Culture

$10 million you needn't pay to IBM

Tired of feeding IBM? Try some open-source products and realize millions in cost savings.

I really like John Willis' pithy paean to the cost savings that open source can deliver over IBM's bulky, expensive software. IBM is a company that knows better than anyone else how to deliver true enterprise software...in the oldest and worst sense of the word: costly, complex, and clunky.

So Willis has a modest proposal for those that have let daddy IBM take care of them for so long: Replace IBM technology with open source and realize millions in cost savings:

Go ahead and try and save your company $10 million dollars, how can it hurt?

Got Cognos? Get Pentaho. Got AIX? Get Linux (from Red Hat, Novell, or even from IBM). Got Websphere? Get JBoss. Got DB2? Get MySQL or PostgreSQL. (Indeed, according to Forrester, the open-source database market will grow at an accelerated 24 percent clip in 2009.)

As Willis notes, his proposal doesn't require a trade-off in "enterprise class" for "cheap." The open-source software, in many cases, delivers both superior value and better performance, ease-of-use, etc. Yes, it means giving up the built-in security of always having an IBM account manager as your golfing buddy, but after saving millions for your company, your boss will probably take you golfing...and she'll be happy to pay.

For many, the thought of leaving the safety of IBM's arms will simply be too much, but think of it this way: this is a way to encourage IBM (and SAP, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, etc.) to actually start building better software. Give open source a chance and you're feeding IBM the tough love it needs to update and upgrade its products. IBM will love you for it...eventually.