Open Source Skills Are the Most Sought After for Cloud Tech: IBM


New York-based technology giant IBM surveyed developers and technology managers to gauge why open source software drives organizations’ long-term hybrid cloud strategy and why open-source skills can generate better career opportunities and growth for developers.

IBM’s The Value of Open Source in the Cloud Era study, based on a survey of 3,400 developers and technology managers, has revealed that open source skills and technical know-how can open up more opportunities for aspiring developers. The study points out that Linux is a highly sought after skill, with cloud-native technologies like Kubernetes gaining momentum.

“I think we’ll see this trend continue in the next 5 years, with the growth of additional cloud-native technologies like OpenShift, Istio, Knative, and etc,” said Christopher FerrisOpens a new window , Chief Technology Officer, Open Tech, IBM.

“We’ll also see an increased need for open source artificial intelligence/machine learning technologies such as TensorFlow, Pytorch, Kubeflow, Pandas, and Jupyter that interact well with cloud-native technologies and, of course, the open source databases such as PostgreSQL, MongoDB, MySQL, and CouchDB that store the data that fuels AI.”

Responding to IBM’s surveyOpens a new window , 65% of developers and technology managers favored developers with experience in open source technologies such as Linux, Kubernetes, Istio, etc. In comparison, only 36% looked for skills related to a vendor-specific cloud platform (AWS, Azure, or Google).

The survey also found that those with open source software (OSS) skills are likely to command a higher paycheck besides getting exposed to better career growth opportunities and long-term career value. Moreover, 70% of hiring managers are more likely to hire those with knowledge of open source cloud technologies. This may not be a surprising statistic considering 94% of developers and technologists rate OSS as equal to or better than proprietary software.

See Also: 4 Reasons Enterprise CIOs are Adopting Open Source

What is OSS and Why Is It Important?

Open source codeOpens a new window is developed and made available in public repositories, often by a community of developers and users. Open source development works best when there is complete transparency and developers have OSI-approved license that permits the use of the code and the ability to modify the code. On the other hand, proprietary code is typically developed behind closed doors by a single vendor with little or no transparency or flexibility to modify the code.

Enterprises today use at least eight cloud platformsOpens a new window on average from multiple vendors, making hybrid cloud a prime business enabler whose adoption is expected to grow 47% in the next three years. A hybrid cloud means that an enterprise can use a combination of public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises IT based on its needs, the money it wants to spend on storage and analytics, and the level of security, reliability, and scalability it requires.

Craig HolmesOpens a new window , Technology Leader at IBM South Africa, told IT Web that a hybrid cloud enables organizations to adopt innovative technologies and adapt to new business models without requiring existing IT investments to be scrapped.

“Hybrid cloud allows them to pull together a highly heterogeneous environment that spans the traditional in-house data centre and any number of public and private clouds, from a range of vendors,” he added.

Suppose an enterprise intends to switch towards a hybrid cloud approach. In that case, its requirements are met by open-source software with an incredible variety of features, pen-tested security, and reliability. OSS also allows enterprises to limit their reliance on one specific vendor for their needs, thus eliminating a vendor lock-in scenario. Open-source software is also known to offer lower costs (50.1%), better performance (71.6%), and fulfillment of objectives (97.8%).

“When the plumbing is common for all of these clouds, all companies benefit, fostering whole markets and ecosystems and speeding the rate and pace of innovation. This is good for the entire economy that runs on cloud technology.”

“The pace of innovation means no single vendor can out-innovate a collaborative, open community comprised of its competitors and users. This ensures a level playing field and the creation of de facto standards through code that enable interoperability across multiple clouds,” Ferris added.

See Also: Red Hat Nabs StackRox to Strengthen OpenShift Platform 


The IBM study found that presently, OSS is leveraged by 85.2% of organizations, and 70% of developers and technology managers prefer a cloud provider based on OSS. While a single proprietary vendor can deliver a well-integrated set of capabilities, open communities quickly overtake any proprietary advantage.

“To advance the state-of-the-art technology as rapidly as possible, we need to do it in ways that build on the previous body of work,” said Todd MooreOpens a new window , Vice President, Open Tech, IBM. “OSS usually comes with a long dependency list that enables the innovation in the next body of code. Open source code is exceptionally well reviewed by participants and can be supported by companies like Red Hat that provide a stable base you can trust when you’re betting your business on a piece of code.”

“In the long run, yes, open source cloud technologies are better than proprietary cloud technologies,” Moore concluded.

Do you think open source software is more suited to hybrid cloud than cloud services offered by individual vendors? Let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We would love to hear from you!