The cost savings for open source software (OSS) are well documented. Of all cloud vendors, 90% use Linux-based virtualization for their cloud-computing solutions, including heavy hitters like Amazon.

In 2010, MeriTalk—an online community and go-to resource for government IT—launched its Federal Cloud Computing Savings Calculator. The online calculator projects agencies’ potential cloud savings. According to real IT budget numbers entered by Feds into the calculator, we could have seen savings of between $2.1 and $3.3 billion by clouding steady-state programs, and—incredibly—between $25.3 and $32.8 billion by clouding new IT investments over just three years’ time. Yes, those potential savings are in the billions!

Here at Partnet, we have some first-hand experience with saving the government millions of dollars using open source technologies. Partnet is a major developer of Defense Logistics Agency‘s (DLA) DOD Electronic Mall (DOD EMALL) and has been using open source technology to support the site since 1998. In 2005, Partnet participated in developing a modernization plan for DLA’s DOD EMALL. By deciding to host the web-based eCommerce site on Red Hat Linux rather than a proprietary system, the program saw an initial cost savings of $1.5M and additional savings of $800,000 per year.

In October 2012, OpenITGov announced a toolset for the public sector to build IT systems supporting online services to citizens. OpenITGov claims a significant cost savings by using their alternative solutions. The About Us section for OpenITGov reads: “OpenITGov is a technology partnership that provides a fully integrated set of open source software alternatives that enable low-cost, modern and engaging software applications for the new public sector. “

OpenITGov includes enterprise portal software from Entando; business intelligence software from Jaspersoft; analytics database from Infobright; enterprise service bus from GreenVulcano and Red Hat’s Linux operating system and Jboss application server.”

Money can be saved in almost any IT application being developed, which is perhaps the most compelling reason that government should consider open source software for all projects.

We’ve already had a quick introduction to OSS, and now we’ve discussed the huge cost savings associated with OSS solutions. Be sure to check back in for Part 3 of this blog series, where we will explore where in the government open source software is already being utilized to save money for taxpayers.



This is the second in my four-part series: The Open Source Advantage.

Missed a post in the Open Source Advantage series? Check out Part 1: Introduction to OSS.