When it comes to open source vs. closed source software, I keep an open mind and tell managed service providers to embrace the tools that best fit their companies. But during a conversation with GroundWork Open Source on February 13, I heard the latest proof that open source is pushing deeper into the MSP market. Here's a recap of my conversation with GroundWork.
First, a little background: GroundWork makes network management software that competes with "the Big 4" management tools (Hewlett-Packard OpenView, CA Unicenter, IBM Tivoli and BMC). The company says the vast majority of its large business customer wins are at the expense of the Big 4 management tools.
But check out this stat: Roughly 14 percent of GroundWork's major customer wins involve beating out proprietary MSP tools, as shown in this chart:
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that open source will invade or overtake the entire MSP market. As Nimsoft CEO Gary Read has reminded me multiple times, free open source software often doesn't scale to meet the needs of large enterprises seeking polished management tools. And Read has been quick to note that Nimsoft also displaces HP OpenView in major customer accounts.
New Alternatives?But of the open source enterprise management options out there, GroundWork Open Source seems to be catching on -- sometimes at the expense of traditional MSP software platforms, according to the chart above.
In recent months, GroundWork has been working to build its VAR and MSP partner network. The 120-person company (FEB. 17, 2009 CORRECTION: 30 to 50 employees) now has about 30 channel partners, according to The Open Source 50 -- a research report that tracks open source partner programs. GroundWork's partner program was ranked No. 16 out of 50 open source companies in the report. And I expect GroundWork to share more about its channel strategy in the weeks ahead.
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