Towards Open Source, OSS and LAMP

August 7, 2009 by Leave a comment 

With the increased focus on cost savings, the usage of open-source platforms like LAMP comes into mind. In addition to cost savings, IT trends and external factors are pushing enterprises towards Open Source Systems (OSS).

Below is my conservative view on switching from Closed Source Systems (CSS) to OSS. Some more details you can read in my following LAMP related posts ragarding Oracle database on Linux and comparison of Oracle and My SQL databases.

First of all I’d like to mention that moving towards OSS is a serious topic which challenges enterprises making strategic decisions. This decision should not be made based on the fact that the others are making the change to OSS, but rather for valid reasons that make sense for your company.

Some say: “Open Source sounds scary!” I would say: “Not the products themselves but the usual “strategic decision” approach used. Before making this type of decision, a thorough evaluation, and analysis should be done by IT experts. This evaluation should not be done based on LAMP, WAMP or any other fancy Open Source stack but rather – a product by product approach.

Open Source products are NOT free.

We have to clarify here as “Open Source” term is often used as “free of charge” which is partly true. It costs money unless we are talking about your personal Website on your laptop. Look for example into Linux, MySQL distributions – they cost money for sure. Furthermore looking into that IT trend I think the more Open Source grows and improves compared to CSS the faster the price difference between those reduces. For example HP licensed in the past any small extra HP-UX OS option. Now the price on OS is less + most of the extra options are for free. At the same time HP provides 24×7 Linux support and I guess its cost would rise with growing number of customers. So, this is about making money…

If you look into the history of Open Source, most of software is for ages offered but only last few years they started really pushing commercial market. And WHY?! Because same companies like Oracle, Sun, etc. wanted to make money in this segment. They invested in Open Source, improved it and now happily sell it.

What is the goal of using “Open Source”?

If cost savings, you have to evaluate investments and earned value on implementation and maintenance of LAMP in parallel looking into other cost savings in your existing IT infrastructure. Maybe adding 10 more new application databases into your existing Oracle or MSSQL DB servers would not cost you more as IT infrastructure is there. To build a brand new MySQL Enterprise Server you would probably need HW, OS, monitoring, backup, etc, training, on-call if required, time to test, implement all of this.

Quality of Open Source products compare to CSS.

Again it should be evaluated case by case, product by product and I would not waste time evaluating a piece of Open Source which is not commercialized, meaning no 24×7 support from a solid software vendor. If you are out of support who would fix your bug or strange exception – Google? Who notifies and provides a security patch for your software, etc… Technically I think the main difference of Open Source would be less stability and slower problem resolution which is the main factor for mission-critical applications. Commercial software is tested a lot with different load cases, platforms, scenarios. Open Source can not afford that.

I will continue review LAMP stack, Open Source, OSS in my next posts…

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