There was an interesting article in TechCrunch this week about what they termed “open adoption software” – software built on a free, open source foundation but with value-added, proprietary products built on top of that foundation. MuleSoft was mentioned as a key example of this type of business model.
Open source software has become a big trend in today’s enterprise. More than 78 percent of businesses run on open source, and it isn’t just tech companies that are using it. Established companies like Walmart, GE, Merck, and even the federal government are using open source software. Contrary to popular belief, open source products are neither lower in quality nor less reliable just because they have been traditionally developed in a collaborative fashion by a community at large rather than an commercial developer. In fact, open source middleware in particular is quite useful for establishing SOA initiatives.
There are certain advantages to using open source software:
- The need for speed. The demand for innovation and rapid delivery means enterprises need agility from the software they adopt. Developers working in an open source community can often deliver faster and integrate at a deeper level.
- Delivering at scale. Businesses have to deliver at a global scale, and they need their software solutions to be able to scale as well. Organizations that have been through these growing pains have shared their solutions with the open source community, providing learnings that proprietary software vendors often don’t have.
- The network effect. One of the key benefits of an application network is that the more it grows the more value is added to it – Metcalfe’s law. Tech execs are empowering frontline developers to download and adopt the projects they need to drive innovation, while developers are looking to community-led technologies where they adopt, deploy and meaningfully participate. This means that developers can participate more fully in the development of software in open source communities and the software can absorb the learnings and innovations of multiple developers much more easily than with proprietary software vendors.
But there are some disadvantages to open source software as well. Proprietary SOA middleware offerings, for instance, are managed and maintained by the developer, easing the burden of system administrators, and often include regular upgrades and professional support services.
There are many considerations when thinking about an open source integration platform. We have lots of resources to give you more information about open source SOA initiatives and open source application integration.