Another company that has migrated off Linux to Windows is Mountain High Holdings LLC, the operator of Mountain High Resort, a ski and snowboarding resort in Wrightwood, Calif. Three years ago, the resort implemented an e-commerce system that used Red Hat Inc. Linux, The Apache Software Foundations Apache Web servers and MySQL ABs MySQL database; the system was programmed in PHP.The potential savings were quickly erased by ongoing support expenses, Roy said. "We spent more during the first three months troubleshooting the Linux system than if we had purchased the Windows solution to begin with," she said. "The Linux system could not handle the layers of information needed for internal control of the resort." Roy also had concerns about the security and reliability of the system. System failures and escalating costs had the resort reconsidering its Linux decision when, over a weekend in late-summer 2002, in the midst of its season-pass saleaccounting for the sale of about 5,000 passesthe system went down. The e-commerce component stopped working for about a day. "There was a limit set up within the program that said you can only order x amount of products within one transaction," Roy said. "When one of our guests went over the limit, it crashed the whole store. We then had to manually identify the erroneous credit card charges." At the end of the 2002-2003 season, Mountain High decided to rebuild the site on Windows. "Our current season-pass sale began on Sept. 1, and the e-commerce site has seen growth of over 100 percent," Roy said. "If we had not gone with the Windows solution, there is no way we could have processed all the passes." Mountain High still uses Linux on a dedicated server for its community forum. Is Linux keeping Microsoft awake at night? Check out what our readers have to say. Such customers may not outweigh the numbers switching to Linux and sticking with it, but Microsoft executives will take any wins they can. The biggest challenges are those customers moving from Unix to Linux, who "dont want to rewrite their applications, and most of their staff only know Java," said Martin Taylor, Microsofts Linux platform strategist, in Redmond, Wash. "The question I sometimes ask customers is if they want to [maintain and manage] system-level software." Taylor said customers have applications written in Java on top of Linux as well as applications in .Net on top of Windows, and they want their applications to talk to one another. "Thats where more of the dialogue isfrom an interoperability perspective. Its not about plumbing because ... the plumbing [is already] done," Taylor said. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
"The decision to go with Linux was a cost-based one," Michele Roy, the resorts chief financial officer, told eWEEK. "We had not budgeted the e-commerce system setup in that years business plan."