Open source use in enterprise up almost 70%

Open source use in enterprises has increased by close to 70% in the past year, with a growing number of users regarding it as strategically important to their organisation's overall enterprise infrastructure software strategy.

These are among the key findings of a survey conducted by Illuminas and sponsored by open source company and new addition to the IBM family, Red Hat.

The findings of "The State of Enterprise Open Source" survey, which involved 950 IT leaders from around the world, were published earlier this month.

In a blog announcing the release of the report, Red Hat technology evangelist Gordon Haff said "open source software has permeated the technology landscape" to the extent that many people are unaware they are using open source software technology in some form when undertaking any number of mundane tasks, from withdrawing cash from an ATM to making a phone call.

The survey set out to determine whether enterprises are viewing open source as just "part of the landscape" or a means to reduce costs, or whether they are approaching it in a more deliberate manner.

The survey showed "open source is rising to the next level, even as software more broadly is assuming a more central role in how businesses operate and provide value to customers," Haff said.

Key findings

* How important is open source in the overall enterprise infrastructure strategy?

More than two-thirds (69%) of survey respondents said open source was very or extremely important to their organisation. Only 1% stated it was not important at all.

* How has the use of enterprise open source software changed?

Between 64% and 69% of respondents across all regions have increased their use of enterprise open source in the past 12 months, while 52% to 65% expect to continue increasing use in the year ahead.

* What percentage of software is proprietary versus open source?

According to the report, businesses planning to use more open source are more likely to be moving legacy applications to the cloud, modernising their infrastructure, managing hybrid or multi-cloud environments and using it for automation and configuration.

In addition, enterprise open source is increasingly being used for activities traditionally associated with proprietary applications, like analytics (used by 42%), storage and security (42%). In fact, open source accounts for 41% of databases, 42% of big data analytics, and 45% of Web site development.

* Top benefits of using enterprise open source solutions.

While reduced total cost of ownership is cited by 33% as one of the top benefits of using enterprise open source solutions, 29% also mention access to the latest innovations and better security.

* Top barriers to using enterprise open source solutions.

Security remains a concern for open source users, with 38% of respondents citing it as among the top three barriers to enterprise open source adoption.

The report notes that some of this fear probably stems from general security concerns and frequent reports of hacks and breaches, as well as well-founded concerns about how easily unmanaged open source code can introduce vulnerabilities in both open source and proprietary solutions.

Red Hat is convinced that using trusted sources for open source software, with automated tools that can quickly uncover and remediate security problems, can significantly reduce the potential for security lapses.

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