Service providers have the opportunity to more rapidly tap into open source advantages than their counterparts in the IT world, learning from earlier mistakes and leveraging technological advances. Yet despite strides in what open source can do, several misconceptions continue to blend with the truth when it comes to recognizing the benefits (and challenges) associated with this methodology.
First, though, it's important to define what open source is, says Roz Roseboro, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaking during an August Upskill U course, "Using Open Source for Data Centers and Cloud Services."
"The way I see it, open source is a methodology for developing software, whereby multiple people write and contribute code to a central repository that can be accessed by anyone," she says. "The best open source projects are governed by a group that effectively manages input from various factions with an eye to ensuring all voices are equal and code is developed to the benefit of everyone."
The methodology is critical to telecom: 95% of all companies will use open source by next year, according to Protecode. Within telecom specifically, 93% of those surveyed believe OPNFV is "essential or important" to the industry, according to a global study conducted by Heavy Reading for the OPNFV Project this summer.
Despite overwhelming votes of confidence in this non-proprietary approach, people often misunderstand open source -- and its many benefits. Here is a look at some impacts the methodology can have on service providers and their customers.
One Pro: Since they can leverage up to 80% of software's foundation, service providers' software experts spend their time focusing on the 20% of code that differentiates or integrates applications. With no need to continually reinvent the software wheel, operators can more rapidly release new applications and updates.
One Con: Service providers should adopt agile methodologies and DevOps to maximize open source's acceleration abilities. Existing staff may not have these skills, requiring CSPs to train current employees or recruit these already hard-to-find professionals.