When is Open Source not Enough?

I recently contributed an article to CM Crossroads on when (or whether) to upgrade from an open source Continuous Integration (CI) system to a fully automated enterprise system.  It’s a question we get a lot.  To help our customers assess their needs, I always start by asking these seven questions:

  • Are you creating builds more than once a day?
  • Do you have multiple end products (targets, platforms) for your builds?
  • Is your current CI environment made up of multiple, standalone systems throughout the company?
  • Are your teams geographically dispersed?
  • Is it difficult to scale your build-test-deploy environment to the next level?
  • Are there barriers to sharing and reusing scripts?
  • Is it challenging to track builds over time and conduct cross-project reporting?

If the answer is yes to two or more of the above questions, it’s usually a sign that the CI environment has become too complex for open source.   While making a tool switch may sound painful, the performance improvement and reduced scripting/maintenance you realize from the change is almost always worth the effort.

Anders Wallgren

Anders Wallgren is Chief Technical Officer of Electric Cloud. Anders brings with him over 25 years of in-depth experience designing and building commercial software. Previously, Anders held executive and management positions at Aceva, Archistra, Impresse, Macromedia (MACR), Common Ground Software and Verity (VRTY). Anders holds a B.SC from MIT.

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2 responses to “When is Open Source not Enough?”

  1. I’m sorry but I will disagree with your assessment. I’m a EC Accelerator customer but the decision to purchase has more to do with the quality of the tool and not with the fact it’s open source or not.

    I think you have a great product but proprietary close code is not an argument, specially when you post on WordPress, use MySql as your default DB, run on Red Hat, …

    The world runs on Open Source today and I will choose a good Open Source tool/application over a bad proprietary one any day.

  2. Anders Wallgren says:


    Thank you for your comment.

    My response to your comment is straightforward: I am not forwarding the propostition against which you argue. In fact, I agree with you: there’s nothing inherently superior in either proprietary or open source solutions. If open source solves my problem, I, too, will choose it every time.

    The point I am making is much more narrowly focused: currently available open source tools for build/test management and acceleration are not up to the task of more complex enterprise scenarios. The article talks about how we work with customers to identify requirements that go beyond what today’s free tools can do.

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