Open source has been an alternative driving force for transparency & good in computing for decades. Meanwhile, the last ten years have seen cloud computing go from a disorganized and dubious pipe dream to a dependable model ever more businesses are embracing to fuel their growth.
Unsurprisingly, combining the two concepts fosters unprecedented innovation potential. What are the benefits of such a synergy? What challenges do both sides still need to overcome? Read on and find out!
How Synergy Shapes the Software Industry’s Present & Future
The collaboration between open-source communities and cloud providers has been a net positive. It redefined the computing landscape and will continue to do so through the following innovation-affirming practices.
Increased resilience to cybersecurity threats is another benefit of the open-source cloud. Opening the inner workings of a cloud solution up to community scrutiny may seem like a bad judgment at first. However, a dedicated and knowledgeable community can identify weak points before bad actors try to exploit them.
Identifying and responding to cyberattacks takes far too long. Leveraging an open-source community’s collective knowledge lets cloud providers develop and roll fixes out faster.
Improved visibility & adoption of open-source solutions
Open-source projects attract people with highly-developed technical skills. Such communities can create innovative solutions to complex problems with more agility than established developer teams. While effective, these solutions aren’t always straightforward and might alienate less computer-savvy users.
Established cloud storage providers, specializing on business clients and offering secure file sharing as well as top-notch encryption, can step in to help. Developing intuitive UIs and simplifying complex tasks is core to their attractiveness, after all. Cloud providers can successfully apply the same principles to open-source solutions. This creates streamlined products more individuals and companies are likely to adopt.
A successful open-source implementation may become a cloud storage provider’s standard offering. That can dramatically expand its reach and impact. After all, businesses will be far more likely to trust a new product their long-standing cloud storage provider endorses.
Such a development can stifle the open-source project. It may also ignite the general public’s interest in it. That might lead to expanding the collaborative effort or increased funding.
Reduced chances of vendor lock-in
Closed software development puts businesses at greater risk of vendor lock-in. The phenomenon is particularly concerning in hyper-specialized niches with no vendor competition. For example, a company dependent on a single vendor might have no choice but to agree to drastic price hikes. Even worse, the vendor might go out of business and leave the company stranded.
Opting for cloud-driven open-source solutions instead reduces this risk. A specialized toolset that fits a company’s needs might not currently exist. But, that company can work with their provider to develop such tools. Others may then refine or use those tools to address their own pain points.
Cloud services and open-source software excel at keeping costs down for the end user. Companies don’t need to invest in computing infrastructure as much since that’s now the provider’s purview. Meanwhile, individual users get access to more tools at no cost or as part of their existing arrangements.
Cutting costs benefits innovation indirectly. Since businesses don’t need to waste time and resources on logistics, they can focus better on developing their products.
What Are the Challenges of Using Open Source and Cloud Storage?
Publically displaying open-source projects’ vulnerabilities may tempt unethical persons to exploit them. Requirements to gain access to such projects may be lax or non-existent. That allows almost anyone to introduce vulnerabilities. It doesn’t need to be intentional either – some developers contributing to a project may not know how to follow best practices.
Open source licensing is a murky subject due to hundreds of different licenses. These sometimes contradict each other. Developers may not be able to use specific libraries or other components if they want to keep the software compliant. There are also concerns over intellectual property, which is harder to assign when following this development model.
Open-source & cloud computing collaboration can lead to friction. Cloud providers sometimes implement open-source solutions without contributing to their development. Such practices lead to a loss of trust and can seem predatory. A provider may end up using one version of a tool while the original community branches off to another in extreme cases.
Storing data online affords access from anywhere. It lets users set up access hierarchies and log attempts to get at the data. They don’t have direct control over what happens to that data, though. Where does the company keep it? How many copies are there? Does deleting the data through the user interface mean it’s really gone for good?
Cloud storage providers invest heavily in cybersecurity since they’re tempting targets. They need to handle outside threats, privacy concerns, and authentication procedures with equal attention. Redundancy and data encryption need regular testing to continue to be effective.
Cloud computing and open-source solutions are central to modern developments not just in IT, but in every field that relies on continually improving software solutions. The future of this synergy is shaping up to be bright, so keep an eye on it!