IBM study: 70% prefer open source to proprietary cloud technologies

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Organizations are using cloud and multi-cloud solutions to enable remote teams. Survey respondents associated open source with increased wages, professional opportunities, and more.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have adopted remote and hybrid work models. To enable newly remote workforces, many organizations are relying on cloud and multi-cloud solutions. On Tuesday, O’Reilly Media released a survey commissioned by IBM, titled “The Value of Open Source in the Cloud Era.” The study highlights sentiments regarding open source knowledge and career opportunities, cloud provider preferences, and more.

“We’ve been seeing both the proliferation of open source software and the cloud grow significantly in the past two decades, and it’s more clear than ever that the future of these technologies is intrinsically linked,” said Christopher Ferris, CTO at Open Tech, IBM.

Open source software preferences

Overall, the IBM and O’Reilly Media survey was conducted “in the fall of 2020” and includes the responses of more than 3,400 developers and managers. “Nearly all respondents” said they used open source software (OSS) in “some aspect of their operations” and 94% rated OSS better than or equal to proprietary software, according to the report. When selecting a cloud provider, nearly three-quarters of respondents (70%) said they prefer cloud providers based on open source. In general, respondents associated “open source technologies” with increased wages, job/professional opportunities.

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“More and more developers are learning and working on open source software, and a majority of them (70%) even prefer it over proprietary technologies. That, combined with the growing shift to a hybrid cloud ecosystem among enterprises, illustrates that open source is more important than ever in the cloud era,” Ferris said.

Open source hiring considerations

The report also focuses on open source background knowledge and its impact on hiring managers. For example, virtually all respondent hiring managers (87%) viewed “knowledge of open source [as] an important factor” and 67% believed that open source experience offered comparatively better value in the long term compared with experience with vendor-specific solutions, according to the report.

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More than half of respondents (54%) felt as though learning provider-specific cloud computing skills limited “professional growth,” according to the report, and nearly seven-in-10 respondents somewhat or completely agreed that potential employers were impressed by work on open source projects and leading to “better professional opportunities.” About one-quarter of hiring managers completely agreed that “open source attracts talent.”

“Open source software development is the best way to build software, with its influence extending to the cloud. Skills related to open source frameworks and tools are essential for developers and engineers because these skills are used interchangeably across cloud environments,” said Rachel Roumeliotis, VP of content strategy at O’Reilly Media.

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