Contributed James Betz
Throughout the public sector, one of today’s most important trends is the adoption of open source software. Thanks to the transparency, security and cost savings that open source software offers, government is embracing modern solutions that make it possible to build better tools for citizens and organizations to access information.
While the adoption of open source software has been met with resistance in the past, the sheer number of today’s technologies built from an open source foundation makes open platforms both extremely important and incredibly popular. Enterprise open source software allows the public sector to embrace open source solutions that are backed up by additional levels of security and support.
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One of the primary business drivers for the federal government is to create innovative technology solutions that better serve the American people. Rather than keeping government data in programmatic silos, the Digital Government Strategy is seeking to build better government services that can offer information and services to Americans on any platform. It’s a concerted effort to increase collaboration and coordination by making open data the government default, enabling service delivery as efficiently as possible across the web.
Embracing open data means embracing the platforms and technologies that can store and protect information for years to come. While the government historically has been a slow-moving entity, the sheer pace of technological change means the government must stay nimble in offering modern ways of accessing and using data. Considering the exponential growth of data collection and the ever-increasing threat landscape, the government must choose solutions that are easily adaptable and highly compatible.
Some of today’s safest, stablest and most secure technologies have roots in open source. Major technological trends and advancements such as cloud computing, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive computing have been built using open source technologies. For most typical pieces of software, anywhere between 80 percent and 90 percent of an application’s underlying components are often downloaded in binary form from an open source repository.
In the public sector, the adoption of enterprise open source software means being able to quickly move from development to production using modern tools that are trusted and secure. While no piece of software will ever be 100 percent secure, the constant work and feedback from an open source community make it possible to truly test and build products with the help of a dedicated group of users.
For example, the Federal Government’s code.gov is a code repository that essentially acts as a governmental GitHub. Across the whole Federal Government, all community development and open source efforts are coordinated through a single indexed location, offering greater visibility and transparency and making code easily reusable in both the private and public sectors.
From a leadership standpoint, embracing open source often means questioning previously held beliefs. Adopting the right open source solution isn’t necessarily free, but it is often more affordable than a commercial product — while also including support. And while it may seem risky to move away from an existing vendor, platforms like Postgres are fully capable of migrating large sets of data at a fraction of the overall cost.
Enterprise open source software enhances the work of the open source community by offering additional levels of support and security. Built on top of the open source Postgres, EDB Postgres offers additional testing and support for critical maintenance. EDB’s solutions are trusted by government agencies because they meet applicable Federal information security standards. With enterprise open source software, the public sector gets the best of both worlds: modern and adaptable open source technology enhanced by a trusted partner.
Across the public sector, mission-critical systems will continue being deployed using enterprise open source software. By partnering with the right enterprise open source software partner, the public sector will be able to continue creating solutions that are cheaper, more compatible and easier to access than ever before.