Open Source vs Propriety Technology for Critical Businesses

This is very hot topic on forums and very key decision for individuals to large scale companies. Before going into deep discussion, following are general consideration for any specific company. Let’s suppose we  have a company with 100 employees. Company have to decide IT roadmap. So let’s start it

System: Company need a financials, HR and supply chain systems with complete online portal.

Development: At the startup, open source always and almost free. You just have to hire concern resources and start the development. If you go for propriety technology for development  like Oracle/IBM/MS/SAP, it will cost in initial software licenses. Experienced resources on propriety technology are also costly at this stage. At is the stage open source is best option and propriety technology seems hell of investment.

Software Infrastructure upgrades: As technology and business requirements in market are changing rapidly. Within six months, you encounter new requirements and new technology challenges. That is the stage where you will face some problems in open source but with different workarounds, you can fix the challenges.

Security: As almost all business in world are now operating online on web and mobile devices. So security is the main concern. This is stage where you will start to encounter problem in open source developed solution. You will come to know that all your developer are basically business logic develop and have very less idea about security and systems threats evolving in market. Now you start to search more experienced resources and support for your open source project and realized that these resources are very expensive. You hire or made agreement with them for current application but there is still no guarantee that they have done their job successfully.

Performance: As number of users and functions start to go live, you will start to face problem in system. Again to resolve those problems, either you have to hire more expensive open source professionals or increase infrastructure.

High Availability & Disaster Recovery : This is one of the most important requirements to provide 100% uptime and safe digital data asset for any unpredictable disaster. At this requirements, open-source technology  seems helpless. All IT infrastructure are in increasing in all dimensions, and clustering become ultimate requirements. Propriety technologies provide complete solution at this stage.

Resources: Experienced resources in open source technology is always very costly than propriety technology due to limited availability in market. Whereas propriety technology resources are easily available in market.

Technology Roadmap: Propriety technology principal like IBM/Oracle/SAP always provide 20 to 25 years of technology roadmap for their products with complete upgrade option with respect to technology and business requirements. Whereas open source technology have  number of limitation. So always plan business critical application on propriety technology to avoid any risk.

 Conclusion: Open source technologies are basically developed to fulfill specific requirements with the help of respected communities. All these communities work independently. Propriety Technologies  are combination of different technologies derived from open source and tailored in proper way to provide the maximum option to end customer. It is now responsibility of principal to maintain the mixture of technologies and updated it as per requirements. Open source technologies are best for small scale and short life time applications generally information level websites. But for longtime and mission critical application systems, propriety technology is best choice. It will cost for initial licensing but later on  it will work smoothly without issues like open-source.

 Carrier: Since propriety technologies have longer product life, so the carrier in this technology are also longer than open source.

Vendors roadmap: we observed many organization/service vendors, who adopt open source platform for development due to less initial cost. They also achieved number of projects rapidly, but later on when they encounter by the upper mentioned issues, they start to lost business and disappeared in market. Their customer left behind helpless.  On the other hand organizations working on propriety technology are still going live after number of years.


Rizwan Islam