Amazon and Microsoft are positively changing cloud and open source in SA

Obsidian's Muggie van Staden: "2019 is going to be an intriguing year for open source."

Open source is defined as software for which the original source code is made freely available and can be distributed or modified. But unlike its early days when mostly tech geeks used it, open source has permeated very aspect of business today – even if you might not be aware of it.

Such has been the growth and impact of open source that Microsoft, once considered to be the shining example of what can be done with proprietary software, announced plans earlier this year to acquire GitHub (one of the world’s best collaborative software development platforms) for $7.5 billion.

Shortly after that announcement, another bombshell dropped with IBM saying it will pay more than $30 billion to acquire open source software developer Red Hat.

But what does all this activity in the open source environment mean for businesses outside the tech sector?

Muggie van Staden, MD of Obsidian systems, explains: 

“If anything, this shows us that open source is now the preferred technology choice in a digital environment. As business priorities on outcomes intensify, paying for the underlying operating system becomes more of an issue with so many secure and reliable open source ones are available. Today, it has become more about the joining of forces between proprietary and open to provide businesses with the best of all worlds.”

He says that with open source the driving force behind much of the world’s cloud-based systems, companies will need to be more mindful of the trends in the coming months if they are to benefit from more innovative systems and business strategies.

“The days of relying exclusively on proprietary solutions are long gone. Open standards have become part of the approach many organisations take towards implementing technology innovation. And those that have not done so yet, will soon follow as they seek to find relevance in an increasingly digital (and connected) world.”

With Microsoft intending to launch two data centres in South Africa next year and Amazon Web Services following suit in 2020, the positive impact on cloud systems (and open standards) is expected to significantly change the local business environment for the better.

“This will bring with it a veritable land rush for position in the cloud environment. More C-suite decision-makers are open to going, well, open, and vendors and service providers are clamouring for market position. Providing even more impetus for this is the recent launch of what many consider to be South Africa’s first truly digital bank. Focusing on ‘behavioural’ banking, all its systems are cloud-based highlighting the security, availability and redundancy of going this route,” says van Staden.

And the fact that it is built on open standards, says van Staden, means those sceptical about open standards will have to think again as more companies start embracing it.

“Next year will be an intriguing one to see where the cloud and the open standards approach will be heading. Strap in and enjoy the ride."