My dad always told me, “You don’t need to buy support; it’s easier and less expensive to fix it yourself.”
So, being a good daughter, I listened and rarely did. The exception was when I bought my Peloton bike. Peloton, if you don’t know, is a global interactive fitness platform that makes amazing spin bikes. They also have a huge online community of close to 200K members, willing to support and answer any question you might have. I also have a road bike and yes I am pretty handy with a set of Allen wrenches. So, why did I purchase support? The answer, of course, is that I didn’t want any downtime from my new shiny toy. If I had a problem, I wanted to make sure that I would get the right answer at the right time with the right professionals who knew the product.
The Case for Support
I think about this a lot when I think about open source and, in particular, what we call enterprise open source. Sure the source code is free, readily available and is supported by a huge community, but eventually, something will break. And do you want to hinge your business-critical systems on “the community?” Can your business afford the downtime, while your staff searches for answers? This is the subject of a newly released paper from IDC, “Open Source Software: Choosing Between Community-Supported and Commercially Supported Products.”
The authors of the paper, Al Gillum and Susan Middleton, dive into the differences between community-supported and commercially-supported open source software and when to consider using each. They provide use cases for both scenarios and help rationalize the benefits and challenges of each.
3 Reasons for Commercially Supported Open Source
While there are many more than three reasons why you might a commercial, or enterprise, version of open source, here are my top three:
The predictable life cycle of the product. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has a life cycle of up to 13 years with SUSE taking the responsible to ensure the product is as safe, secure and reliable as possible.
A pool of deep expertise. SUSE Support engineers have an average tenure of more than a decade. And more than 90% of our customers are satisfied or very satisfied with their support; 2/3rd giving their specific engineer a 5-star rating
Security and hardening of software. SUSE software includes many features, such as authentication methods, encryption, intrusion prevention and detection, and backup. SUSE reacts promptly to security incidents and delivers premium quality security patches during each products general support period.
The benefits of commercially supported software all lean toward improving the experience of the organization and of individual employees inside the organization and reducing potential risks associated with outages through proactive maintenance.
Backed by Support? Or Not?
When it comes to getting support for your software, only you can make the right decision for your business. You might want to ask yourself these questions:
- What is the true cost of downtime to your business?
- Do you have the in house expertise necessary to maintain and patch your systems?
- Will you be able to comply with your industry regulatory requirements?
Ultimately, what do you want your high value IT staff working on? Maintenance and support or business value applications that benefit the entire organization?
The decision is yours. I encourage you to learn the benefits and challenges of community-supported by downloading the IDC paper.
Backed by SUSE Support, means your business has a relationship with a SUSE team that provides you with business value and customer satisfaction. Learn more about what being backed by SUSE Support means to your company.