July 22, 2008
OpenLogic Releases Survey on Enterprise Open Source Support
OpenLogic, Inc., a provider of enterprise open source software solutions encompassing hundreds of open source packages, today announced the results of a survey of corporate open source users regarding open source support.
The survey was conducted in June 2008 of 123 enterprise users of open source software. Half of the respondents came from organizations with more than 1,000 employees (upon request, OpenLogic can filter results of survey by organization size). Respondents included systems and application architects, IT executives and managers and developers from a wide range of organizations.
OpenLogic's research found that enterprise users of open source software have been accustomed to getting their support directly from the open source community or from their own internal support resources. However, a majority of respondents from larger enterprises saw having a support vendor as important. Additionally, although the most common support resources used were internal resources and open source mailing lists, a minority of respondents use commercial open source vendors. Many respondents also felt that open source support was harder to obtain.
When comparing open source support to support for traditional, non-open source software, the vast majority of respondents reported that open source support was of equal or better quality. Support issues for open source were more frequently about configuration, integration and performance than about software defects.
"As enterprises increase their open source adoption -- they have to address how they support that software," said Kim Weins, senior vice president of product and marketing at OpenLogic. "The sample size of our survey is small but reflects exactly what we've been seeing in the marketplace for years as we've built out OpenLogic's support offering that leverages a diversified set of resources, including internal experts, leading OSS developers and OSS support vendor partners. Vendors looking to sell OSS support need to provide value to enterprises that goes above and beyond what they get today from the community and internal resources. At OpenLogic, we increase the value of support by providing aggregated support that helps customers with their complex, multi-source environments."
Among the findings of the survey:
-- Most open source support questions are not about software defects: More respondents needed help "often" or "very often" with configuration (27.9%), integration (27.9%) or performance (26%) issues, than for software defects (22%)
"These results align with our experience providing support for over 400 open source projects. On the average, only 5% of support questions from OpenLogic customers are related to a defect in open source software. Most commonly, enterprises need help in troubleshooting issues around integrating multiple open source products with proprietary commercial solutions and code developed in-house. This reflects the mixed-source reality of applications developed by enterprises today," Weins said.
-- Enterprises use internal support or community support most often, and report trouble finding open source support: Respondents "often" or "very often" turned to internal support resources (56% of respondents), internal developers (52.2% of respondents) and community resources (54.8% of respondents). Enterprises accessed external OSS vendors (10.4% of respondents) and IT consultants (10.3% of respondents) much less frequently. In addition, a majority over half of respondents report difficulty in finding OSS support "sometimes,""often" or "always," which may explain the lower usage of vendors to resolve issues.
"We believe this reflects the role of internal resources as the first line of support as well as the historical availability of commercial open source support. For the vast majority of open source projects, there has only been community support available. For example, less than 10% of the 400 open source projects supported by OpenLogic's have any other commercial entity supporting the project," Weins said.
-- Larger enterprises see OSS vendor support as more important: Over 50% of respondents in mid-size and large companies (1000 employees or more), see an open source vendor as "very important" or "required." In comparison, only 39% of respondents across all company sizes felt that vendor support was "required" or "very important."
"As open source software makes its way into mission-critical applications, large and mid-size enterprises we work with are placing increasing importance on SLA support. In addition, there are now more commercial support options available for companies to choose from," Weins said.
-- Enterprises report highest satisfaction with support from internal resources: More than half of the respondents were "satisfied" or "extremely satisfied" getting support from either internal developers within their own company (60.8%); other internal support resources (58.6%); or open source project mailing lists and message boards (49.1%). Commercial open source support followed with 38% reporting being satisfied. Respondents also report internal resources as being the quickest to resolve issues.
"High satisfaction with internal resources reflects the fact that these employees have an intimate understanding of complex, multi-source applications that have been developed by enterprises and also the speed with which internal resources respond. However, we believe this also indicates the need for OSS support vendors to deliver high quality, fast turnaround support," Weins said.
-- OSS Support is harder to find: More than half of the respondents felt that open source software is about the same (26.1%) or harder (37.4%) to obtain than commercial proprietary software support. -- OSS software is high quality: Users felt that the quality of open source software is the same (43.5% of respondents) or better (35.7%) than proprietary software.
OpenLogic is a leading provider of open source solutions that enable enterprises to safely acquire, support, and control open source software. OpenLogic provides enterprises with a certified library of open source software that encompasses hundreds of the most popular open source packages via OpenLogic Exchange (OLEX), a free web site where companies can find, research, and download certified, enterprise-ready open source packages on demand. With the broadest open source coverage in the industry, OpenLogic offers indemnification; updates; and enterprise-grade technical support backed by the OpenLogic Expert Community. OpenLogic also provides solutions for open source governance and to automate the integration and deployment of open source components -- reducing the risk and maximizing the cost savings associated with using open source software. For more on OpenLogic, go to www.openlogic.com.
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SOURCE: OpenLogic, Inc.