Open Source and the Enterprise

I keep hearing from customers that I visit that cost is becoming (or has become) THE issue to deal with in 2009. More and more of these customers (and they are the large enterprises) are opening the dialog with "How do we save by using Open Source?" It is amazing that just 3-6 months ago open source was a hit and miss topic, but now it seems to be firmly in the mainstream. 

Most enterprises that are considering open-source software typically want the best product from the different categories to make up a complete Web application platform: a Web server (like Apache), an application server (like GlassFish or JBoss), scripting (like PHP and Ruby), an Enterprise Service Bus (like OpenESB or MuleSource) and a portal (like LifeRay). Adopting this approach has some significant benefits but also presents its own challenges:

  • Cost/time to integrate the disparate projects together
  • Ability to effectively patch and maintain the disparate projects
  • Support of the product if/when problems arise and who can provide a fix for the product to address business critical issues

I would love to year how you are trying to handle these challenges. I know my colleges working with the proprietary vendors have decided to declare open source more expensive than proprietary, but I find that argument nonsensical. 

I promise to publish any results here as well as how we are trying to solve this at Sun. Our approach might surprise you.. more to come...

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