Linux Report Challenges MS TCO Claims

    February 13, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Nothing chaps Microsoft’s craw more than a little competition and open source rival Linux has been the Beast of Redmond’s chief craw-chapper for some time. After years of what Linux sympathizers have called a Microsoft F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, doubt) campaign against Linux’ total cost of ownership (TCO), Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) have dropped a little cost research of their own.

OSDL and member company Levanta are citing a co-sponsored study from “vendor neutral” Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) that claims Microsoft’s information is outdated and inaccurate.

Microsoft has cited earlier studies by industry analysts on the Get The Facts section of its website, an information page devoted purely to discrediting its open source competition, to convey the message that Linux TCO was higher than Windows’.

The EMA report, entittled “Get the Truth on Linux Management,” maintains that enterprises running Linux are actually spending less time and money on common systems administration tasks than they are with the comparable Windows environments.

”For too long, special interest groups have attacked the manageability of Linux, and fueled the F.U.D. that Linux environments are somehow more difficult or labor-intensive to manage than Windows environments,” said Stuart Cohen, CEO of the Open Source Development Labs.

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

The study, which polled over 200 enterprises, found that organizations managing Linux environments found that Linux outperformed Windows in productivity, provisioning, patch management, problem resolution, and management and support.

Findings from the report:

Productivity – 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.

Provisioning – 75% of administrators using sophisticated tools can provision a system in less than 1 hour; one third can provision a system in less than 30 minutes.

Patch management – most Linux administrators spend less than 5 minutes per server per week on patch management. Sophisticated management tools reduce this effort even further.

Problem resolution – in over 60% of cases, when problems occur in Linux environments they are diagnosed and repaired in less than 30 minutes, over 8 times faster than industry average.

Management and support – 88% of enterprises with Linux and Windows spend less effort managing Linux; 97% believe it is, at worst, the same for both systems. Respondents with sophisticated management tools all report Linux management is the same or easier than Windows management.

‘Past Microsoft-sponsored reports on Linux management are simply outdated and one-sided,” said Matt Mossman, CEO of Levanta. ”The EMA study has confirmed what the Linux community has known to be true for some time now – that the F.U.D is unfounded, and that management doesn’t have to be viewed as a red flag when considering the overall TCO of Linux.”

Recently, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates suggested that MIT’s Linux-based $100 laptops were a poor alternative to Microsoft’s cellular phone plug-ins, prompting discussion about software politics even in the non-profit sector.

A full download of the report can be found here.