While enterprises believe open source software provides benefits including higher quality software and innovations, they also perceive barriers to adoption including levels of support and compatibility, according to a Red Hat report assessing enterprise open source usage.

Curiously, security shows up as both a positive and negative in the report, with open source seen as offering better security but the security of the code seen as a barrier. Released on March 2, the 2021 State of Enterprise Open Source report covers data collected from interviews with 1,250 IT leaders worldwide, who were not necessarily Red Hat customers, Red Hat said.

Asked the top benefits of using open source software, 35% cited higher quality, 33% noted access to the latest innovations, 30% said it had better security, and 30% cited an ability to safely leverage open source technologies. Overall, 87% saw enterprise open source as more secure or as secure as proprietary software.

When asked about barriers to open source adoption, 42% cited level of support, 38% cited compatibility, 35% cited the security of code, and 35% cited the lack of internal skills. Concerns about security, which ranked as the top barrier to open source adoption in last year’s report, do seem to be trending downward. This is the third year of the report’s publication.

Other findings of the 2021 State of Enterprise Open Source report:

  • 90% of participants were using open source software.
  • 79% expect to increase their use of open source software in the next two years for emerging technologies. Use of open source software in edge computing/IoT and AI/ML is expected to significantly outpace proprietary software during that period.
  • 64% use enterprise open source software for IT infrastructure modernization, making this the top use for the third consecutive year. Also, 54% use it for application development and 53% leverage it for digital transformation, with moves to remote working accelerating digital transformation efforts.
  • The top places where open source software is being used include networking, database, and security.
  • Slightly less than 50% of respondents worldwide report using containers in production while an additional 37% use them for development only.
  • Kubernetes was overwhelmingly seen as important to cloud-native application strategies for its container orchestration.
  • 69% of respondents prefer to use multiple vendors for cloud infrastructure.