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Why your business should adopt open source

By Contributor , Fri 17 Dec 2021

Article by New Relic APJ CTO Michael Fleshman.

Enterprises face an overwhelming degree of technological complexity due to code, application and cloud and network sprawl, making it more difficult to know what’s happening in the tech stack and how to fix problems as they arise.

Moreover, the growing adoption of microservices and the advent of 5G only adds to this complexity.

Amid this explosion in complexity, achieving full-stack observability is becoming increasingly critical to ensuring wider business success.

Observability accelerates business transformation, enhances the customer experience, and speeds up development cycles. But many engineers aren’t observability experts, and even for those who are, the sheer number of tools and integrations required to properly implement an effective observability framework in-house is beyond the reach of most organisations.

This leaves the technology leadership wondering how to secure the appropriate level of investment in observability while balancing observability budgets and benefits with other business investment priorities.

The answer lies in the same strategy used by more and more enterprises globally and which comes as second nature to most developers -  which is to leverage the tried and tested work of a talent pool of millions of developers through open source. 

Across the globe, organisations continue to depend heavily on open source tools and libraries, and the ASEAN region is no exception. According to an observability forecast, over half (57%) of organisations in ASEAN are investing 5-10% of their budgets into open source, with 30% committing over 10% of their budgets.

There are many reasons why businesses are choosing open source, and collaboration sits at the heart of this adoption trend. 

Broader collaboration and access to industry experts and tools

By making observability ‘open’ - with open agents, open source tools and an open community of best practices - engineers can get started on coding more easily and understand what’s happening in their tech stack.

An open ecosystem of knowledge-focused resources that tap into the collective experience of world-leading experts and practitioners will enable engineers to unlock the power of their data more quickly. A rich and deep repository of such tools could also enable millions of engineers to make better decisions throughout the software lifecycle.

Openness and interoperability also enable software engineers to work together to solve tough challenges. Many engineers benefit from open source tools that uncover potential security vulnerabilities in their systems.

The spirit of collaboration knows no bounds – the observability forecast showed that contributing to the open-source community was a key driver to adoption for organisations across A/NZ and India, with 54% and 52% of respondents respectively citing it as a primary factor in adoption.

Double down on innovation, security, and transparency

Taking advantage of the latest innovations and infrastructure modernisation is another key reason for open source adoption, with 58% of observability forecast respondents in A/NZ, 65% in ASEAN and 75% in India saying this was the case.

Despite an association with vulnerabilities and risks, in practice observability is generally more secure than proprietary software. A recent study revealed that 87% of IT leaders trust the security of open source. Contributors can also help each other find and fix security issues quickly while lessening security fears faster.

Open source software will also drive businesses to address the demand for transparency and create a feedback loop that increases the speed of innovation and efficacy.

Faster app development and toolset consolidation

According to the observability forecast, a further driver is application development, with 60% of ASEAN organisations choosing it as a primary reason for adopting open source. With open source, there’s access to a significantly large pool of developers and a set of standards around which they can code, enabling organisations to be much more agile and build apps faster.

Over half (53%) of ASEAN organisations are also turning to open source to integrate with existing tools and systems, the observability forecast demonstrated. Open source enables developers to remove technology redundancies, and ultimately, reduce operational costs and technical debt – empowering engineers to build a better application with a better starting point.

Deliver high-quality software at speed and scale

Modern software teams rely on open source to build increasingly complex software. At the same time, developers and end users want better online experiences. Open source solutions often enable complex software creation that helps the digital world run with more simplicity and speed.

Ultimately, open source’s strengths are founded in the ability and scale of the development community and the commonality of open source standards, which allow more developers to understand and participate in the ecosystem.

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