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Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Open Source Software (2017) explains how IT leaders must understand, manage and direct how and where open source will play a role in IT roadmaps in order to maximize the business value and minimize the risks associated with these technologies

The cost of ownership of open-source versus third-party proprietary solutions will always be important factor. But this year’s study highlights the shift to innovation as the dominant incentive for Open Source adoption. Verticals like the DevOps toolchain and machine learning do not differentiate between an OSS version and a non-OSS version. The study finds that many companies choose to start new projects with OSS as a critical element; in other words, they would not exist at all if not for OSS innovations.

Exciting Open Source projects this year

DevOps Tool Chain: The DevOps toolchain typically consists of seven main activities: plan, create, verify, preproduction, release, configure and monitor. The industry does not yet have a platform that can address the entire cycle. The individual components are still at different states of maturity and adoption and often culture and practice adoption are lagging.

Open Source (Focus Android): Until recently, the automotive industry has been at odds with using mobile device frameworks for their in-vehicle experiences. However, with Audi adopting Android for its new A8, the industry is realizing the benefits of adopting the open source Android as core system architecture for in-vehicle experiences.

Micro Operating Systems
Extremely small and lightweight, these micro OS’s are intended for rapid deployment and horizontal scaling. Because micro OSs are essentially simplified subsets of mature OSs, they should mature relatively quickly, and their use will grow rapidly, as container technologies are adopted.

Open Source Storage
Open-source storage is playing an important role in enabling cost-effective, scalable platforms for new cloud and big data workloads. Recent innovations in x86 hardware and flash, combined with an open-source ecosystem, are making open-source storage attractive for cloud and big data workloads and as a potential alternative to proprietary storage.

How to pick the right Open Source application for your IT infrastructure?

Security: Pick products that have a history of regular security updates and bug fixes. Look for a bill of materials, and if necessary – scan the available source code with a tool like Flexera’s Code Insight.

Compliance: Be aware of the open source license the application is licensed under. Be ready to respect the obligations and the ecosystem the software comes from. For example, if you integrate a GPL licensed component into your infrastructure, you may be obligated to release any of your linked products or changes/modifications under the GPL license.

Longevity: When was the open source project you want to use last updated? Look for projects that have recent updates – this tells you that the community continues to invest time in innovating and updating the project. Research and pick a product that is being actively developed and used.