January 24th, 2019

Commercial Vs Open Source Vs In-house Tools

tools
The challenge faced when designing a software for any software requirement is to decide whether it should be bought or developed from scratch. Both the cases present their own sets of pros and cons. Therefore, all aspects must be considered in detail before making the final move to buy or build the solution.
Softwares solutions can be categorized as one of the three types listed below:

Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS):

  • Readily available Vs Feature Control

Although, commercial softwares are easy to use as they are readily available but the company never has full control over the features provided by the vendor.

  • Easy Deployment Vs Future Requirements

It will be easy to deploy given the nature of it being completely developed before use but company will always depend upon the vendor to fulfill any requirements found later in the process of completing their software solution.

  • Software Maintenance

The cost for using features controlled by the vendor is huge as it is measured in terms of monthly/annual subscriptions and per user requirements. Thus, a continuous maintenance cost is to be kept in mind when vendor is to be contacted for a specific software solution.

  • Community Support

Community Support as such is not available for commercial softwares. Vendor has to be contacted even for the most minimum of requirements.

  • Internal Documentation

Internal documentation has to be maintained for all times as anyone who joins the team at a later stage might require it. That obviously is an overhead!

Open Source Software (OSS):

  • Readily available Vs Feature Control

Open Source Softwares have edge over COTS that there are no vendors involved. They can be used as per requirement at any given time.

  • Easy Deployment Vs Future Requirements

Future Requirements can easily be met in case of open source tools. Given, you have carefully addressed all concerns regarding features that you need in order to fulfill your software solution requirements, then it is a likely case that a OSS will provide you a solution that is ready to use after instant deployment.

  • Software Maintenance

As such there is no cost for maintaining the OSS once you decide which one has to be used. But your decision matrix should be comprehensive containing all features related to usability since cost does not matter for these softwares.

  • Community Support

Community Support availability is one of the best features of an OSS and as such makes such softwares very each to use. Little training can help you completely gain all the required information and you are all set to use it!

  • Internal Documentation

Every concept you name or any problem you might encounter while implementing an OSS will already have been discussed at a forum. Hence, not only the team implementing an OSS will be free of the burden of maintaining short notes, they will have unlimited support for any unforeseen requirement update!

In-House Development (IHD):

  • Readily available Vs Feature Control

Everything has to be done from scratch so not only, the newly developed features are to be maintained over time but updating third party tools and the conflicts of versions has to be kept in mind.

  • Easy Deployment Vs Future Requirements

Neither the deployment will be easy nor there would be any support for the requirements. Maintaining such models is a hard job.

  • Software Maintenance

There is no monetary cost but it is still costly. Your question might be WHY? Intriguing right? “Time” is also a kind of cost that will play an important role while implementing IHD model. The time required to think extensively for the architecture required and master every aspect of the already available modules can still leave a lot of loopholes in development and continuous maintenance will be required at each step whenever there will be an update in the development.

  • Community Support

There will no help available and at every step engineers who are new to the specific software will require to refer to the documentation for learning the concepts being used and the architecture design.

  • Internal Documentation

Internal documentation will have to be maintained at a very extensive level. It will incur the cost of time. It might require additional resources as well to maintain the documentation which is another definition of “cost”.

Hybrid Approach:

Combining two development models can sometimes provide the best fit as one model at all times dos not provide all that is necessary to accomplish the goal. If an open source tool is used along with a customized layer of third-party tools and utilities. It can help provide the following:

  • Readily available Vs Feature Control

Everything does not have to be prepared from scratch so it is partly readily available. Features can be added as per architecture requirements free of cost combining utilities and tools.

  • Easy Deployment Vs Future Requirements

Future Requirements can easily be maintained with little overhead in terms of resources and time.

  • Software Maintenance

There are multiple open source libraries available to help provide for the different needs of the software solution required. Since architecture is custom designed, it can have any level of flexibility as per team’s requirement.

  • Community Support

Online forums and support groups can provide a lot of help when faced with challenges.

  • Internal Documentation

Extensive documentation is not required. A basic flow describing the architecture and role of third-party tools can help new team members in understanding the project.

So, as per the above metrics Hybrid Softwares can be the best choice. Most important of all factors it saves time, energy to maintain and provides all the best features to manage and maintain the architecture as the team desires with no overhead in terms of monetary cost.

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2019-01-29T15:10:50+00:00January 24th, 2019|

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