Enterprise users are slowly turning to open source even though security and support remain key worries for sysadmins.

A survey on behalf of the Independent Oracle Users Group, conducted by Unisphere, found that the percentage of enterprises for whom the majority of their applications were open source had risen from nine percent to 13 percent. However, among companies of fewer than 500 employees the figure was even higher, with 24 percent of these running systems where open source applications were in the majority.

The trend is set to continue: 53 percent of companies surveyed expected that their usage of open source will rise next year with only two percent expecting a decrease. However, most companies surveyed expressed concerns about the quality of support, with 54 percent of respondents stating that enterprise support was not as robust as those from commercial packages.

Most open-source adopters are driven by financial concerns, 67 percent of the adherents say that cost saving is the primary reason for adopting open source; the second most popular reason – avoiding vendor lock-in - is cited by just 28 percent of respondents.

The overwhelming choice for open-source database was MySQL, with 74 percent of companies using an open-source database opting for it – well ahead of the 33 percent opting for Oracle Express and the 20 percent choosing PostgreSQL.

Zack Urlocker, MySQL’s vice president of marketing said that he expected there to be a big explosion in the take-up of open source software within the next few years. “Some time within the next two years, five years, ten years, there’s going to be a big inflexion point. You can see already that the start-ups in Silicon Valley who, a few years ago would have spent their funding on Oracle, are now spending on open source.”

He said that MySQL was set to benefit from the growing increase in web-based computing. “We’re not going to compete with Oracle in their installed base, our strength is in the growing use of the web, the so-called Enterprise 2.0 applications.”