Over the past few weeks I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting quite a few senior mangers and executives from some of the world’s largest companies to talk about source code management (SCM). The recurring theme from them all has been their readiness to adopt an open source product to manage their source code.
The product in question is Subversion.
Now that’s pretty cool, but now consider that most of these companies are ripping out proprietary technology in favor of Subversion and you have an industry trend that may already be upon us.
This isn’t new though – who would have thought that Linux would challenge Windows, JBoss would challenge BEA or even that MySQL would dare to take on Oracle. By the time the market realizes that open source is a legitimate challenger, it’s already happened. The result is nearly always a commodity market with terrific downward price pressures – good for customers, bad for vendors.
Subversion is showing those characteristics. Managers seem to understand that the SCM repository is commodity. They should not be paying millions of dollars in support and maintenance for that. Add administration costs to the equation, and proprietary SCM is an expensive proposition – even for companies with huge IT budgets.
So is cost the reason so many are looking to Subversion? Well, sure its free, but that’s not enough – CVS is free remember, and growth for that product has slowed dramatically. Subversion is really liked by the development community so there’s lots of innovation. Many of the annoying things with CVS such as a lack of atomic commits are fixed with Subversion. This makes Subversion a whole lot easier to adopt from a large enterprise perspective. What’s more, the Apache/BSD license is not as intrusive as GPL, particularly for vendors looking to OEM.
So the future is looking good for Subversion, which is great news for our company, WANdisco. In fact the timing could hardly be better. Many companies looking at Subversion usually have multiple sites so they go and look for a Subversion Multi-Site product. A cursory glance at Google will quickly get you to our active/active replication solution for Subversion. Disaster recovery is also a significant issue, and we can provide that on a WAN scale… more about that next time.