Software Pulse

4 Ways to Play in Enterprise Open Source

March 20, 2006

Tom Berquist

4 Ways to Play in Enterprise Open Source

As the value of business open source becomes clear, there are several ways for software vendors to join the game.

By Tom Berquist, Ingres Corp

From my 10-year vantage point as a software analyst with Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Piper Jaffray, I’ve watched my share of enterprise software trends come and go. In the 1990s, I covered Red Hat after it went public. Many thought it would challenge Microsoft on the desktop. It didn’t but it revolutionized the server market and made clear the opportunity of open source.

The power of open source to individual developers is now well understood. A large, active community, low costs and fast deployment are just a few of the advantages that make open source attractive to its converts.

Now is the time for open source to move into the enterprise. We will see open source continue to move up the stack - from operating system to database, application server, development tools, security, systems management – over the next decade. That’s why I left Citigroup to become CFO at Ingres Corp., a business open source software company recently spun out of CA by investment bank Garnett & Helfrich Capital.

It is hard to imagine a massive shift away from propriety software driving the enterprise - but it happens. In the 1990s, IBM was in charge of IT systems. Their hold on budgets was broken when many best-of-breed vendors came in and sold comparable products based on new technologies at lower prices.

It takes a long time to create an entirely new footprint – lots of Oracle products today still run on midrange systems from IBM. But today’s software vendors have a chance to participate in the transition of the enterprise to open source.


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Parting Thought

“Innumerable confusions and a feeling of despair invariably emerge in periods of great technological and cultural transition." -  Marshall McLuhan

Courtesy of Malcolm Kusher, The Kushner Group