Putting Open Source to Work in Custom Enterprise Software Development
Delivering ROI with Open Source
At QAT Global, we put the philosophy and economical approach of leveraging open source frameworks, technology platforms, languages, standards, and databases and customizing open source software to meet our clients’ needs into practice. Throughout our years of diverse client experience, open source software has provided excellent functionality and flexibility, at little or no cost, enabling enterprise and startup businesses to gain a competitive edge and foster innovation. Today, it plays a critical role in nearly every organization from operating systems to communications to productivity applications.
What is Open Source?
Open source licensing allows for the free distribution of the source code and compiled version of software. It also contains provisions that allow for derivative works to be created, makes sure other software made with it are not restricted and prohibits discrimination against persons, groups, and fields of endeavor. Basically, this means that the software that can, with the consent of its creators, be distributed and modified as desired. The essential characteristic is that its source code is published “openly” for review and use for anyone who would like to see the code, copy it, alter it, learn from it, or share it. This is a very different from most commercial solutions where the source code tends to be highly confidential and protected.
One reason people prefer software and other technologies with this type of licensing is that it gives developers, outside of the original creator, the ability to change, modify, update, and improve a software’s key features and functionality so that it works exactly as desired. These types of customizations are usually prohibited by the creators of proprietary or “closed source” software, making it challenging to customize.
Organization of all kinds are moving to the latest Agile development practices in response to needing to process large volumes of data from their online and mobile applications. These Agile development practices result in code releases happening every few weeks instead of months and years, making open source an even more appealing option as it allows developers to get a MVP into testing and production faster and at substantially less cost. The result is a shorter time to market at a lower cost, making the use of open source software widespread across the Web, cloud, containers, enterprise apps, mobile apps, and the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, an analysis from Black Duck, an open source security firm, revealed that open source code makes up nearly 30 percent of the average commercial software application; a figure that is often even higher for in-house applications.
How We’re Using Open Source
We are committed to capitalizing on the strategic, technological, and financial benefits of it for our clients.
QAT Global has extensive experience in the design, creation, and integration of custom software applications and business solutions that utilize open source software, languages, platforms, frameworks, databases, and other technologies. As cloud computing, big data, and IoT demands continue to grow, our use of it will follow in order to deliver the robust, scalable, secure solutions clients need quickly. While we do not exclusively use open source, it typically plays a significant role in our development processes as it allows us to maximize value for clients. For large projects, open source combined with Agile makes it possible to break tasks into manageable independent sections allowing for greater agility and the efficient use of resources. This improves both the quality of the end product and the speed of release. Much of our use of such open source is around the integration of individual open source components into larger, fully integrated, enterprise-level solutions.
The use of open source is not the answer for everything. It does, however, typically offer multiple ways to solve problems and the strategic use of it can provide significant advantages for clients and support technology agility. Developments in this area are frequent, continuously creating new flexible and agile options for clients. Before any new open source software or technology is added to our technology stack, we spend a significant amount of time testing it to ensure it delivers the enterprise-level quality our clients expect.
Our approach to the use of open source technologies, combined with our expertise in leading platforms, frameworks, languages, software, databases, and standard is one of our biggest strengths. As you review our case studies, you can see examples of our expertise in this area.
A Sampling from Our Open Source Technology Stack
These are some of the advantages clients enjoy from including open source components in their solutions.
- Compatibility – Any issues with the technology working well with other popular tools, software, hardware, and other technologies tends to be readily available from the large user base. This information ensures ease of integration, testing, and maintenance.
- Documentation – Open source solutions are often supported by large developer communities and typically include thorough, free, living documentation to aid developers working with the technology.
- Flexibility and Agility – Open source options potentially allow for greater customization to the unique needs and interests of an organization, helping keep you from getting blocked because a particular capability isn’t available from your vendor. With open source, your development team can create the custom functionality your need instead of waiting for the vendor to deliver it someday. You can also quickly and freely test out solution options without jumping through the pilot project negotiations required with proprietary products.
- Quality – Many open source solutions offer a better feature set to start with than their commercial counterparts and are developed with interoperability in mind, and so they can be assimilated more easily into most clients’ broader infrastructures. Plus, many open source products have been tested and hardened by a global user community, and offer greater stability and security than commercial offerings.
- Security – The responsiveness of the open source community and vendors regarding information security problems is excellent. In addition, the very fact that many diverse developers have been looking at the code for potentially decades helps ensure potential problems are quickly identified and fixed as they became apparent, rather than having the code sit virtually untouched in a proprietary environment.
- Stability – Active development communities have an interest in seeing their tools evolve to meet emerging needs making open source options well suited to longer-term operations, whereas the development path of commercial software is subject to the interests of a single company.
- Total Cost of Ownership – The use of open source typically results in a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) since a great deal of it is free eliminating the initial software purchase costs and/or long-term licensing fees.
- User Base and Support Community – You have full visibility into how large the active user base is, who is involved with product development and support, and readily available insights into any enterprise issues, such as security and interoperability.
Isn’t it time to leverage theses advantages for your organization?
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