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Last year we set out to determine how IT leaders think about open source, why they choose it and what they intend to do with it in the future. The result was The 2019 State of Enterprise Open Source: A Red Hat Report, and the findings were clear and confirmed what we see happening in the industry. Enterprise open source has become a default choice of IT departments around the world and organizations are using open source in categories that have historically been more associated with proprietary technology.

Headed into the second year of the survey, we had a new directive in mind. We wanted to dive deeper into how IT leaders’ intentions and usage have changed. We surveyed 950 IT leaders in four regions. Respondents had to have some familiarity with enterprise open source and have at least 1% Linux installed at their organization. Respondents were not necessarily Red Hat customers and were unaware that Red Hat was the sponsor of this survey. This allowed us to get a more honest and broad view of the true state of enterprise open source. 

Some of our top takeaways from The 2020 State of Enterprise Open Source: A Red Hat Report are:

  1. Enterprise open source increasingly plays a strategic role as proprietary falls

  2. Cloud computing and enterprise open source go hand-in-hand

  3. IT leaders choose enterprise open source because of its higher quality software

  4. Security tops the list of where IT leaders use enterprise open source

Open source is driving the strategy

The numbers don’t lie about the importance of open source: 95% of respondents (up from 89% last year) said it is strategically important to their organization’s overall enterprise infrastructure software strategy. 

Not only are these IT leaders adopting open source, but they also view other organizations adopting open source positively. Respondents shared that they think enterprise open source is adopted by the most innovative companies (86%).

As the use of enterprise open source is expected to increase over the next two years, proprietary software use is expected to decrease. Last year we found that more than half (55%) of the software used by our respondents was proprietary. This year, that fell to 42%; two years from now, respondents expect that to be down to 32%. In contrast, respondents shared that today 36% of their organization’s software is enterprise open source and they expect that to increase to 44% in two years.  

Enterprise open source and the hybrid cloud

Cloud computing has become an integral part of business strategy and IT architecture for enterprises and hybrid cloud has emerged as the leading cloud approach. Our survey found that 63% of IT leaders surveyed have a hybrid cloud infrastructure today. However, of the 37% of respondents who don’t, 54% plan to have a hybrid cloud infrastructure within the next 24 months. Hybrid cloud is the predominant cloud for many reasons. Not every workload is well-suited for public cloud environments; but a hybrid cloud approach that can span from the edge and bare metal to multiple public clouds (multicloud) can afford the greatest amount of choice and flexibility to end users.

With the increasing role that cloud plays in IT, leaders are looking to open source to help them build out their platform. 83% of IT leaders said that enterprise open source has been instrumental in their organization’s ability to take advantage of cloud architectures. 

Benefits go well beyond cost savings

Open source software has long been seen as a cost-efficient option for organizations, but that is no longer seen as the driving factor. Organizations that use enterprise open source are seeing a multitude of benefits. In a marked change from last year, survey respondents said that higher quality of software (33%) was the top reason they chose open source, followed by lower total cost of ownership (30%) and better security (29%). 

Here’s where you can find it

There are traditional places that we expect to see open source being used, but we are increasingly seeing open source used in areas that are typically associated with proprietary applications. IT leaders surveyed shared that the top three places in infrastructure where enterprise open source solutions are being used today are security (52%), cloud management tools (51%) and database (49%). 

We’re just scratching the surface of our survey results. Read The State of Enterprise Open Source: A Red Hat Report and learn more about how enterprises are turning to open source tools to modernize their IT approach.

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