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Adopting a new puppy is not without surprises. The soft fur, big eyes and playful joy capture your heart in a split second. It’s love at first sight. Day 1 is all fun and games—nothing could be better. Day 2? Well, reality sets in. The teeth marks on the chair leg, your favorite sneakers are destroyed and the remnants of your fluffy pillow are scattered around the living room floor. Puppies need supervision, training, attention and time—lots of time.

And open source deployment?

Well, in many ways, bringing open source into your development environment or data center can feel the same. Adopting—er, deploying—open source projects in a production environment can feel a lot like raising a puppy.

According to Ed Blackwell, VMware CTO Ambassador and Principal Cloud Architect, open source deployment can pose some interesting and unexpected challenges. Even before Day 2 arrives, there’s testing, integration and patching to do. Once in production, those Day 2 challenges arrive: reliability, scaling, support and upgrades, to name a few. But, you still want that puppy (technology). So, now what?

An important first step when considering adopting open source is to understand the scope of the project or technology being considered and the capacity of your team. For a smaller project with a limited footprint in your environment, the challenges may be quite manageable. For a larger project, such as OpenStack, the implications are more widespread—and may be more akin to “litter of puppies,” according to Blackwell. For some, the extra investment and effort is well worth it. For others, the payoff is too small or uncertain to justify the choice.

How can you get the benefits of open source while minimizing surprises? Do your homework. Evaluate your choices. In many cases, vendors may offer a supported version of the open source project you are considering. These vendor-supported distributions offer a tested, stable and supported “productized” version of the open source project. This gives you and your staff more confidence that the technology will work as expected.

Want to learn more about open source? Attend the Open Source Summit in Los Angeles September 11-14. VMware will be there to showcase our open source projects, present on some key technologies and open source contributions and meet with the open source community.

And you can visit puppies, too. The Linux Foundation will host L.A. Animal Rescue to bring Puppy Pawlooza to Open Source Summit! Attendees are welcome to enjoy playtime with these shelter dogs Wednesday inside the sponsor showcase. If a couple of hours with these furry friends is not enough, all dogs will be available for adoption.