Yes, sometimes Linux costs more than Windows

While poorly timed for Novell, I’d agree with this post. Sometimes Linux may indeed cost more than Windows. Putting aside that everything isn’t about cost, look at the parameters involved here:

f you look at the details of the announcement you’ll see that the reason why HSBC had better management costs for Windows was because it had taken a proactive Active Directory-led approach to managing Windows, whereas a variety of Linux systems had been deployed an a largely ad hoc, application-led basis.

Having spoken to Matthew O’Neill, group head of distributed systems for HSBC global IT operations, we published the following:

“’A couple of years ago we commenced the global deployment of Active Directory and in doing that project we managed to demise a range of infrastructure servers,’ he added, noting that the end result was that it cost less to manage Windows servers than it did to manage Linux servers.

One of the reasons for that is that the company had taken an ad hoc approach to Linux deployment. ‘In the early stages of deployment we did tend to set the build to the specific application, rather than look at it as a commoditized server,’ O’Neill said.”

In this context – combined with the abundance of Windows skills compared to Linux – it is fairly obvious that Windows would end up being cheaper to manage per instance than Linux.

Loosely translated, that means a shop with a lot of Windows experience who is utilizing managed deployment is able to more effectively manage Windows than Linux, which they rolled out ad hoc and are new to. That shouldn’t be a real surprise and is obviously not and apples to apples comparison. However, we need to get past this cost issue. The main advantage of Open Source, especially in the Enterprise, is not being gratis.


2 Responses to Yes, sometimes Linux costs more than Windows

  1. corey says:

    I can understand the comany’s need to commoditize the server and the workstations, as the overall requirement for a standard deployment is going to produce cheaper maintenance, usually. But, the ad hock deployment is also an attractive draw to *nix, as many companies might need a few tweaked or modified pieces of software. Both have their advantages.

  2. jeremy says:

    Absolutely, but the ad hoc deployment will often legitimately lead to higher maintenance costs. It’s just a price you pay for the ease and flexibility.


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