Feeds

Survey: FOSS biz fans aching for 'enterprise-class' support

6 in 10 suits would even pay for it

High performance access to file storage

The absence of enterprise-grade support for free and open-source software (FOSS) is the single biggest pain point for business customers who are using it.

That’s according to a survey by data-centre automation company Univa, which found 64 per cent of respondents were prepared to pay for supported open-source software.

The survey found 76 per cent of customers are using FOSS while 75 per cent have experienced a problem using it. Univa’s poll drew on responses from 128 companies.

According to the survey, the biggest single problem businesses are encountering with FOSS is a lack of stability – applications crashing or not working properly. Twenty-five per cent gave "stability" as the biggest reason to “pay for better quality". Also on the list was ease of use, extra functionality and bug reports and fixes.

Univa CEO Gary Tyreman said in a statement: “We have always said that users are willing to pay for quality when it comes to open source software, and the results of the survey have confirmed as such.”

Naturally Univa has an angle: its Univa Grid Engine is a commercially supported implementation of the open-source Grid Engine batch-queuing system for distributed resource management (based on the old Sun Microsystems Grid Engine). In December 2010, Oracle – Sun's new owner – put the Grid Engine code on SourceForge and passed responsibility over to the Open Grid Scheduler project. Univa wants to shepherd users of Grid Engine over to its paid-for product.

That said, the lack of a vendor standing behind most open source products has been a long-standing issue. Ironically, the absence of the kinds of support you'd get from companies like Microsoft does not seem to have been a barrier to the use of FOSS in business.

Some companies have tried to spin up stand-alone FOSS support, but we can think of few who have succeeded in the market. SpikeSource made much of providing tested and supported integrations of Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl/PHP/Python, but the company struggled and its assets were eventually swallowed by Black Duck.

What does seem to have worked is when the distributors of open-source code have supported their own work. For example, today, we have Linux companies maintaining their Linux distros: MySQL is supported by Oracle, and PHP is supported through a packaged distro from Zend - which was co-founded by PHP core contributors.

In other cases, customers have preferred to leave the problem of support to their own in-house techies, enjoying the openness and freedom of the APIs but allowing many of the details to fall through the cracks.

However, this still leaves a gap in the market for corporate types to start flogging support for other FOSS projects that nobody really claims – for example Apache - which are popular and sometimes supported by non-profit corporations, but which do not have any links with a commercial company. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.