In this last and final part of the blog series about choosing the right ESB, we will not be looking into technical details. Having read part 1 and part 2, you know whether you want a standalone or an integrated version and you have determined whether you go with either open source or proprietary. If the latter is the case, it is time to contact a proprietary software vendor, meaning our job is done. If freedom and flexibility are at the top of your wish, however, you should spend some time finding the open source vendor that matches your company profile. In this blog, we will talk you through it.
Aside from vendor strategy, revenue models and technical features, there is something else that should not be overlooked when you are making a decision on the integration approach you are going to choose, and that is culture. This feature has a lot to do with the first blog in this series, that outlined the differences between Apple users and Android users. Culture is the force that drives people and organizations, especially when it comes to Information Technology. Culture changes with time, and this is the very reason why open source has become so popular. Not even ten years ago, open source software was limited to IT enthusiasts who did not have any serious commercial intentions but just worked together out of passion for technology. Apart from Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, there were not a lot of well-known open source technologies to the mainstream audience. Today, however, open source initiatives are popping up like mushrooms.
The rise of the Millennials
So what happened there? The shift from proprietary to open source software seems to be the work of a new generation. Forbes, a business magazine, estimated that by the year 2025, 75% of the entire workforce will consist of so-called Millennials. This generation was born between 1979 and 1994, and everyday this group of people becomes more influential in the business world. They are highly selective about products and services and they are used to be offered a wide array of options and features from which they can choose. Furthermore, they like to learn in an experiential and exploratory way; they just dive right in it without using any manuals. Millennials expect high degrees of personalization and customization and they want to add their personal touch to everything they buy and own. Moreover, they highly value flexibility, and they also expect other people and institutions to provide them with more flexibility. The most important thing is that they are impatient and highly collaborative at the same time. It is therefore not surprising that companies such as Spotify, Netflix and HBO-go are such a great success. They offer high quality, speed, flexibility, and make sure their customers are in control. Just the way open source software does for its users. Hence, the shift to open source software.
The flexibility and freedom that is offered by the open source community caters very well to wishes of the Millennials who are becoming ever more prevalent in the workforce. Gartner still regards integrations software from the proprietary vendors as the leaders of the pack, but the open source community is bridging the gap and the fact that plenty of fortune 500 companies replaced proprietary software with open source, is definitely a sign that big changes are underway. Open source software does not require financial commitment in order to be used, offering great flexibility to companies. They get the chance to try out the software without risking any great financial losses, while proprietary software usually requires a large financial commitment in licenses or subscription before installation, thereby immediately creating a possible vendor lock-in. Moreover, because open source is openly available, users are free to personalize and customize in whatever way they like.
Open Source in the true sense of the word
Now that you understand the shift to open source vendors, the time has come to make a decision. When selecting open source software, however, you should make sure your new vendor is as open source as it claims to be. Although often thought otherwise, many open source vendors do not actually boast a 100% open source integration platform. WSO2 is the only open source vendor that offers the enterprise version for free, relying solely on the product support they offer and using an all-or-nothing model. This is the very reason why we are such big WSO2 fans. Not only do they offer an alternative to the expensive proprietary model; they take open source to a whole new level by offering one single product that gets your company data to all places it needs to be. Which nowadays, can be pretty much everywhere.
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