option for companies with a normal risk profile, he noted.