Software and Data Freedom in the Cloud

At OTRS, we’ve always had a strong commitment to freedom. Our products are built using open source tools and the OTRS source code is freely available to everyone. For us, as a business that believes in the principles of Free Software, it’s important that our users be free to obtain, use, modify or share our products without restriction.

Today, we’re backing this belief with action: OTRS OnDemand, our new SaaS offering, lets our customers access the OTRS suite through the cloud, and also own both the data and the application with our Pack&Go export feature.

Your Data, Your Software

The Pack&Go feature of OTRS OnDemand lets customers export all their data, together with a full, open-source copy of the OTRS application. Yes, you read that right! You can download the full application that we run in the cloud, along with your data, and you can also export that data into other easily-understood formats, like CSV.

In short, Pack&Go gives you the freedom to exit our SaaS offering at any time free of charge, without ever needing to worry about data being locked away or lost for good in the cloud because, with OTRS OnDemand, you own the application and you own the data.

This is revolutionary for us, and for the industry as a whole. I don’t know of any other major open source project offering this kind of freedom to its users, and we are proud to be the ones leading the way.

Open Software, Open Service, Open Business

Why are we doing this? Very simply, we believe that open source is all about freedom:

  • freedom from proprietary technologies,
  • freedom from inflexible business models,
  • freedom from the gilded cage of vendor lock-in.

Part of that freedom is the ability to take a valuable business asset – your data – and then mine it, manipulate it and extract information from it without any restrictions from your software vendor. After all, as Tim O’Reilly pointed out in his keynote address at Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) 2010, it’s your data and you should be free to use it any way you want.

Users Owning the Cloud

But why stop there? Why not take the software with you as well? With Pack&Go, you can download the OTRS application and start using it on site, in your hosting environment or data center. Your data comes with it, so you can continue right where you left off in the cloud.

Now, you’re not just using the cloud … you’re owning it as well!

There’s a reason for this, and it’s an important one. We want our customers to not only have full control of their data at all times, but also the ability to use their data out of the box, wherever they are. We want our software and our licensing model to promote (not prohibit) use of our product, because we firmly believe this adds flexibility, creates richer and more meaningful conversations between users, and produces higher quality software overall. We want to build an open ecosystem – open software, open services, open data –  that encompasses both “cloud” and “not-cloud” and offers our customers maximum flexibility and choice.

About mindermann

André Mindermann is the co-founder and CEO of OTRS Group. He also has a keen personal interest in philosophy, which he continues to study at university, and which he combines with his professional career by writing a regular column on philosophical issues in Manager Magazine.

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