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Overcoming the Pains of Supporting Open Source Software

October 5, 2017

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.

Supporting Open Source Software

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.

Contact our maintenance services team to talk about open source software.

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Tiffany Whitmore

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