Most of us know and use open source software (OSS) for its numerous benefits – cost savings, flexibility, freedom, security and accountability. Moreover, OSS has long-term viability, as it’s created and supported by a world-wide community of organizers and developers.
It’s easy to see why Open Source is highly appealing. However, OSS has been said to be “’free’ as in kittens.” The major pains of supporting Open Source Software is that it requires constant upkeep: maintenance, configuration and on-going support.
With the shift to OSS, several new challenges have presented themselves to our clients with regards to supporting open source software. Our maintenance team has categorized pain points into three areas and outlined methods to overcome open source software support concerns.
Managing multiple OSS providers.
This is a common pain point if you use and self-manage several different types of open source software. We like to think of this as the “DIY downside” of OSS. Having to regularly check compliance, version updates, community news and maintenance suggestions for multiple software packages can quickly become complex and overwhelming.
How do you overcome this?
Partner with a support service provider that has a similar OSS support platform as your hardware stack. Look for service features such as the ability to:
- Assist with problem and resolution determination for a wide range of OSS
- Provide Level 1 and 2 support, 7×24
- Feature one phone number to call for all OSS types
- Have one contract for all OSS needs
Hiring specific OSS consultants.
For most companies, hiring a specific consultant to support each OSS is simply too expensive.
How do you overcome this?
Don’t take on additional staff to support each OSS. You can benefit from an OSS support partner’s expertise in a wide range of packages, specific project knowledge and usually, save money in the process. Additionally, a proficient IT asset management partner should be able to provide consultative support for the environment around the OSS package.
Relying on communities and forums for supporting Open Source Software.
Community support is one of the awesome benefits of OSS. However, mining through support communities for an answer while a system outage is going on is not fun. Even when you aren’t in crunch-mode, spending valuable time looking through support communities is time consuming and can lead down rabbit holes.
How do you overcome this?
Treat your open source software like you treat the rest of your enterprise technology environment by having around the clock support in place. By partnering with a world-class support team, you should have guaranteed service level agreements that help create an “always on” environment. This translates into reduced downtime and helps save money.
VSS and IBM have adapted an award winning Multi-Vendor Portfolio Management and Maintenance Service Model to now provide end-to-end enterprise class support for your ecosystem – including Open Source Software.
Take advantage of World Class support with one, single source provider, guaranteed service level agreements and competitive pricing.
When hardware goes down, nothing is more infuriating than leading multiple vendors through a round of the blame game!
Now, let’s have a moment of silence for all the valuable minutes lost chasing manufacturer contacts down.
The new year lets us shine a light on how we approach support IT asset maintenance. From simple break-fix support to concise managed service capabilities, having the right technical team in place can not only reduce overall costs, but facilitate a positive return on investment and performance results on your networking, software, storage and systems.
Other IT professionals are thinking big picture when it comes to technical support. Have you considered how these stats might affect your organization?
- Bigger Business Stakes. As tech’s reach grows, so does the scale of its impact.
- The average annual cost of downtime to organizations can be up to 16 million USD.
- Gartner forecasts that connected things worldwide will reach 20.8B by 2020, creating a vast network of vulnerabilities.
More people and devices are connected than ever before, meaning IT is more involved throughout your business. This increased interconnectedness means that even a small incident can lead to significant downtime and costs. Conversely, preventing these incidents can give your organization a competitive edge.
- More Diverse Change to Manage. Get a handle on it now.
- Over the next three years, 86 percent of IT and business executives expect the pace of technology change to increase rapidly or at an unprecedented rate.
- By 2017, more than 50 percent of organizations’ IT spending will be for third-platform technologies, solutions and services.
Whether you’re updating aging infrastructure, adopting mobile and cognitive solutions, or expanding your business into new marketplace segments because of mergers or acquisitions, change isn’t easy—especially with limited capital budgets. You need quality support to help navigate change without disruption in a heterogeneous IT environment.
- Broader Support Options. Remember to KISS, things don’t have to get more complex.
- Nine out of ten IT professionals have current or planned technical support contracts for three or more devices, resulting in support across their infrastructure.
- Over half of IT professionals are using six or more vendors to support multiple devices, adding new complexity to their support.
Wrangling multiple warranty and maintenance service providers is hard work and can increase risk. These challenges become even more difficult to manage while trying to address new technology needs, manage costs and bridge the talent gap in your organization. Add it all together, and, suddenly, your time and support seem alarmingly slim.
Portfolio management and maintenance can be a bear for IT leaders. What are your biggest technical support hurdles? Share with us in the comments.
 1 Veeam, 2016 Veeam Availability Report: How to Close a Widening Availability Gap, February 2016.
 Gartner, “Gartner Says 6.4 Billion Connected ‘Things’ Will Be in Use in 2016, Up 30 Percent from 2015,” press release, November, 2015.
 Accenture, Accenture Technology Vision 2016—People First: The Primacy of People in a Digital Age, August 2016.
 IDC, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2016 Predictions—Leading Digital Transformation to Scale, Document No. 259850, November 2015.
 IBM, Technical Support Services Thought Leadership Study, August 2016.