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Red Hat’s fourth annual The State of Enterprise Open Source report highlights how organizations have adapted to new open source tools and technologies, whether due to external events, or through proactive choice in selecting methods and implementations which can provide competitive advantage.

Presenting an unbiased view of the use of enterprise open source, the overall report incorporates data from interviews with 1,296 IT leaders from 14 different countries who were not aware that Red Hat was the sponsor of the survey. Respondents were selected based on their influence on purchasing decisions within their organizations in terms of app development, app infrastructure, cloud, storage, middleware, server OS, or virtualization. Respondents also needed to be familiar with enterprise open source, and have Linux installed on at least one percent of the systems at their organizations.

The report confirmed that developments originating from open source communities were—and remain—especially well-prepared to accommodate the need for agile and secure solutions at present and in the future. Since technology decisions impact organizational responsiveness and innovation immediately and into the long term, the flexibility and selection of open source is no longer an “if” but a “when and how”—applicable for both legacy and yet to be realized configurations. This is reinforced by the finding that 95% of respondents say that enterprise open source is important to their organization’s overall infrastructure.  

Highlights from the report within the telecommunications industry

Perhaps there is no industry which has transformed—and continues to evolve—as quickly as the telecommunications sector. An examination of the responses from this highly competitive industry revealed some interesting findings about the value of open source implementations.  Relentless competition, the paramount need for flexibility and adaptability, and the ability to support legacy systems while remaining forward-looking are just a few of the challenges which telecommunications service providers face.

When queried about the top uses of enterprise open source, telco leaders cited the following, with IT infrastructure modernization efforts leading the way at 65%. In addition to replacing proprietary software with open source tools, newer usage categories are also present, including application modernization and application integration, each at 54%. Finally, using open source tools for hybrid and multi-cloud management follows closely behind at 50%.

Top uses of enterprise open source.

As a direct reaction to the immediate challenges associated with an altered operational environment during the pandemic, 98% of IT leaders in the telecommunications industry overwhelmingly endorsed enterprise open source solutions when flexibility and innovation were needed most.

98% of IT leaders in the telecommunications industry overwhelmingly endorsed enterprise open source solutions

The use of enterprise open source in the telco industry is widespread, and those asked to specify the distinct advantages behind its deployment revealed the following, in particular highlighting enterprise open source tools’ flexibility (84%) and ability to simplify new infrastructure configurations (91%).

Advantages of enterprise open source software

Further findings within the telecommunications sector

Here are some of the other insights we gleaned from IT leaders in the telecommunications industry.

Enterprise open source continues to gain at the expense of proprietary software

Proprietary software as a percentage of the software already in use in respondents’ organizations continues to show a marked decline, with a further expected drop of five points over the next two years. Directly benefiting from this migration is software in the enterprise open source category, climbing one point, with community-based open source also increasing three points over the same period.

Enterprise open source continues to gain at the expense of proprietary software

Cloud-native compatibility and security

The telecommunications industry is one in which flexible, advanced and secure architectures and platforms are needed for operational and developmental innovation, and for executing highly demanding and mission-critical workloads. This is particularly applicable in the areas of cloud and cloud-native deployment. Security is also of highest concern in order to satisfy both regulatory and customer trust criteria, and there is no shortage of attention or resources dedicated to this area. At one time, there was a misperception that open source software was less secure and a potential liability, but those days are past, and now 87% of IT leaders in the telecommunications industry believe enterprise open source is as secure or more secure than proprietary software.

When asked about the top benefits of using enterprise open source, “better security” was indicated as the second highest ranking answer (36%).

Top benefits of using enterprise open source

Driving the confidence behind these responses from survey participants is how enterprise open source software is created and delivered. Organizations prefer using well-tested enterprise open source software, especially because it is generally believed that security updates are well documented, made available promptly, and receive broader examination than is often the case with proprietary code.

Telco IT leaders expect to increase their use of enterprise open source software for emerging technologies

In the hyper-competitive telecommunications sector the increased use of enterprise open source also extends to important emerging technology workloads, with 86% or respondents planning to increase their use of enterprise open source in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), edge computing and the Internet of Things (IoT).  

Furthermore, 86% of IT leaders indicated they have a more positive perception of enterprise open source than just a year ago.

IT leaders expect to increase their use of enterprise open source software IT leaders have a more positive perception of enterprise open source

Organizations are also utilizing enterprise open source solutions and technologies in relatively new software categories, including containers, container orchestration, and the vast number of complementary cloud-native open source projects. Enterprise open source is a software ecosystem that continues to grow, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Learn more

If you would like to learn more about enterprise open source use in the telco industry, you can download The State of Enterprise Open Source: Telecommunications Infographic.

We also invite you to explore the full The State of Enterprise Open Source report here, and to learn more about how Red Hat products and services enable innovation in the telecommunications industry here.

About the author

John has extensive experience guiding organizations to success via innovative architecture of products, digital strategy, and customer and user experiences - particularly in online and mobile marketing, e-commerce, product management, web analytics and interactive content development.

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