vtiger on demand – Open Source as a Service
There is a clear general trend towards outsourced software as a service, back when this first became a viable concept technically it seemed complete madness to me to have all your valuable data locked up on some server you never even get to see. You would be at the mercy of the vendor, subject to them raising their prices or going out of business and with very little recourse when they do. This remains a major business risk with proprietary software as a service, but the benefits of not requiring in-house hardware and expertise to install and manage a useful and scalable solution are still quite compelling.
With Open Source as a Service things are somewhat different, you still get to wash your hands of the installation and management of the hardware and software, upgrades just happen and they are someone else’s problem. You get the low cost of entry and prices that that are in proportion to the amount of users that are getting value from it. You also get Freedom instead of lock-in. You can take your hosted cloud based software and run the same code somewhere else. Either on another bit of remote hardware you never see, or on a box with flashing lights that sits quietly in a broom cupboard somewhere in your building. You are not at all locked in to Open Source as a Service, you are using it because it provides benefits you want at a price that is good value, as well as financially supporting the further development of the software.
So the announcement today is that The Open Learning Centre is partnering with vtiger CRM to bring the vtiger on demand Open Source as a Service to the UK market. This is hosted out in the cloud (Amazon EC2 to be precise) and managed on a day to day basis by the vtiger engineers. We can provide an optional on-site training day to complement the hosted service and of course at any time you can transition from the hosted CRM to one of our Ubuntu based Libertus servers (or the other way round if you like). This is just one example of how Software Freedom makes total business sense and it illustrates the difference between free as in no cost and the much more important free as in Freedom.