Legacies, immature clouds and the benefits of open source

Thank you to @wood5y for bringing to our attention an excellent article on an Australian IT news website. It looks at a study conducted by British academic Professor Jim Norton, of the University of Sheffield, into why CIOs looking to replace legacy systems should be taking a serious look at the benefits of Open Source Software.

Under the headline More to be gained from open systems than an immature cloud, article author award-winning Brett Winterford takes a look at Professor Norton’s findings, which come out of a study commissioned by “travel industry processing giant Amadeus” to look into the role of open source software in critical transaction systems.

Specifically, the study was commissioned to look at the benefits of open source for travel industries on the verge of updating legacy systems:

Inevitably, CIOs at these organisations will need to choose between upgrades, outsourcing or adoption of cloud services.

In most cases, Norton argues that re-engineering internal IT using open source software is the more sensible outcome.

We could quote great chunks of the article which explains so well why open source is effective and often cheaper, but we’ll control ourselves. However, Professor Norton’s remarks about the new generation of software developers is worth presenting:

Open source is also preferred by the next generation of tech talent, he argues.

“The skilled, motivated staff that grew up with the internet don’t want to work with closed, old fashioned systems,” he said.

His comments about the big hair systems that rely for critical functions on open source also bear repeating to dispel any lingering notion that open source is held together with fish glue and beard clippings:

Norton has previously advised the UK Government that the reliability and security of open systems were “at least as good as proprietary systems”.

There are plenty of examples, he noted, of critical infrastructure relying on open source; the London Stock Exchange, Google’s search engine (and tellingly, its rival Microsoft Bing), and many Defence applications are among them.

Amadeus itself has transferred critical functions to Linux and employs other commonly used open source tools such as Apache, Tomcat, Eclipse and SugarCRM. Professor Norton feels that this route is preferable to racing into the “immature” public cloud, which in his opinion is outpacing the business technologies needed for complete interoperability and robust security auditing. His recommendation is internal deployment of open source. If you’re interested in finding out how that could be applied to your company, please get in touch with us.

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