Linux fans hit back at Microsoft TCO claims

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13 February 2006 | 0

Linux advocates have hit back at “anti-Linux management claims” from Microsoft with the publication of a report claiming that the total cost of ownership (TCO) for Linux is actually cheaper than for Windows.

The study from analyst firm Enterprise Management Associates, unveiled today by Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) and member company Levanta, bases its pro-Linux conclusions on in-depth research with more than 200 end users.

 

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Microsoft and “some industry analysts” have claimed in previous studies that Linux has a higher TCO than Windows, and have cited higher systems management costs as a significant shortcoming for Linux, according to the analyst firm.

The study, Get the Truth on Linux Management, argues that previously reported Linux management “pains” no longer hold true, and that enterprises running Linux are in fact often spending less time and money on common systems administration tasks than they are with their comparable Windows environments.

“For too long, special interest groups have attacked the manageability of Linux, and fuelled the FUD that Linux environments are somehow more difficult or labour intensive to manage than Windows environments,” said OSDL chief executive Stuart Cohen.

“In fact, Linux system management tools are in many cases outpacing Windows management tools.”

Described as vendor-neutral, the analyst report looked at the cost factors cited in previous studies, canvassed more than 200 enterprises, and determined that organisations are managing their Linux environments more cost-effectively and reliably than previously reported.

Linux was found 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.

In terms of provisioning, the report found that three quarters of administrators using sophisticated tools can provision a system in under one hour, and one third in under 30 minutes.

Most Linux administrators indicated that they spend under five minutes per server per week on patch management.

In over 60% of cases, problems in Linux environments are diagnosed and repaired in less than 30 minutes, over eight times faster than the industry average.

Almost 90% of enterprises with Linux and Windows indicated that they spend less effort managing Linux. Respondents with sophisticated management tools all reported that Linux management is the same or easier than Windows management.

“Previous Microsoft-sponsored reports on Linux management are simply outdated and one-sided,” said Matt Mosman, chief executive at Levanta.

“The study has confirmed what the Linux community has known to be true for some time, that the FUD is unfounded, and that management doesn’t have to be viewed as a red flag when considering the overall TCO of Linux.

“The study concludes that in many cases, 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.”

Andi Mann, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, added: “The genesis for this research study was not a head-to-head comparison with Microsoft. The goal was simply to measure and analyse the effort required to manage Linux systems.”

 

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