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Linux's TCO 40% lower than Windows.

jamesp

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http://www.techworld.com/opsys/news/index.cfm?newsid=4321&inkc=0

01 September 2005 Linux 40 percent cheaper than Windows, exclaims IBM

By Matthew Broersma, Techworld

Linux's total cost of operation (TCO) is typically 40 percent lower than Windows, according to an IBM-sponsored report from the Robert Frances Group (RFG), publicised by IBM this week.

The report [pdf] comes after two years of Microsoft-sponsored research heralding the benefits of Windows over Linux, although IBM denied it is a direct response.





Ironically, the study appears just as Unilever has revealed it is scaling back ambitious Linux plans announced two years ago. Unilever argues that Linux's cost benefits have declined so far that the project is no longer worth it.

The Robert Frances study will be welcomed by companies looking for solid data on Linux cost benefits, even if it is sponsored by a company that's sunk more than $1 billion into promoting the open-source operating system. The relatively few independent studies of Linux's TCO have come to similar conclusions to the Robert Frances study. For example, last year an Australian IT services firm concluded that Linux installations could be up to 36 percent cheaper to install and run over a period of three years than comparable Windows systems, though support and hardware costs could lower the savings to as little as 19 percent.

The Robert Frances study simplifies things by examining a single application layer found in most enterprises - application servers - and compares installations on Linux using x86 hardware, Windows on x86 and Solaris on Sparc. (Researchers attempted to gather data on Solaris on Opteron, but this combination is relatively new and wasn't encountered in the course of the study.)

The overall finding was that Linux was 40 percent less expensive than a comparable Windows system and 54 percent less than Solaris, based on a three-year period of ownership for a system supporting 100,000 operations per second on the SPECjbb benchmark. The research was based on in-depth interviews with IT executives from more than 20 medium and large enterprises - all with more than 250 employees - in industries such as education, entertainment, finance, government and retail.

Based on this finding, the study recommends executives consider Linux for most high-transaction environments. While admitting that Linux's cost savings have declined over the past few years, Robert Frances argues Linux will remain cheap enough relative to other systems to make any investment worthwhile.

The group also noted that Linux delivered enough benefits outside of TCO to justify investment. "Executives... can also identify business benefits that will in most cases outweigh the cost savings alone of moving to Linux for specific solutions," the report said. Those benefits include Linux's flexible licensing model, the wide range of supported hardware platforms, a choice of support providers and the transferrability of Unix administrator skills to Linux.

The report breaks the headline figure down into several cost categories - hardware acquisition, software licence and maintenance, and support and administration - each of which shows significant savings over Windows and Solaris. Generally, operating costs of all kinds were lower for Linux, and so were hardware acquisition costs - something a bit unexpected, given that Windows and Linux run on roughly the same hardware.

"RFG was surprised to find such a large gap between the Linux and Windows hardware acquisition costs," the study said. "Study participants drove their Linux systems to higher utilisation levels than those who used Windows, and ran more applications on each server; they therefore did not deploy as much excess computing capacity."

This meant that less expensive systems could support the same workload, the study said.

A significant finding affecting operating costs was that Linux administrators could often manage more systems than Windows administrators in a given amount of time, meaning lower management costs and reducing complexity.

Linux costs climbing

Linux still may be cheaper than Solaris or Windows, but the study agreed with Unilever that the price difference is not what it once was.

This is partly because Linux buyers are now treating the platform like any other commercial product, and are buying the same support offerings, management tools and other facilities as they would for another operating system, Robert Frances said. The other factor is that competitors have responded to pressure from Linux by lowering their prices, according to the study.

Does this mean Linux's cost benefits will eventually disappear as competitors are forced to match its low prices? The analyst group doesn't think so. "Deltas in support and management costs, and improvements in how customers manage their Linux systems, will likely allow Linux to retain its position as the lowest-cost option," the study said.

Such assurances were not enough for Unilever, which is axing its company-wide Linux adoption strategy, according to comments by Unilever CIO Neil Cameron to industry news site Silicon.com on Wednesday.

The main factor in changing Unilever's mind, according to the report, was that competing suppliers have become "more responsive" through competition with open source, lowering their prices and reducing the gap.

Unilever will now reportedly shift away from the strategy announced in January 2003, which would have seen it standardising its infrastructure on Linux via a multi-year contract with IBM, and will instead adopt Linux here and there as needed.

In interviews in August 2004, Unilever revealed it was taking a very gradual approach to the migration. Speaking to online news service VNUNet, Cameron commented that migration thus far had been low-level infrastructure such as firewalls, and said the company was being "appropriately cautious". The migration was "not quite step-changing" but was more about "narrowing the gap" between the previously installed systems and open source.

Some major enterprises have investigated Linux deals primarily in order to put pressure on their existing suppliers to lower prices, with no real intention of switching, according to industry observers.

The Unilever migration was not typical of Linux migrations, as the company was planning to use Intel's pricy 64-bit Itanium chip as its hardware platform. Most Linux installations rely on far cheaper x86 hardware.

No shit. The Open Source community has been screaming this for years. Finally, a big company says it and now its true....more true....
 

Jung

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jamesp said:
No shit. The Open Source community has been screaming this for years. Finally, a big company says it and now its true....more true....
Bullshit. Open Source applications, when used in a user environment, cost MORE in training and support than their licensed counterparts. I've seen this time and time again, first hand. OSS is great for servers and server applications, but it's not something you put in front of users.


Also, most corporations that use Linux for enterprise servers do pay for support contracts and updates. Look at Red Hat Enterprise server, or the SUSE equilivant. And when you get into replacing domain controllers and Active Directory with LDAP and such, the TCO can be enormous when it comes to these things. Linux is great for application, web and mail servers, but not so much anymore for domain authentication, which is something every corporation needs. And I actually like the Open LDAP and NFS/Samba configuration... but not a lot of IT people (outside of UNIX types) know how to implement it. MCSEs are a dime a dozen though.
 

jamesp

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junglizm said:
Bullshit. Open Source applications, when used in a user environment, cost MORE in training and support than their licensed counterparts. I've seen this time and time again, first hand. OSS is great for servers and server applications, but it's not something you put in front of users.


Also, most corporations that use Linux for enterprise servers do pay for support contracts and updates. Look at Red Hat Enterprise server, or the SUSE equilivant. And when you get into replacing domain controllers and Active Directory with LDAP and such, the TCO can be enormous when it comes to these things. Linux is great for application, web and mail servers, but not so much anymore for domain authentication, which is something every corporation needs. And I actually like the Open LDAP and NFS/Samba configuration... but not a lot of IT people (outside of UNIX types) know how to implement it. MCSEs are a dime a dozen though.
Granted that it does cost money to operate, in the least, a server cluster running Redhat (Any version). But everywhere I have worked, the total cost of operation was much higher on a Windows server cluster.
 

ChilianFuckFace

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Also keep in mind if you find one good IT guy that knows his UNIX enviroment very good, you would be better off.

One good UNIX guy will implement and get things working smoothly... Unlike them MCSE guys out there. Most of them know what was on the test, and don't have much hand on experience.
 

jamesp

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Very true. Being a Unix Guru is a lot more challenging than being a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.
 

ChilianFuckFace

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jamesp said:
Very true. Being a Unix Guru is a lot more challenging than being a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.
Also, must UNIX guru know their Windows... So you can find a ALL-IN-ONE type of guy.
 

Jung

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ChilianFuckFace said:
Also keep in mind if you find one good IT guy that knows his UNIX enviroment very good, you would be better off.

One good UNIX guy will implement and get things working smoothly... Unlike them MCSE guys out there. Most of them know what was on the test, and don't have much hand on experience.
In my experience, UNIX shops usually have one admin and a few techs; he basically runs their network, and is paid well. In Microsoft shops, there are usually multiple admins and lots of techs; they're payed decently and work together to run the shop.


You decide what that says...
 

jamesp

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Says to me that Microsoft treats everything like a business machine....it works and works until it gets something right, and now that is rubbing off on all the poor saps that run their software.