We all know every IT organization is going through difficult times experiencing significant pressure on the cost from the customers to reduce billing rates and also from the parent companies to cut IT spending. Software licensing costs is a significant portion of IT budgets and is rising driven by consolidation in the segment. The acquiring software vendors are raising support fees in order to pay off their acquisition costs. The cost is indirectly passed on to the Enterprise IT.
Open Source is attractive because of its characteristics – Low cost, easy access, expansive license terms
But what is the real cost associated with migrating to Open Source?
The IT cost profile for most organizations is similar to that shown below:
- The cost peaks at each migration with spending on hardware and software, retraining, additional staff and consultancy.
- Then the cost drops in the long-term, which includes a hefty proprietary-license component. Well, your local proprietary will make sure these long-term costs increase year on year.
- The cost of migration is generally considered to be the period around the peak. As highlighted the most recent migration in the graphic.
Microsoft’s argument is that the cost to move from one generation of proprietary software to free software is more than the cost to move from one generation of proprietary software to the next. This cost-of-migration propaganda works only if:
- You believe that proprietary-to-free is more expensive than proprietary-to-proprietary.
- You ignore long-term cost savings of moving to free and look only at the narrow strip around the migration itself.
- You compute your costs only by considering commercial open source and completely ignore real free software.
Here is the true picture of the cost of migrating from Proprietary-to-free
If you consider real free software, the worst-case peak cost of migration is not greater than the proprietary-to-proprietary migration cost.
If you also look beyond the migration window, you will observer there is really significant savings that accumulates over time. This effectively means that the project return on investment is better than proprietary-to-proprietary, with long-term sustainable cost reductions.