The open-source movement is quickly gaining ground and replacing proprietary technology – if you believe the hype. As with anything that excites the market, vendors are not slow to jump on the bandwagon, although their commitment is sometimes less than total and their offerings often owe more to PowerPoint than time spent on R&D.
When switching your business to open source software, you lose the licensing fees but may pick up other costs.
When businesses hear the term “open source” software, it often translates into another word: free. And while open source code technically is just that — free for all to use — it doesn’t mean that there are never any costs associated with deploying open source.
“The philosophy of open source is more about freedom — to look at the code, modify it, and that there’s no copyright,” says Michael Goulde, senior analyst for Forrester Research, of Cambridge, Mass. “Companies can save money on their expenses, especially if they don’t need all the bells and whistles that a commercial software package has. An open source package might have all they need.” Still, he warns that there are hidden costs of open source and small and mid-size businesses “can get in over their heads really quickly.”
Many businesses say cost is not even a factor when moving to open source. They simply pick the best technology for the job. But companies should consider the following before committing:
No. 1: Packaged open source comes with a price
No. 2: Support isn’t always free
No. 3: Consultants can cost you
MySQL has almost singlehandedly reignited interest in the database market. But the first thing to note is that open source does not equal free in this case. A professional licence from MySQL costs $495.
Entry-level technical support costs $1,500. That’s scotched the idea of anything about it being free.
Jeremy Zawodny, who is described as a MySQL database expert at Yahoo. This is what he has to say:
” One doesn’t need weeks of expensive training and a shelf full of manuals to make MySQL work well. Also the MySQL support is truly outstanding. “
There we are. Cost again. If it’s so easy to use and it is reliable (one assumes it’s reliable since apparently Nasa is using it to run missioncritical applications, although that would put me off becoming an astronaut), why am I asked to shell out $1,500 for entry-level support? And support costs can go as high as $62,400 – hardly a cheap option.
The fact that MySQL comes from an open-source background does not make it anything special. It is using open source as a tagline to gain attention, as are many other IT vendors, large and small. MySQL is a commercial database marketed on the back of interest in open source. source