There are seven areas in which Microsoft is comparing Linux and Open Source
Software (OSS) with Windows and claiming advantages for Windows:
Availability and Distribution of Security Information
Total Cost of Ownership
Staffing and Training
Administration and Management
to see an interesting analysis on some key problems with the most recent
Yankee Group TCO study.
Microsoft has been challenging the assertion that
Linux and OSS are free and offer a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than
Windows. They urge customers to look beyond Linux being "free" and evaluate it
as they would any other platform. The studies they released to support this
idea focus on three specific areas that they claim will disprove that notion
and will reveal hidden costs that drive the TCO up. The areas they cite are
Staffing and Training, Support costs, and Administration and Management tools.
Upon closer examination, however, we find that many of their claims are false
or misleading. Here's an article published in the IT Manager's Journal
Tracking the Evolution of IT that articulates the fundamental superiority
of Linux in reducing TCO.
Four out of four experts agree: Linux lowers TCO
Can a company count on Linux to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) of
an enterprise system? Reaction to this question from CIOs and IT managers
usually goes something like: "Well, of course it saves money on the bottom
line. No sky-high enterprise licensing fees every year. No over-the-top
support subscription costs; you can maintain the code in-house. Way fewer
security and access issues, keeping the system down time low. No paying for
unnecessary bells and whistles in end-user software. No worrying about
mandatory upgrades every year and a half."
-- From IT Manager's Journal Tracking the Evolution of IT
We talked to independent analysts, developers, and IT company executives.
They all pretty much agree on one answer to the question: Yes, generally there
are fair to good TCO savings with Linux -- sometimes huge savings. But
variables in every organization's mix will determine exactly what that
monthly, quarterly, or yearly savings will be.
According to this
recent study from Cybersource, entitled Linux vs. Windows: Total Cost of
Ownership Comparison, for a company with 250 users, Linux solutions will
cost between 27 percent and 36 percent less than Microsoft's products over a
three-year period. This comprehensive study provides an analysis that
utilizes costs based on hardware, software, networking, staffing,
consultancy fees, Internet access, desktop productivity applications,
training and miscellaneous system costs.
-- From Cybersource
Staffing and Training CLAIM: There is a scarcity of Linux expertise among IT
professionals, which will make staffing difficult and expensive.
The transition between Unix and Linux is fairly straightforward, so Unix
expertise in an IT staff will translate directly into Linux expertise. And
while Windows expertise is obviously more available today than Linux or Unix
expertise, companies need to be aware that there will also be a training hit
for Windows experts when it is time to upgrade to Longhorn. In other words,
any change will require training. Here's an interesting analysis:
"Going from Win95 to Win98 was easy, they were similar enough. Even the 98
to 2000 migration was fairly livable, the programs were the pretty similar.
Sure, things like AD caused some heartache, but it was not unlivable.
Longhorn is very different from Windows, and upgrading will be a major pain.
Pain in this realm equates to dollars. Add in the scarcity of experienced
Longhorn admins, and you have more pain, and more money flow. Not good once
Slightly related to people and differences is training. When you move to a
new paradigm, even if it was similar on the surface, can cause problems.
Again, the 95 to 98 move wasn't bad. 98 to XP with something as simple as a
new desktop brought major pain, confusion, and training costs to the
Longhorn is very different from 98, the problems will be worse yet. Chalk
another win up for Win. All of these issues, admin work, support, training,
and ease of upgrades will lessen over time as familiarity with this 'brand
new' OS creeps into the enterprise, but that is the future. For now, all the
people issues, unless your organization is staffed by IT workers who must be
ahead of the curve, will cost you a lot."
The devastating case for Windows against Linux is the devastating case
against Longhorn, by Charlie Demerjian: Monday 12 July 2004
For those who need to augment their expertise, Novell has an
industry-leading Linux certification program and a full Linux curriculum.
Novell certification courses are not limited to those with previous
Linux or even Unix experience. Corporations can utilize the classes—which
span the full spectrum of expertise—to get their staffs trained.
See a complete list
of courses and certifications.
Novell is a leader in certification. According to a report by Gartner ("Novell
Services focuses on Identity Management and Linux," June 2004.), "Novell
invented the technical certification program in the late 1980s with NetWare
certifications. Today, Novell delivers 2.5 million hours of training to
80,000 customers and partners per year. Novell's training services portfolio
includes technical-skills assessment, advanced technical training, custom
training and curriculum development, self-study, and certification and
testing. It offers a training road map for ... SUSE LINUX. Novell has
revamped its certification programs to make them practicum-based and
continues to broaden its reach with nearly 2,400 Certified Novell
Instructors (CNIs). In addition to the traditional Certified Novell Engineer
(CNE), CNI and Master Certified Novell Engineer (MCNE) certifications,
Novell now offers certifications for Certified Linux Engineer and SUSE-Certified
Linux Professional. Companies should investigate Novell training services to
appraise their technical staffs' strengths and weaknesses or establish Linux
training and certification programs in their organizations."
Novell has a number of different certification classes that corporations
can utilize to get their staff trained, including:
Migrating to SUSE LINUX
SUSE LINUX Administration Custom On-site Training
CLAIM: The distributed nature of the OSS model diminishes
its ability to respond to issues on a real-time basis.
Many companies, including Novell, make Linux support a top priority.
According to a report by Gartner ("Novell
Services focuses on Identity Management and Linux," June 2004) "Novell's
20-year history in support services has yielded a well-developed set of
offerings and support operations infrastructure. The structure of its
support Premium Service offerings portfolio is a comprehensive six-tier
model that provides the widest-scaled set of support options in the
industry. The tiers scale according to factors such as tools and training,
response time, number of incidents, access to support resource expertise,
account management and dedicated resources. More significantly, the model
Novell uses for coverage is not per-product-license-fee-based but is based
on a list of supported products. Every tier of Premium Service support
covers all the products on the supported products list and for all instances
of the product in the customer's environment. This also is a unique approach
in the support industry, where the norm is a support fee based on the
percentage of software licenses."
In addition to the vast free resources that are in place for Linux
developers worldwide, Novell and other companies are bringing an additional
level of professional support to Linux, making it more attractive to
enterprises with an understandable aversion to risk. The mature, experienced
organization at Novell provides industry-leading 24 x 7 x 365 Linux
support for businesses around the world. This infrastructure gives CIOs the
peace of mind that comes from knowing Novell will be there to back them
whenever problems occur. With more than 800 support personnel located in
seven support centers covering every region of the world, Novell can deliver
unmatched levels of service on a global scale. In addition, our support
escalation procedures are designed to ensure quick resolution and guaranteed
contracts also allow customers to buy only as much technical support as
they need—and then integrate Linux support with their other support needs.
Our service professionals can help businesses evaluate the overall service
levels their systems require, then choose the service that will best support
their needs and objectives—regardless of size.
One of the great advantages to using open source code is that it is
infinitely customizable, and there is terrific peer-to-peer support offered by
other developers who are using the same code base. This is a tremendous asset
for the developers who work in a large organization to create specific
applications that are tailored to the needs of their enterprise. The
distributed nature of open source software provides an increased opportunity
to get support via three popular mechanisms: Mailing Lists, Forums, and Wikis.
When developers encounter a problem, there are thousands of mailing lists
specific to sofware packages and Linux distributions that have searchable
databases full of solutions to problems people have had. If you don't find it
by searching, you can send out an email that will be received, in most cases,
by hundreds of other people who are using the same software you are. Jason
Jones, a Linux developer and early adopter, vouches for the speed,
reliability, and specificity of this kind of support when he says, "The
specific answers to my specific questions have usually come in less than 10
minutes from more than 5 sources."
Through mailing lists, Linux developers usually have access to the creator
of the software package, who can provide more tailored answers than any manual
could ever have.
Forums provide the same quality of response, but are conducted online.
Wikis, a relatively new addition to the support offerings, provide a mechanism
for expertise to be distilled, improved, and constantly updated via a robust
searchable online interface. All of these resources combine to offer a fast
track to Linux expertise to anyone willing to ask questions.
Administration and Management Tools
Manageability is a key factor in determining any system's total cost of
ownership. When it comes to installing, deploying, updating or securing Linux
servers, blades, desktops or laptops, the unique Novell resource management
solutions make it easy and cost-effective to manage these assets throughout
their entire lifecycle.
Few people nowadays remember that the IBM PC was
not the first "personal computer" and that MS-DOS was not the first industry
standard operating system. In fact, MS-DOS was but an imperfect copy of the
operating system that really has a claim to that title.
The first generation of personal computers (or microcomputers, as they were
known then) used chips like the Intel 8008, 8080, Zilog Z80, MOS Technology 6502
and Motorola 6800. While some early microcomputers (for example, the Apple II)
used proprietary operating systems, hundreds of different manufacturers licensed
a product called CP/M (as in Control Program / Monitor) made by a company
called Digital Research. Long before the IBM PC and its clones / compatibles,
the CP/M architecture provided for industry standard software that was portable
across hundreds of different brands and models. This was DRI founder Gary
Kildall's main contribution to the software industry. Microsoft simply followed
in DRI's footsteps.