Five Open Source Projects that MSPs Should Be Following

The projects are building platforms that are poised to become increasingly important in the managed IT services market.

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If you're in the managed services business, you need to stay on top of the latest technologies. Here are five open source projects that MSPs should be watching.

Some of these open source projects are still young and evolving. Others are established. Either way, the projects are building platforms that are poised to become increasingly important in the managed IT services market.

The projects include:

  • Docker. You have probably heard of Docker containers by now. But it's no longer enough to have Docker just in the back of your mind. Now that Docker containers are entering production environments, you should be following Docker closely as the platform continues to mature in order to know when it's the right time to add Docker to the services you offer -- and/or to use Docker containers to help build your own infrastructure.
  • OpenStack. The OpenStack cloud computing platform -- some call it a cloud computing operating system -- has been around for several years. Adoption has been relatively slow, but steady. Today, if you want to build your own cloud, or one for your clients, using open source software, OpenStack is the way to do it -- especially now that the OpenStack ecosystem offers so many plugins and extensions.
  • Apache Spark. Apache Spark, a real-time data analytics platform, has also been out for a while. Other real-time analytics platforms exist but Spark is becoming the defacto solution for processing large amounts of data instantly. If you do anything with big data, you should be following Spark.
  • Fission.io. Fission is an open source solution for serverless functions on top of Kubernetes. It's an open source alternative to AWS Lambda. Serverless computing isimportant for MSPs, and Fission may be just what you need to build your own serverless offering that delivers better value to customers than serverless solutions based in the public cloud.
  • LibreOffice. Last but not least is LibreOffice, the open source office productivity suite derived from OpenOffice.org. Open source office packages have been available for decades, and are already widely used. If you supply office productivity solutions to your customers, and you want to avoid the licenses fees that come with Microsoft Office, LibreOffice may be just what you need. And it keeps evolving all the time -- so if the last time you tried an open source word processor was years ago, it's worth revisiting them now.

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