Report: 70% of devs struggle with transitioning to open source

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According to a new study by Instaclustr and Forrester Consulting, enterprises using open core technologies report a clear desire to move to pure open source alternatives — but 70% struggle with inter-company strategy and support roadblocks. The results point to a clear desire for license cost savings, code portability and strong community backing offered by free and open source technologies, as compared to more proprietary open core alternatives.

However, respondents currently engaged with open core solutions describe major obstacles to their FOSS adoption. Thirty-nine percent named inconsistent strategy across departments as a roadblock, calling for more unified leadership to achieve open source transitions. Thirty-one percent cited a lack comprehensive support available, while 29% flagged a lack of in-house skills around open source technologies as holding back more FOSS adoption within their business. Interestingly, 29% also report existing license lock-in as a barrier for moving to open source options. A 41% plurality of respondents described “access to qualified, expert assistance from external parties” as the most effective method of advancing their organizations toward FOSS adoption.

Graphic. Top challenges preventing open-core-only organizations from using FOSS. Full results available in the article itself.

Open core solutions build on top of FOSS offerings by adding proprietary features, but can also come with costlier commercial licensing fees and risk of lock-in when an organization’s code isn’t as portable as with FOSS. Against this backdrop, survey respondents named the major tenets of FOSS offerings as compelling drivers of adoption. Asked about the top FOSS advantages for application development strategy, 45% or respondents named cost reduction, 41% cited the lack of licensing fees, 40% highlighted total access to application source code and 40% pointed to the strength of FOSS communities. Among respondents actively practicing FOSS-only strategies, 47% cited the advantageous flexibility and freedom from restrictions that FOSS offers, 38% named total software portability and 31% identified increased agility and adaptability as driving their FOSS adoption.

Among the most surprising finding — to decision-makers currently leveraging open core strategies, at least — is that the advantages these respondents cited as reasons in favor of their open core adoption are actually available from FOSS, for free. Forty-one percent named lower risk, 39% cited greater efficiency and 33% reported easier cloud transitions as the key benefits of open core solutions. However, mature, enterprise-grade FOSS technologies have the built-in governance and community support to rival or surpass open core alternatives across security, efficiency and interoperability. FOSS freedom also enables cloud adoption without restriction, which licensed solutions may not.

Finally, 84% of respondents already using FOSS solutions report their interest in enlisting external managed services platforms or consultancies to support their FOSS deployments with greater expertise. Specifically, 68% of these decision-makers named security, 66% named scalability, 66% named migration assistance, and 65% named overall FOSS expertise as their most urgent needs to which partner-led support offers a solution.

The study makes clear the desires of enterprises to move beyond open core limitations and to capitalize on FOSS benefits. It also highlights the paths application development decision-makers are likely to take in migrating to open source technologies that deliver the greater flexibility and freedom they seek.

For its study, Forrester Consulting and Instaclustr surveyed 322 global application development decision-makers.

Read the full report by Forrester Consulting and Instaclustr.

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