I am a strong proponent of open source in cloud computing. In spite of an argument in favor of architecture over licensing, I still feel open source has an important future in the world of cloud computing. However, unlike many in the open source world (well, in the proprietary world too), I don’t see open source and proprietary software as mutually exclusive. For me, open source is more about giving the choice to users than along the strict freedom based argument. In my opinion, the users should be given a choice of open source and proprietary software so that he/she has the freedom to choose whatever he/she wants.
JohnTreadway of Cloudbzz has written an excellent post highlighting situations in the cloud where open source and proprietary option makes sense. The whole post is very interesting but I would like to highlight to cloud ave readers the part of the post where he lists out situations that demand open source and proprietary components.
His recommendation for selecting open source:
Insist on open source (or at least full source access – not escrow) when one or more of the following situations exist:
- the supplier is small or thinly funded (VCs can and do pull the plug even after many million$ have been invested)
- the capability/functionality provided by the technology is strategically important to you, especially when investment must be maintained to remain leading-edge in a fast-moving and intensely competitive market
- migration costs to a different technology are very high and disruptive
He says proprietary components are useful when
Consider closed-source/proprietary solutions when at least two or more of the following factors are present:
- the functionality provided by the software is not core to your competitive positioning the market
- replacement costs (particularly internal change costs) are moderate or low
- the functionality and value is so much higher than open source alternatives that you’re willing to take the risk
- the technology is so widely deployed and successful that the risks of abandonment is very low
- the costs are low enough so as not to make your offering uncompetitive or internal environment unaffordable
His post is a good start and soon I will also write about my thoughts on the topic. In the mean time, if you are a cloud practitioner, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.