Open Source and Managed Services: Coming Together?

Open Source and Managed Services: Coming Together?

Open Source and Managed Services: Coming Together?Open source is starting to influence portions of the managed services market. But can MSPs really trust open source?

DirectPointe -- the top ranked company on our MSPmentor 100 list for 2007-2008 -- built its entire business on open source. And scores of MSPs have embraced Untangle's open source security solutions. Now, I'm starting to wonder if Zenoss Inc. -- an open source network monitoring specialist -- will make a more aggressive move into the MSP industry.

Despite those milestones, I sense that open source hasn't gained critical mass yet with most MSPs.

Zenoss's software offers network, server and application monitoring solutions. Early adopters include Rackspace -- the prominent Web hosting and managed services provider.

Silent Trend?

Frankly, I'm surprised open source isn't on more MSP radars. When I attended MSP events hosted by CompTIA (the Computing Technology Industry Association), N-able and Kaseya in October, I heard about the following industry themes:
  • The economy
  • SaaS
  • Cloud computing
  • Competing with vendors (Dell, Microsoft, Google)
  • Transforming from VAR to MSP
  • Business models and compensation plans
But I rarely heard about open source. It's a strange disconnect: Most of the software industry is hyping SaaS or open source. Yet only portions of the MSP industry -- led by companies like DirectPointe and Untangle --  have open source on their radar.

Most of the major MSP platform providers plan to support Linux desktops and mobile devices. But open source is far more than that. It can be a game changer.

I'm not suggesting that open source will replace closed source. The two will live together for decades to come. But I'm surprised open source adoption hasn't accelerated even more in the MSP industry.

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