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New Study on Open Source vs. Open Core Trends Shows Increasing Demand for Open Source’s Advantages
April 11, 2022

However, the need for open source expertise makes 84% of business leaders willing to enlist a managed service platform and/or consultancy to support their open source adoption.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif – April 11, 2022 Instaclustr, which helps organizations deliver applications at scale by operating and supporting their open source data infrastructure, today announced The Advantages of Using Free And Open-Source Software Vs. Open-Core Software, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Instaclustr and released in April 2022. The full study is available for free download here.

The study’s methodology includes contributing research from Forrester’s Application Development and Delivery Group, supplemented by survey responses from 322 global application development decision-makers across the United States, the UK, France, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Austria. The survey began in November and was completed in December 2021. 

While free and open source software (FOSS) allows organizations to fully utilize technologies at no cost, “open core” solutions tack on additional proprietary features to existing open source offerings and add commercial licensing fees. In many cases, open core solutions lead to vendor lock-in, and often prevent organizations from owning or accessing the proprietary source code they build their own applications on top of.

The commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Instaclustr assessed application development decision-makers’ understanding of the benefits of using FOSS vs. open core software. Key findings from the study include:

  • Perceived open core advantages are actually available – for free – with FOSS. 

Survey respondents cited lower risk (41%), greater efficiency (39%), and the ability to more easily move to the cloud (33%) as the top advantages of open core solutions – underscoring a persistent misconception within some organizations. Decision-makers holding this belief should understand that mature and enterprise-proven FOSS enables clear governance backed by powerful communities that proactively mitigate security risks and promote technology efficiency and interoperability. The absence of proprietary licensing limitations also allows FOSS users to move to or across clouds with ease.

  • FOSS brings cost savings, code freedom, and strong innovative communities.

No surprises: respondents named lower costs (45%), reducing licensing fees (41%), full access to application source code (40%), and strength of community (40%) as the top FOSS advantages.

  • FOSS flexibility is a major draw.

In asking decision-makers that use FOSS exclusively how they arrived at that strategy, 47% of respondents cited the need to flexibly leverage a solution’s full functionality without restriction. 38% reported a need for complete software portability, and 31% named the ability to be more agile and adaptive with FOSS.

  • Organizations mired in open core commitments need better leadership support, expertise, and assistance to adopt FOSS.

Organizations using open core solutions showed interest in FOSS migration and adoption but reported being blocked by a number of challenges. 39% of respondents in this position acknowledged there was inconsistent strategy across departments, while 31% cite a lack of comprehensive support and 29% name lack of skills with open source technologies as a roadblock. When asked what factors would better prepare these organizations for FOSS adoption, a plurality of 41% named “access to qualified, expert assistance from external parties.”

  • Current FOSS-using organizations are also seeking more partner-led support.

While organizations deploying FOSS already command a host of benefits, they also face challenges in leveraging open source technologies to their fullest potential. For this reason, 84% of these respondents describe themselves as willing to enlist a managed services platform and/or consultancy with open source expertise to support their FOSS deployments. FOSS users’ more urgent needs from partners right now include: security (68%), scalability (66%), migration assistance (66%), and overall FOSS expertise (65%).

“The study’s findings really emphasize the fact that decision-makers overseeing application development strategies are eager for the cost savings, code freedom, and strong community benefits FOSS has to offer,” said Peter Lilley, CEO at Instaclustr, “The results also drive home what we hear from organizations every day here: that they want to move from the limits of open core, but need help getting there. But particularly as organizations scale, the benefits of effectively wielding truly open source technologies become even more advantageous. We continue to champion only 100% open source versions of enterprise-proven technologies at Instaclustr, and look forward to enabling more customers to transform their organization with the power of open source.”

About Instaclustr

Instaclustr helps organizations deliver applications at scale through its platform for open source technologies such as Apache Cassandra®, Apache Kafka®, Apache Spark™, Redis™, OpenSearch™, Apache ZooKeeper™, and PostgreSQL®. Instaclustr combines a complete data infrastructure environment with hands-on technology expertise to ensure ongoing performance and optimization. By removing infrastructure complexity, Instaclustr enables companies to focus internal development and operational resources on building cutting-edge, customer-facing applications at a lower cost. Instaclustr customers include some of the largest and most innovative Fortune 500 companies.

For more information, visit Instaclustr.com and follow us @Instaclustr.



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