As Federal IT managers begin to invest in hybrid integration platforms there is one critical decision that they must often make. They must choose between an open source platform or commercial off the shelf enterprise service bus (ESB) to facilitate integration. In a recent article in GCN, Chris Steel, Chief Solutions Architect at Software AG Government Solutions, offers eight important factors that IT decision makers should factor into their final decision. As well as weighing the immediate pros and cons of each option, Steel advises decision makers to consider the long-term implications of each solution, because what may seem attractive initially might end up being more expensive over time.
Steel identifies 8 factors to consider in the decision making process. From the hidden costs of open source solutions to the availability and reliability of support, which is especially important when it comes to accounting for security updates, bug fixes, and other mission-critical maintenance that inevitably increases the total cost of ownership.
Here are four of Chris’s eight essential considerations from the article:
Factor 2: Long Term Growth
“Investing in any new integration can be costly and time consuming. Therefore, agencies should be certain that what they choose will support scalability and long-term expansion plans. It is widely known that open-source ESBs simply cannot match the scale and number of integration implementations of a commercial ESB solution. As such, they are usually deployed at small companies or in small, developer-based projects at larger enterprises. In addition, agencies must consider vendor viability. In a constantly changing industry, open-source vendors may be acquired, merged or fail, leaving customers with no continuity.”
Factor 5: External Partners
“Integration is not always limited to internal applications and IT systems. It should also include external entities, such as customers, suppliers and vendors. Be prepared to have B2B solutions in place that will work closely with the selected integration solution.”
Factor 6: Messaging Requirements
“Messaging often gets overlooked in a COTS vs. open-source ESB decision. Evaluate the agency’s messaging needs and make sure the chosen provider offers best-of-breed, “universal” messaging support across the various delivery channels and implementation topologies currently in use. Be sure open-source messaging software can support the high-speed and high-volume requirements posed by modern-day applications.”
Factor 8: Cloud Expenses
“Small open-source ESB providers may not be able to support all integration categories, forcing them to invest more heavily in supporting a cloud-based model. As a result, they may pass those investment costs directly on to customers, further closing the gap in the cost differential between open-source ESB software and commercial ESB solutions.”
Interested in learning what Chris included in his full list? You can find it here.