From time to time, MSPmentor explores open source trends in the managed services market. There are anecdotal examples of MSPs leveraging open source. But for the most part, I think MSPs serving small business leverage traditional, Microsoft- and Windows-centric tools. Still, OTRS (Open Technology Real Services) caught my attention this week with a 3.0 help desk beta release. As you may have guessed, OTRS focuses on open source solutions. Is the OTRS help desk ready for prime time? Here's a reality check.
First, what exactly is the OTRS help desk? This video, produced by OTRS, provides some clues:
True Believers?OTRS claims to focus on ITIL-compatible IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions. The latest 3.0 beta release includes an Ajax-powered interface designed to dispatch help tickets 30 percent faster than previous builds. The company says more than 80,000 organizations already use OTRS; key adopters apparently include NASA, Siemens, Nokia, and Toshiba. The OTRS solution is available on-premise or in a managed, hosted configuration.
So far, the OTRS partner program seems to target systems integrators rather than MSPs. And frankly, I haven't heard from any MSPs that use OTRS.
Signs of SuccessStill, I'm intrigued. In recent months I've heard from a growing list of open source companies -- such as Groundwork Open Source (GWOS) and Canonical -- that are targeting managed services providers and hosting providers. Plus, there are anecdotal signs of open source success across the MSP market. For instance:
- N-able's N-central remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform was written atop Linux.
- MSPs such as Rezitech use open source for various data center and unified communications efforts. (Example: The Asterisk open source IP PBX)
- And most of the major RMM tool providers are developing management capabilities for Linux servers, desktops and mobile devices.
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