This blog post was produced by RTInsights in collaboration with Red Hat

Who Are the Leaders in Open Source Software for IoT Application Development?


Which vendors lead in open source IoT development tools? Our RTInsights survey looks at the intersection of IoT, dev tools, and open source software.

The role of open source software (OSS) in IoT application development is unmistakable. But who are the vendors that enterprises look to for open source IoT development tools? We decided to find out with a survey that looked at the intersection of IoT, developer tools, and open source software (see “Research Objectives and Methodology,” below, for details on the 2017 Worldwide IoT Innovation Survey, conducted by RTInsights).

In an earlier article, we discussed how open source software tools were preferred by enterprises currently involved in IoT development as well as enterprises that classify themselves as leaders in IoT development. Given the high level of OSS tool use for IoT development, we were interested in who enterprises consider the leaders in OSS tools for IoT development. We asked this exact question in the survey.

To help ensure objectivity, we asked enterprises to rank order the top five vendors in open source tools for IoT development. We rotated a list of 12 vendors and evaluated the results both on the basis of the greatest number of first-place votes as well as total mentions (total number of votes regardless of relative placement). The figure below shows the top five vendors based on the percent of total mentions.

blog 3 figure

Red Hat (76 percent) is the clear leader in Figure 1 followed by Google (68 percent), Microsoft (63 percent), Oracle (56 percent), and IBM (53 percent). Red Hat’s leadership is due to its sole focus on open source tools. While Red Hat is best known for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the company offers an extensive portfolio of tools for virtualization, application platforms, middleware, messaging, mobility, storage, and system/application management. Red Hat also received more first-place votes than any other vendor, by a wide margin.

Google’s strong commitment to open source is likely why it is ranked second in Figure 1. Google helped leverage open source to establish Google Cloud Platform. Google leadership in a variety of high-profile open source projects including Kubernetes, Apache Beam, TensorFlow, and Spinnaker have helped raise its visibility and image across the developer community.

Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM – while historically known for their proprietary tools – have all embraced open source software. Microsoft open-sourced .NET, and Azure has a strong open source slant with over 40 percent of virtual machines on Azure running Linux. Many Azure services are also integrated with OSS tools.

See also: Is IoT development that different from web development?

Oracle has a strong reputation in open source primarily from its stewardship of Java. Oracle has also developed a highly successful Oracle Linux distribution. IBM has a long history of involvement with OSS and one that increases every year. IBM’s cloud platform has open source roots from the Cloud Foundry Foundation, and IBM owes much of its recent success to open source. IBM is also widely involved in many open source initiatives across every vertical industry.

While Red Hat is the overall leader in open source tools for IoT development, IoT is a highly nuanced topic and every vendor listed in Figure 1 has a comprehensive set of capabilities that addresses a wide variety of IoT development needs. When cloud, mobility, big data, analytics, DevOps, system management, application development, and messaging/connectivity are all considered (as they would be for IoT application development), every one of the vendors in Figure 1 has a strong IoT portfolio – although Red Hat is the only vendor that provides exclusively open source.

For more information on our survey, click here to download the complete survey report, “The Impact of Open Source Software on Developing IoT Solutions.”

Research Objectives and Methodology

This article highlights key findings from the 2017 Worldwide IoT Innovation Survey conducted by RTInsights and sponsored by Red Hat. The objective of this survey was to understand the impact of open source software (OSS) on the development of IoT applications. We targeted IT decision-makers at large and very large enterprises in October and November of 2017. Our sample of 253 IT decision makers was split nearly evenly between senior managers in IT operations and application development. The enterprises that we surveyed spanned all major vertical industries other than those directly involved in providing IT services and support.

Stephen Hendrick

About Stephen Hendrick

Steve Hendrick specializes in application development and management research including DevOps, application management, application platforms, decision analytics, middleware, and the broad spectrum of tools and technologies that support professional developers and IT managers. Steve has over 25 years of experience as an industry analyst and 10 years of experience across a variety of application development roles. Steve brings advanced quantitative and qualitative research techniques to bear as an industry analyst providing vendors with deep insight into markets and has developed research across the entire application development and deployment family of markets. Areas where Steve has pioneered research and thought leadership include DevOps, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Decision Analytics, and Vendor/Buyer Journey research.

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