No surprise, 98% of enterprises are using open source. But the tide is turning in terms of perception: More than 71% of those surveyed at the 2009 USENIX Large Installation System Administration (LISA) conference say that open source is easier to deploy than proprietary software.
The survey from Zenoss includes 974 respondents at LISA 2009 and from the larger Zenoss community. Zenoss has been conducting the survey since 2006, and has found that open source is consistently finding greater acceptance among system administrators at the conference. While not a perfect sampling of the industry at large, the opinions of LISA attendees are important to understand the perception of open source in the enterprise.
Open source has made some major strides between 2008 and 2009. The survey found only 48% of attendees said open source was easier to deploy in 2008.
The majority of organizations are looking to use open source whenever possible. According to the survey, 66% of the Zenoss community say their organization uses open source when possible, and more than 76% of the USENIX attendees say that their organizations turn to open source. Surprisingly, the economy is not the driving factor. Only 9.5% of LISA attendees said that tighter budgets drove open source adoption, and 13.8% of the Zenoss community said the same thing. The numbers were up from the 2008 survey, but it appears that the economy isn't having the dramatic effect on open source adoption that many predicted — but it's still winning when stacked up against proprietary software.
Proving that surveys are fickle beasts, though, cost savings was given as one of the compelling factors for open source adoption at 71%. That is to say, organizations have always wanted to get software on the cheap not just recently due to the economy. The good news is, open source tends to be cheaper no matter what the economy is doing.
The survey isn't all puppies and flowers for open source, though. Respondents dinged open source for lack of support and (predictably) documentation. Vendors looking to push adoption of open source through the roof should be investing much more heavily in providing documentation for open source projects.
Since the survey was conducted among an audience of system admins and the Zenoss community in particular, it should come as no surprise that the highest priority for spending in 2010 is system monitoring, followed by security, and patching and provisioning tools. What are the respondents using for monitoring? Nagios, MRTG/RRDTool, Snort, and (of course) Zenoss.
Want to read the full survey? It's up on the Zenoss blog today.