Open source should be a part of any long-term strategic plan. If you have not incorporated it into your IT strategy, you risk missing very significant benefits. Open source has matured and now has a quantifiable benefit in every IT operation. There are several alternatives worth considering.
Samba is a great solution for mitigating the maintenance costs and license fees associated with file-and-print services. It can be easily implemented in any IT environment. Day-to-day maintenance of a Samba server is less than any other file-and-print server. Other benefits include reduced administrative tasks, no license fees, simplicity and cost savings associated with the delivery of IT services.
Alternatively, an IT shop looking to implement a cost-effective collaboration environment when IT has been called to select and implement the tool set will be well-served by SourceForge. SourceForge.net hosts 18,850 projects with more than 150,000 contributing users. An equal propriety solution supporting as many users would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Open source can solve specific infrastructure issues, such as the costs for managing the number of software licenses required to keep infrastructure running, along with the extra costs of proprietary software and/or appliances. The list of open-source applications from which to choose is extensive:
Apache is the most widely available application and replaces proprietary solutions such as IIS. Squid is a widely adapted caching solution, which replaces expensive appliance-based solutions. The integration of Linux Virtual Server and Heart Beat offers excellent local-server load balancing and monitoring. Enhydra, a Java beans app-server solution, serves as an alternative to applications such as IBMs WebSphere and ColdFusion.
To be sure, many supposedly proprietary appliance and software solutions in todays Internet infrastructure are based on open-source software. Its definitely an option to be open-minded about.