Study Finds Windows Cheaper Than Linux

Microsoft-sponsored white paper from IDC found the Windows 2000 server cheaper over a five-year period.

A Microsoft-sponsored White Paper from research group International Data Corp., which compares the total cost of ownership of Microsofts Windows 2000 and Linux server environments across five enterprise computing workload situations at 104 companies, found that Windows 2000 offered a lower five-year total cost in four of the five selected workloads.

The paper, which Microsoft last week released to some customers, partners and media, is titled "Windows 2000 Versus Linux in Enterprise Computing: An Assessment of Business Value for Selected Workloads."

It found that in four workloads—network infrastructure, print serving, file serving, and security applications—the Windows 2000 server solution cost between 11 percent and 22 percent less than a Linux solution over a five-year period.

For the fifth workload, Web serving, Linux had a cost advantage of 6 percent compared with the Windows 2000 server over the five-year period, the IDC said.

The cost advantages of the Windows 2000 solution were driven primarily by the "significantly lower" costs for IT staffing, which is normally the largest single component of IT costs.

"The study confirms that low initial software acquisition costs are only one factor, not the deciding one, in determining the five-year total cost of ownership for the two operating environments," IDC analysts Jean Bozman, Al Gillen, Charles Kolodgy, Dan Kusnetzky, Randy Perry and David Shiang said in their opinion.

The study compared the five-year TCO of Windows 2000 server environments with Linux server environments from multiple Linux vendors at some 100 different North American companies.

"The TCO metrics are described in terms of five-year costs for 100 users. IDCs TCO methodology … takes into account the costs of acquiring and supporting the hardware and software required for each of these specific workloads. Costs are broken out into six categories: hardware, software, staffing, downtime, IT staff training, and outsourcing costs," the white paper says.