Walmart’s big open source investment

Walmart’s backing of the Hapi project, an open source Node.js framework, represents a significant financial commitment (over $2m). Why would Walmart be investing in open source options when it could simply pick up some proprietary code from elsewhere? Eran Hammer, a senior developer at Walmart labs lays out some of the reasons for us in a recent blog post. Key to the argument in favour of open source spending is return on investment and as Hammer explains, for the decision to make financial sense first required them “to develop success parameters that enable us to demonstrate the value”.

Once the ROI becomes quantifiable, the expense becomes much easier to justify. Walmart is ready to work in the open precisely because it recognises that it get’s a lot of value for its money that way. In fact, by Hammer’s assessment “by paying developers to work on Hapi full time, we get back twice (or more) that much in engineering value.” Read Simon’s thoughts and interpretation in his Infoworld article.