Why Dynatrace is investing in open-source software development


David Hirsch

December 21, 2021

Using open-source software and developing it is nothing new at Dynatrace — but now we have officially made the step towards establishing an open-source program office.

We are open. Open source.

Developing software and making it open source may seem daunting to many enterprises. Why would you invest time and money developing something that is given away for free? Wouldn’t it make more sense to use these resources to develop your sellable product or service?

On paper, this may seem like a logical question, nevertheless, open-source program offices have been popping up across the board in many of the leading software enterprises worldwide: Facebook, Google, SAP — just to name some.

Dynatrace is no stranger to the open-source community. Keptn is just an example of a tool that was born within Dynatrace and is fully open source and part of the Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Landscape. But there are even more tools and extensions that were started internally and are now available in our Dynatrace Open-Source Software organization in Github, for everybody to use.

We have encouraged employees to innovate and create new tools since the beginning — both in their everyday work and by dedicating specific time for innovation days every few months.

Now, we are embracing our open-source culture even further and making it official. We have made the move and turned our Innovation Lab into the Open-Source Program Office (OSPO).

Although OSPO is a standardized name, each one operates differently, that’s why I wanted to share with this blog post what OSPO looks like at Dynatrace. But first, let’s look at the reasons why we think investing in open source is a good idea.

Why invest in open source?

Dynatrace has been investing in open source for some years and we have already seen and reaped the benefits within our company’s culture. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Higher employee motivation
  • Employees are given the possibility to follow their ideas and develop them.
  • Daily tasks are less monotonous if you can switch between projects when you want to.
  • Faster development
  • External contributors can alongside your employees, making the development of your open-source projects faster.
  • Elevated employer brand
  • Engineers get a window into the cutting-edge engineering of your company that they wouldn’t otherwise get.
  • Better code, better software
  • More eyes and brains on the same code make for better code quality.
  • Direct feedback from users
  • Open source gives you the rare opportunity of gathering open, honest, and direct feedback to improve your product directly from users.

What does the open-source program office do at Dynatrace?

Our OSPO team charter looks like this:

“Our OSPO helps Dynatracers consume and contribute to strategic open-source projects in a safe and secure way. We want to build 1st class software by making the process as simple as possible. Finally, we strive to create successful and sustainable communities.”

The goal of the OSPO at Dynatrace is not to be an open-source gatekeeper. We aim to be an “open-source red carpet”. What does this mean in practice?

We are currently a team of 6, supporting Dynatracers from the starting idea for an open-source project to implementation, from launch to maintenance. We help them find supporters and contributors both within and outside the company. We enable them in many ways to make their open-source projects successful.

Here are some of the support services that OSPO offers our employees:

  • Creating a development roadmap
  • Creating a brand for the project
  • Organizing an internal team
  • Raising external awareness of the project to attract contributors
  • Developing a content strategy (documentation, social media, tutorials, etc.)
  • Training on advocacy and presentation of your projects
  • Finding the right partners to elevate your project
  • Ensuring licensing compliance
  • Aligning the project to Dynatrace and open-source standards

As already mentioned, one of the most successful examples of open-source projects is currently Keptn. But we are already in the process of supporting Dynatracers with other open-source projects, like Monaco.

We are very excited to have finally made our efforts official by founding the OSPO at Dynatrace, and we are looking forward to supporting current and future open-source projects in their endeavors.

Why Dynatrace is investing in open-source software development was originally published in Dynatrace Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Written by


David Hirsch