Whitepaper : How to Choose Between Paid and Open-Source Software Solutions

Author: Robert Agar
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The choice between paid and open-source software tools can be a confusing one for decision makers. The promise of obtaining software that can reduce costs while providing the same level of functionality can be very alluring. There are very few software procurement professionals who are not interested in saving their organizations some money.

At first glance, going with an open-source solution may appear to be an easy decision. But as with many other supposedly less expensive offerings likely to be encountered throughout a lifetime, there may be underlying issues that are not immediately apparent. When all aspects are considered, the answer is not so clear-cut, even if the only goal was to use the less expensive alternative.

This whitepaper describes the differentiating factors that inform the decision to use an open-source or paid software tool. The whitepaper discusses:

  • cost is not as simple a calculation
  • complexity, functionality, and easy-of-use
  • vendor support
  • stability and reliability
  • security and compliance

Whether to use commercial or open-source software has many nuances that need to be addressed on an individual basis. The low initial cost and freedom to modify source code may be a deciding factor in some cases. The enterprise must have the skilled resources required to maintain the software and be willing to live with the potential shortcomings that can accompany open-source solutions.

When issues like support, stability, security, and functionality are considered, a paid solution will often be the best option. While the initial cost of implementing the software may be greater, the benefits of working with a reliable commercial vendor will become evident over time. The peace of mind that comes with the ability to call the vendor when a problem occurs cannot be overstated.

As with many of the decisions that drive IT environments, the choice between open-source and commercial software is not always clear. Organizations need to look at the issue with an open mind and consider more than just the initial costs. Making the correct choice involves considering factors such as the employees who will use the software and the critical nature of the systems with which it will be used. It may be better to spend the money upfront to assure that the enterprise has obtained the best solution for its unique situation.

Presenter: Robert Agar

Robert Agar spent a long and diverse career specializing in data backup, recovery, and compliance among other areas of the IT world. Tired of being woken up at all hours to provide support, he embarked on a new career as a freelance writer focusing on various areas of the tech sector. Outside interests include music, sports, and poker. He shares his home office with two green-cheeked conures who suggest topics and engage in the occasional proofreading exercise.

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