The Goldilocks effect - how much Open Source is just right? - Arkivum

Archiving & Preservation / 28 May, 2019

The Goldilocks effect – how much Open Source is just right?

There are a broad range of views on this topic about how much Open Source Software (OSS) is the right amount to include in your IT solution. Our view at Arkivum is to include some open source components within our solution as we believe that gives you the benefits of using open source without the risks.



No vendor or data lock-in


Our customers benefit further by having no dependency on particular vendors (ourselves included) and more importantly, no lock in of their data so they have complete control of their data at all times. It also means we can provide our customers with a reduced total cost of ownership and they can benefit from knowing the technology is industry adopted and therefore tried and tested by the wider community. Because there isn’t a commercial driver behind the development of OSS it usually means a good quality solution because of the sheer number of developers in the community continuously developing it. And because we are continuously developing our Arkivum software further to make sure the solution fully meets your user requirements, our customers benefit from robust, good quality software that has been tailored with their specific needs in mind, which isn’t always the case with OSS alone.


Building OSS components into the Arkivum solution removes the risks that typically come when dealing with open source software, such as our software is fully supported by the Arkivum support team whereas OSS is usually unsupported. This means you don’t need in-house experts to take responsibility for updating and supporting the software. Any OSS components are brought fully into our secure data management protocols and procedures to make it secure and less susceptible to malicious attacks.



Industry adopted components embedded and certified


Our aim is to provide software which delivers transparency, adheres to industry open standards, supports open implementations and collaboration across the community, open APIs for easy data sharing and ingest, and of course, built in exit and data migration strategies.


By combining industry standard open source components with our proprietary technology, we can provide an enterprise-grade multi-tenanted solution running in the cloud, which provides performance and scalability with solid security and full auditability. Where we use open source software it’s embedded and certified as part of our enterprise software release. It also means we can deliver solutions that support open specifications and meet open standards that can integrate easily into your full data management IT estate. This includes our use of the Archivematica functionality to power the preservation module within the Arkivum product, providing our customers with archival best practices, seamless workflows and a great user experience all round.



Baked in exit strategy from day one


One of the biggest benefits to this unique solution of part open source and part proprietary software is that we’ve been able to bake in an exit strategy from day one. When Arkivum started over 8 years ago, we were regularly asked “who in their right mind would trust a start-up company to look after their valuable data for 20 years plus?” and rightly so. It made us realise that credibility and trust was an essential part of launching Arkivum, so we built an exit strategy to establish trust and assure customers that even if Arkivum ceases to exist at some point in the future, you can still get all of your content back. As we discussed on the recent Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) webinar, exit strategies are something that everyone should have in place for in-house or hosted solutions, open source or proprietary, and companies large and small. We also encourage everyone to regularly test them, so you don’t have to leave it until you really need to action them to ensure they work.


The Goldilocks effect - how much Open Source is just right?

The pros and cons of too little, too much and just right amounts of open source


What’s next?


Open source-based technologies are becoming a default option for digital archiving, with more and more service providers building on top of OSS to create robust, valuable products that adhere to open standards such as OAIS (Open Archival Information System) so they can truly support good collaboration across organisations, communities and geographies. This market is moving more towards DaaS (Data as a Service) and less DIY (Do It Yourself) options as increasingly sophisticated solutions are becoming available at competitive prices.



The Goldilocks effect


There are benefits to using Open Source Software and there are benefits to using proprietary software, however we feel that by combining the two, Arkivum can offer the benefits of both without the risks. That’s why we feel at Arkivum we have the amount of OSS in our software “just right”.


Join our webinar, Digital Preservation Futures; a horizon scan for effective data management planning to understand why this approach is so important when it comes to managing your long term data effectively. Click here for more info and to register.

Emma Davenport

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