What the Analysts Arent

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-05-20 Print this article Print

Telling You"> If you look closer, youll see the hoops the analysts had to jump through to make their claims. For example, they write, "For each vulnerability that is addressed, Windows-based systems experienced slightly higher prepare and direct costs." And, "Windows systems also experienced more than twice the average number of OSS (Open-Source System) vulnerabilities." Somehow, based on this, they argue that on a per-system basis, Microsoft wins out.
In one table, they outright show that the total average management tools cost in their survey was $514,060 for Windows and only $287,100 for open source. Nevertheless, they argue that on a per-system basis, the open-source boxes are more expensive.
Why? They argue that its because if you divide the costs by the number of systems, it costs far more for the relatively few open-source computers. Ah, guys, I dont know about your management tools, but I can manage 1,000 open-source boxes with the same tool set as easily—and as cheaply—as I can 100 or 10. For that matter, except for actually deploying the patches—the easiest part—you can use the same programs on both platforms! What were the companies top three server automation programs on both Linux and Windows? HP OpenView, IBM Tivoli and CA Unicenter. And what were two of the top three software distribution and management programs? HPs OpenView and Novell ZENworks. I can only shake my head and walk away. As it happens, there are significant differences between Windows and Linux. Theyre just not in Microsofts favor. The first, and its a biggie, is that I must constantly patch my Windows systems for significant security problems. I mean, come on, every month now we have a Microsoft patch day and every week we have a report of yet another serious Microsoft hole. Heck, even Microsofts fixes have problems. Remember the trouble with XP SP2 and Server 2003 SP1? I dont have to update Linux anywhere near as often and the upgrades go much more smoothly. And, despite what the report says, Linuxs problems tend to get fixed faster than Microsofts bugs. Come to think about it, has Microsoft ever fixed its Windows Media Player 9 problem? Finally, when I update my Linux machines, I dont have to reboot them. With Windows, I often need to reboot after patching. Now, that may not sound like much, but downtime is downtime, and it can add up to a lot of money in a hurry. And, as is so often the case, when a server doesnt come up quite right—or doesnt come up at all—what might have been three minutes of downtime becomes hours, and thats no good in anyones book. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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