Open source technology thrives during times of mass disruption, and this pandemic has been no different. Across the board, companies are accelerating their digital transformation and DevOps strategies, looking to open source technology as a way to streamline operations. While deploying open source software (OSS) in DevOps can help organizations lower costs and avoid vendor lock-in, the tools are often not backed by an ecosystem that makes them transferable across the enterprise, leading to interoperability issues across the board and creating a haphazard workflow.
Before embarking on an open source migration, companies need to plan out their strategy. Following these five steps will help companies create an organized plan and a seamless open source stack so that they can capitalize on the lower costs and tap into the benefits of the open source community.
Determine if you Can Self-Support Your Strategy
A recent Gartner study determined that at least 75% of open source policies don’t yield effective results. This stat is largely due to companies believing that they can self-support their open source stack. However, as technology becomes increasingly complicated, companies should take a step back and evaluate if they actually have the right resources and skill sets to get the job done. Enterprise architects with open source expertise are a niche group that’s in high demand, so don’t worry if you don’t have the resources – there are plenty of trusted vendors out there who have a proven track record of delivering results.
Fewer vendors equal fewer problems. When evaluating potential partners, keep in mind that working with a few key partners (versus several) will be beneficial in the long run by ensuring that applications will work together seamlessly, while also avoiding vendor finger-pointing if they don’t. Assess potential partners to see which packages, application stacks and infrastructure they support, and what level of freedom you have to switch out various components. Avoiding vendor lock-in is key, as switching vendors will be a costly undertaking if you ultimately decide to go in another direction.
Invest in Security
Security is a major concern in enterprise open source software, and it’s critical to make sure you have the ability to act quickly on potential issues and vulnerabilities. Consider partnering with a vendor who specializes in OSS security, and can keep clients informed of the latest security updates and bug fixes to ensure that your program isn’t vulnerable to security threats. Having a security specialist on standby is a must-have for organizations so that when security is breached, it can be remediated immediately.
Pick the Right Tools
Not all tools are alike. There are plenty of options out there that can help elevate your open source strategy, but consider how each will affect your overall program. At each phase of your pipeline, test the open source tools selected to ensure that they can integrate together within the broader toolchain and every layer of your software stack, including databases, platforms and monitoring solutions. If you have questions about their connectivity, either consult with an expert who understands how the software will truly behave in various environments or engage with free apps that help developers determine if their tools are compatible across the broader stack. Doing so will help enterprises choose the right open source technology early on, saving both time and money.
Open source implementation in DevOps is more than a one and done approach; it requires adapting and tweaking in order to stay relevant, keep a competitive advantage and optimize new technology. Ensure that your open source strategy can be improved to include new offerings and services that the company will implement down the road and that your vendors—or internal team—can modify the framework fairly easily when necessary.
While open source technology continues to drive innovation in the DevOps industry, including it in a company’s DevOps strategy requires thoughtful planning. When done right, an open source policy will save a company time, money and people power, allowing them to collaborate seamlessly with the greatest minds in the industry.