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Open source systems management

There are now multiple open source systems management tools to choose from, including some strong players.

Many very large environments, especially telcos, already use a hybridisation (some would say hodge-podge) of open source and low cost tools to manage their availability. The model works.

Potential downsides are:

  • support. look for a "Red Hat" style of paid support if this is an issue.
  • customers and suppliers. Other organisations in the value chain may take a dim view of using tools other than from a major vendor

The following are not negatives, but often perceived to be:

  • quality. this is generally higher in open source tools than in proprietary ones.
  • dead-end technology. The fear is that any "volunteer" group of developers can wander off. The reality is that the risks are the same as for proprietary software and are driven by the same force: market adoption. Whether a tool is proprietary or open source, it's success depends on the size of the user base. Choosing the biggest instead of the best is often a good strategy for any tool.

We have a directory of open source and "free" tools here.

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