Comparing the Results
Among the key findings were that Linux tends to be more productive, as Linux administrators tend to manage more servers than Windows administrators, and Linux systems tend to handle greater workloads than Windows systems. Three quarters of the administrators surveyed can provision a system in less than an hour using sophisticated tools, while a third can provision a system in less than 30 minutes.Also, in more than 60 percent of cases, when problems occur in Linux environments they are diagnosed and repaired in less than 30 minutes, more than 8 times faster than industry average. Some 88 percent of enterprises with Linux and Windows spent less effort managing Linux; while 97 percent said it was, at worst, the same for both systems. "Respondents with sophisticated management tools all report Linux management is the same or easier than Windows management," the study found. Asked whether for cost comparative purposes he had looked at a vendor supported distribution and those costs rather than one that was unsupported and downloadable for free, Mann said that he did not look specifically at acquisition costs as a primary part of the research, which was rather about how difficult Linux was to manage. "But where I did look at cost, I essentially looked at a support agreement-type arrangement through Red Hat. Also, from the Microsoft side I was not looking at total cost, but only the purchase of a license, so that wasnt apples to apples," he said. Asked about Microsofts tendency to focus on workload scenarios in the research it sponsored, Mann said those were often too specific in that respect. "I dont know that has a lot of merit or adds a great deal of value. I think it really brings the specific result that was in mind." In conclusion, the "Get the Truth on Linux Management" study said that Linux is likely to be a significantly less expensive platform to acquire and manage than Windows. "Respondents indicated that the average resource costs (salaries, training and support) are no longer significantly higher than Windows and that the management of Linux is of minimal concern when considering the overall TCO," the study said. Some open-source players like Julie Hanna Farris, the founder and chief strategy officer of Scalix Corp., a messaging infrastructure company based in San Mateo, Calif., whose products are based on a Linux and open systems architecture, welcomed the move. Click here to read how Scalix says its solution challenges Microsoft Exchange. OSDLs role was to enable Linux to succeed in the market and so, to the extent that there were misconceptions about Linux, they could provide a unified voice, she said. "I dont think this is about battling Microsoft per se as much as it is about informing the public to eliminate any confusion and misconception that may exist there." Microsoft has, for the past two years, run an aggressive advertising campaign known as "Get the Facts," where it sponsors research about issues it claims are common to Linux and Windows and important to customers. Last year, Microsoft proposed a joint research project with the OSDL to do some fact-based analysis of Linux and Windows, a proposal which was flatly rejected by OSDLs Cohen. Click here to read the interview with OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen about why he nixed Microsofts joint research offer. But in this latest interview, Cohen pointed that OSDL was still willing to look at joint research with Microsoft around areas like virtualization, or the desktop, or Office on Linux. "We would be very interested in working with them on those types of arrangements. We just want to work on something with them that is of very high value to our customers who are deploying Linux," he said. Microsofts Taylor said that he continued to be open to working with partners and competitors, alike, to jointly commission research that helped all its customers engage in an informed and respectful debate on the facts. "While I have not yet seen this particular piece of commissioned work, there is a need for more collaborative industry research that delivers a level of transparency in the methodology so customers are able to apply it in their technology decision-making," Taylor said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Most Linux administrators spent less than 5 minutes per server per week on patch management. Sophisticated management tools reduce this effort even further.