Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Open source is mission critical to Web services

According to a new report produced by Forrester Research for Unisys, some industry observers are now saying there's enough business benefit derived from open source to use it for Web services and applications that are critical to today's business needs in key areas such as driving revenue and enhancing customer service.
The overall majority of respondents to the study, based on interviews with nearly 500 IT decision makers, including senior executives, also are using open source for mission-critical applications, but showed some concerns about the availability of Web services to unlock the full value of open source applications.
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Over 50 percent of the respondents – 58 percent in North America and 51 percent in the U.K. and Continental Europe – stated that they now use open source software for mission-critical applications utilized in Web services.

About 80.2 percent report using open source in the application infrastructure – databases, Web servers and application servers – which provides the underpinning for both routine and mission-critical applications. Such a widespread infrastructural utilizations indicates a strong potential for expansion of the number of mission-critical applications as open source proves its value to those enterprises.

Anthony Gold, vice president and GM, Open Source Business at Unisys says “Forrester's research clearly shows that enterprise decision makers are giving at least equal weight to value as well as cost savings in adopting open source software for a range of application requirements.”

Gold added “executives today are increasingly recognizing that open source solutions can help them save money and, more importantly, also assist their companies realize some major economic and operational benefits – improved efficiency of IT supporting the business, greater innovation, improved time to market and enhanced competitive advantage in the Web services segment.”

Overall, a large majority of the respondents also saw open source software as a major vehicle for key IT initiatives such as modernizing their enterprise application environments. Seventy-one percent viewed it as important or very important for consolidating IT infrastructure.
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In addition, 57 percent of the respondents characterized open source as important or very important for facilitating the migration to a SOA (Service Oriented Architecture). SOA can permit those enterprises both to deploy new generations of applications more efficiently and integrate new Web services with those provided by legacy applications, helping to preserve the value of their long-term investment in IT.

Open source software’s support for open standards – noted as a key attribute by 78 percent of the respondents – was a major factor driving their view of its value for SOA next-generation enterprise architectures, according to Forrester.

About 74 percent of the respondents to the survey expressed concern about the availability of consulting, integration, support and other services for open source software. Unisys believes that that range of services is most likely to be available from a larger service provider with greater proficiency in delivering enterprise solutions, rather than from smaller providers lacking the capabilities and credentials to provide extensive services.

About 68.5 percent of the respondents expected the following services from their open source service provider:

# Open source software maintenance
# Life cycle support
# Consulting services
# Integration of open source components
# Integration of open source software
# Open source application development

Gold said “the Forrester Consulting study demonstrates that the psychological barriers to enterprise adoption of open source software are falling. As a pioneer in the open source movement, Unisys is committed to delivering the consulting and integration services that close the confidence gap and give enterprise decision makers the impetus to make open source solutions a key part of the IT architecture supporting their strategic business objectives.”