Linux is Cheaper, but

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-08-31 Print this article Print

Thats not All"> Linux is also now definitely on the radar screen, and even with Microsoft lowering some of its software prices and Sun supporting Opteron and creating OpenSolaris, Linux was still less expensive over a three-year timeframe, the study showed. Today, real business applications are running on Linux and the study thus focused on J2EE application servers.
It found that these deployments on Linux were 40 percent less than Windows and 54 percent less than for Solaris over three years.
The biggest delta was on the software license side, but the study also found a big hardware delta for Windows, as many participants were not running their hardware utilization levels to the same level they were for Unix. To read more about IBMs new Linux strategy, click here. Flexibility was one of the key reasons enterprises were looking to Linux as the platform to meet all of their workloads. The long-term roadmap for Linux was also seen as very dependable, which was a change from a few years ago when there were a lot of questions about its future, Robinson said. "So, Linux is cheaper and thats great, but there are other non-monetary benefits to using it. The cost savings will remain an important element, but the strategic benefits will grow to be more dominant factors in the deployment decisions people are making," Robinson said. But the issue of how to quantify TCO remains controversial. Microsoft has funded its own TCO studies. Peter Shay, the executive vice president of the Advisory Council, said in a talk at the 2004 OReilly Open Source Convention that "because there are a lot of different factors that go into TCO, and the published reports make widely differing assumptions that may or may not pertain to your business, you should do your own analysis." Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT Inc., talked about the IBM-funded report he had authored, and published this month, entitled "Beyond TCO—The Unanticipated Second Stage Benefits of Linux." His research centered around three enterprises: U.S. retailer Boscovs Department Stores; Zahid Tractor, a Saudi Arabian supplier of heavy and industrial equipment; and Alliance UniChem CZ, Europes second largest pharmaceutical wholesaler. All these companies had used Linux significantly for more than 18 months. Click here to read more about what Boscovs CIO Harry Roberts said at the Linux Solutions Retail Conference. All three companies had decided to migrate to Linux to improve their IT infrastructures, lower costs and increase efficiency. "All three succeeded in their efforts, reaching or exceeding the goals and results they planned," King said. "All realized significant second stage benefits that resulted in improved IT capabilities, enhanced staff performance and reduced effort and costs." All the companies also reaped unexpected benefits, such as lower migration costs and the ability to leverage the skills of their in-house IT staff. They all also reported benefits from working with and participating in the open source community, and all planned to accelerate their usage of Linux solutions in the future, King said. IBMs Handy concluded that "the reports cite examples of how Linux has given some customers a 40 percent lower TCO than Solaris and Windows servers, as well as other benefits beyond this. "They also show that once customers get started with Linux, they continue to do more and more with it going forward," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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