It wasn’t that long ago that open source software was considered an unusual technology choice for enterprise computing. Not so anymore. According to Red Hat’s 2019 State of Enterprise Open Source survey of 950 IT professionals, 68% of respondents said their use of enterprise open source has increased over the past 12 months. And, only 1% indicated that open source software was not at all important, while 69% said it is very or extremely important.

The survey illustrates open source software’s impact on cloud computing, too. According to the survey, IT leaders who expect to use more enterprise open source in the next year are more likely than IT leaders who do not expect to use more enterprise open source in the next year to move legacy applications to the cloud, modernize IT infrastructure and applications, and manage hybrid or multiclouds. And 43% of respondents said open source is being used in their cloud management tools.

More than two decades have passed since Red Hat led an open source revolution with its own Linux distribution. Now, as cloud computing is beginning to take hold across enterprises, Linux is powering many of those clouds, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform) as a top choice for a commercial Linux on the public cloud based on a July 2017 study sponsored by Red Hat

All this demonstrates new opportunities for digital service providers to innovate.

Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president of products and technologies, talked with TelecomTV about the emergence of  the cloud – and how open source technologies and communities are driving innovation. "Cloud in general, cloud technologies, they’re all built on Linux," Cormier told TelecomTV, pointing out that Linux is still a focal point for open source community innovation.

Cloud innovation happens best in a consistent environment that supports all types of cloud computing, from private to public, hybrid, and even multi-clouds. "Our customers want to consume cloud as part of their IT environment," Cormier said. "With Red Hat Enterprise Linux and our Openshift platform, which is built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, we can actually give our customers a consistent environment across all of those footprints, all the way out into the public cloud. And now we are even starting to see customers that want to go to multiple public clouds, so giving that consistent environment all the way across internal footprints and multiple external cloud footprints is where we can help our customers."

Using open source platforms and participating in open source communities gives developers exposure to new technologies, in some cases before they are publicly available. That early access can help provide customers with a lead to excel in today’s fast-paced, competitive business environment.

"This innovation on top of innovation on top of innovation – it’s just driving this whole world so quickly," and Cormier said enterprises and network providers now have the ability to move innovation at a pace that they’ve never been able to do before.

Red Hat’s partner ecosystem is a cornerstone to its cloud strategy. "All this new technology is getting into our partners’ solutions," Cormier said. "A lot of our partners use us as the conduit to the upstream community because it is so much in our DNA to develop in an open environment upstream. Our partners can now work with us to help us bring our products forward more quickly, by actually funneling a lot of requirements through us so we can work them in the upstream community."

To learn more about the benefits of open source, see our analyst white paper "Open Source: A framework for digital services modernization."

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