Published on September 25th, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan


Open Source vs Commercial databases: The Pro’s and Con’s of Each

There are two distinct choices for business owners who need software: open source software and commercial software. Organisations are increasingly opting for open source solutions, as global sales for enterprise software grow each year.

Let’s weigh the commercial and open-source software pros and cons to determine your business’s suitable option. But before we look into that, you should first understand what each solution entails.

What Is Open Source Software?

In simple terms, open-source implies that anyone can view that application’s source code. You can find lots of approved open source licenses, including permissive licensing that enables you to do just about anything and those with more strict enforcement on that software usage.

Generally speaking, the open-source software provides some surprisingly attractive options since they are often full-featured RDBMS (relational database management system) available either for free or at an affordable cost. PostgreSQL and MySQL are some of the most prominent of these particular database platforms.

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Pros of Open Source

Some of the benefits of using open source software are:

– Bug-fixes may be implemented fast without going through the long corporate approval process.

– Ability to use additional software such as EDBPostgres to further enhance the efficiency and speed with the popular open source database, PostgreSQL.

– You can get the software for free, with less strict licensing requirements. There is a freely available open-source software alternative for each type of paid software with the same features.

– The software can be audited for security reasons. When it comes to security, the big win in utilising open source programs is that they’re transparent by design. If you have enough technical expertise, you can inspect the source code and report or fix possible security problems. In fact, some open source companies provide bounties for bug reports when you contribute to their products’ security.

– The software might work across a wide range of platforms.

– The qualitative shift in the entire open source ecosystem and community. Today, the lion’s share of open source products is generated within the corporate business. It’s not unusual to find that much of the OSS project code is written by the same employees who create commercial software.

Cons of Open Source

Some of the potential drawbacks of using free software are:

– The support is offered by volunteer computer enthusiasts instead of paid staff members. In general, open-source products are only safe provided they’re actively supported and maintained.

– There’s no guarantee that the software will work in that particular user’s environment off the shelf. There might be compatibility problems with existing hardware or software, to begin with. Then, it will need an assigned professional to install and maintain its infrastructure.

– An increased security risk. Undoubtedly, even the well-supported and widely used software might contain security exploits.

– Open source maintainer burnout effect. At times, the contributors leave the projects after continued discouraging criticism of their particular work.

– The software’s development and support plans might be limited or uncertain. Multiple factors might play a role in the future of a particular open source project once it’s released.

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What Is Commercial Software?

Simply put, commercial software is created and distributed for commercial purposes. As you might have learned, this article talks more of open source vs.. Proprietary software that’s typically distributed for a fee. But, there’s a variety of commercial software models available, such as free commercial software.

So, with non-free licensing, you will incur an initial charge for the software and an extra annual charge for support. It’s the software vendor’s responsibility to deal with quality control, along with further upgrades, maintenance, and tech support. Typically, the company selling that software is expected to offer updates, bug fixes, and patches.

Pros of Commercial

Some of the benefits of using commercial software for various business purposes are:

– A single point of contact for any issues. This is as simple as it sounds. Once you’ve paid for a particular software product, there’s a tangible counterpart to address in case a problem arises.

– Clear licensing and usage requirements. Among the many advantages of commercial software for businesses is the fact that a well-documented guarantee accompanies it.

– A well-defined development plan for the software. Mostly, timely updates enable companies to curb the expenses that arise from technical failures.

Cons of Commercial

Of course, you can find some potential disadvantages of commercial software too. Those potential pitfalls are:

– Stringent licensing guidelines. In general, more than a quarter of businesses admit going for over-licensing because of being afraid of software audits.

– No guarantees that particular software will perform as required. It is only fair to expect a secure and high-performing solution when it’s backed by a QA team, a corporate image, and professional support. But, that’s not necessarily the case.

– Risk of software license waste. Apart from the software necessary for your business’ operation, there is a high likelihood that the app will only be sitting there unused.

– Proprietary source code. You can’t tailor the source code for your requirements. For some extra functionality, you’ll have to upgrade to a relatively more expensive plan.

– The vendor might choose to discontinue the software. In turn, business owners will have to go for a comparable software package. Changing to a new software solution might cost you money and time, as well as data migration and integration problems. It will probably demand re-training stuff too.

The Bottom Line

Wrapping up, both open-source software and commercial software have their benefits and pitfalls. As a database consumer, the open-source products provide a cost-appealing alternative to their commercial counterparts.

Open-source software actually combines all the benefits of open source and commercial web solutions: high and stable performance, high-quality source code, and a high-security level against hacker attacks.

Cover Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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