By Tom Erickson, Acquia CEO
Summary: Ever-popular among developers, open source technology has moved away from the fringes of tech right to the center of the enterprise, thanks to its high level of security and agility.
In the span of just a few years, open source has produced businesses that are incredibly attractive to the investment community. In 2012, open source venture investment jumped 80 percent over the prior year with $553 million invested, compared to $307 million in 2011. VCs have flocked to darlings like MongoDB, Open Stack, Cloudera, Puppet Labs and Hortonworks because these companies are solving incredibly difficult challenges in the cloud and big data arena faster than any proprietary software vendor could.
So why the big increase in interest now? Open source software has been around for years, in many cases implemented on the fringes by developers who prefer the freedom and flexibility of contributing to the evolution of the platforms with which they choose to work. There were even early glimmers of promise; for example, Linux proved to be a fast, effective server platform for many businesses before it grew to be one of the largest open source communities and the third-largest web client operating system in the world.
But today, open source has crossed over from a niche techie outlier to a driving force for businesses.