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Win2k Cheaper than Linux 1279

An anonymous reader writes "According to this story, Win2k costs an average of 11%-22% total cost of enterprise. The study showed that the initial investment takes up less than 5% of the total cost. Linux did beat Win2k in one category, Web-serving." Man did this thing get submitted a lot.
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Win2k Cheaper than Linux

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  • 2,5 year to go? (Score:5, Informative)

    by guusbosman ( 151671 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:11AM (#4800882) Homepage
    From the comments under the article ('BSD user'):

    Reference: Here [] we read that Mainstream support for windows 2000 servers will end 31 March 2005 That's only 2 years and 4 months from now. I don't remember seeing a 'use before' date on any linux servers. Do you?

    Readers might wish to balance this article with the rest of the story, found here [].
  • by johnthorensen ( 539527 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:11AM (#4800884)
    IDC: Windows 2000 Offers Better Total Cost Of Ownership Than Linux
    Win 2000 offers cost advantage in four out of five server workloads

    By Paula Rooney, CRN
    Framingham, Mass.
    4:55 PM EST Mon., Dec. 02, 2002
    Microsoft's Windows 2000 offers a better total cost of ownership (TCO) than Linux for most traditional server workloads over a five-year time span, according to an IDC study.

    Just a day before the Enterprise Linux Forum gets under way in Boston, Microsoft is celebrating the results of a study that maintains that the Windows 2000 Server operating system offers a better cost of ownership for running network infrastructure, print serving, file serving and security applications than Linux.

    According to the survey of 104 companies in North America, the cost advantage of Windows over Linux for the four workloads ranges from 11 percent to 22 percent over a five-year period.

    Linux demonstrated a cost advantage over Windows in only one category--Web serving. According to the survey, Linux offers a cost advantage of 6 percent over Windows for running Web applications over that same time frame.

    While Microsoft's Licensing 6.0 acquisition costs are significantly higher than those of the free Linux OS, software acquisition represents a small percentage--roughly 5 percent--of the TCO, IDC found.

    IDC says factors other than software acquisition cost--particularly staffing and downtime--are the most significant factors when determining TCO over a long-term period. For example, IDC says that IT staffing alone accounts for 62.2 percent of TCO, while downtime represented another 23.1 percent of the costs. Software acquisition, in contrast, accounts for a mere 4.6 percent of the TCO, while hardware represents 4.4 percent.

    "The study shows very clearly that up-front costs, including hardware or software, are not the most significant items contributing to the five-year TCO value," said Al Gillen, an IDC analyst. "Think about it. How long does it take to surpass the cost of software when you have a high-paid staff member managing the system? That staff member cost is there regardless of what the original software and hardware cost," he said.

    Expenditures for managing, maintaining, troubleshooting and restoring the systems operations of a Linux server were, "in almost every case, higher than for systems running Windows 2000," according to the study, titled "Windows 2000 Versus Linux in Enterprise Computing."

    IDC attributed the Windows 2000 win to the maturity of Windows management features and third-party tools in the marketplace. This countered the immaturity of Linux system management tools and low penetration of Linux management platforms in the enterprise.

    However, the report also noted that the increasing availability of respected management tools for the Linux platform--including BMC Patrol, CA Unicenter, HP OpenView, IBM Tivoli, NetIQ and Novell Zenworks--will likely improve the installation, deployment and maintenance numbers for Linux servers. "Over time, the gap in support costs between Linux and Windows will contract," the study stated.

  • IBM (Score:5, Informative)

    by e8johan ( 605347 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:13AM (#4800901) Homepage Journal

    IBM thinks differently in this paper [] and so does CyberSource here [].

    As a technologist I'm very sceptical to economic calculations. I believe that they can be twisted in any direction.

    There is a principle of uncertanty. Of the three items cost, time and product you can only know one. So if you want to know what product you'll end up with, you can't know the price or time...

    Anyway, it is good to point out that Linux systems has problems in the management area. But still, people are working on it.

  • A good commentary (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:17AM (#4800939)
    Here [] is a good commentary from the register.
  • by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:18AM (#4800954) Journal
    Firstly, a server license is more than $150. Second, this is a TCO study. You may not agree with it, but you clearly don't even know what TCO means if you just look at the cost to install and configure the OS on a single server.

    Considering all the licenses for W2k where I work cost less than one of our tech support guys' salary (and we have several of those guys) the TCO mostly depends on incidental costs from running linux or windows (ie/ if windows requires one competent admin at $60k CAD and linux requires twice as many, which has the lower TCO? But then factor in how much time those admin's are required to patch the servers and it may change - as you can see, it's not a simple thing to calculate!)

    I'm no expert on TCO (i'm a programmer/analyst, not a CTO) but you know so little you really shouldn't even be posting on this topic. Shut up and read what some real admins have to say and maybe we'll all learn something :)
  • by Yokaze ( 70883 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:19AM (#4800956)
    It depends [].
  • Downtime costs (Score:5, Informative)

    by EricWright ( 16803 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:25AM (#4801005) Journal
    The story mentions that downtime contributes more than 20% of the TCO of a system. With uptimes of months to years for *nix boxes; whereas you are strongly advised to reboot Windows boxes on a regular basis, where is the logic that 23% of the TCO of a *nix box comes from downtime?

    We have linux servers at work that have downtime every 6 months for servicing, and then only for a handful of hours. Other than that, they don't come down at all. I fail to see how less than 1 day downtime/year (planned, at that) can contribute 23% of the TCO of the system.

    2 sysadms at ~$70k/yr = $140k/yr. $0 for licensing. That would make downtime cost roughly $32k/day (23% of 140k, assuming 24 hrs downtime/yr). If you house something critical, like your CRM system, on 1 machine, and it goes down, I could see that. Then again, that would be your own damn fault for having 0 backup/redundancy.

    There's a lot about that article that doesn't add up, and not just the 5 year study on Win 2000...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:36AM (#4801095)
    The Xserve is a rack based Mac server check out
  • Terrible comparison (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheConfusedOne ( 442158 ) <> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:03AM (#4801318) Journal
    The "driving an automatic vs driving a stick" is a terrible comparison.

    Why? In that case you get almost equivalent functionality (changing gears) and it's just a different way of implementing it.

    The GUI's provided by Windows may "simplify" certain management tasks, but they do NOT come anywhere close to giving you the equivalent functionality you can get with Linux/*nix and the various config files.

    The real differences come into play when you have to manage 10+ boxes. Sure the steps on box 1 may seem friendlier and a big quicker compared to editing those config files, but doing the same steps 10 times is a lot slower than merely FTP'ing or RDIST'ing those config files to the other 9 boxes.

    Heck, let's go and look at the act of building these machines in the first place. Build one Linux box and start "xeroxing" the hard drive. As long as your hardware is the same all you have to do is change a few config files on each system and you're off to the races.

    Go ahead and use Ghost on those NT Servers. Ooops, you broke the EULA didn't you? Darn SID's.

    OK, now let's go and rebuild one of those boxes after a complete hard drive meltdown. In Linux you can use a boot disk/CD and load the whole thing in from tape. Ever try loading Windows back in from a tape backup? It just doesn't work.

    Finally, while the administrators for *nix may be more expensive their cost are usually spread out over more boxes and thus cost less per box. You can look at the methodology and numbers from a competing TCO survey here: 02.pdf (granted this one was commissioned by IBM and was "strangely" harsh on Solaris :-D ).
  • Re:Could be true... (Score:2, Informative)

    by servies ( 301423 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:09AM (#4801373) Homepage
    ... but it is crap!

    considering those IT employees: fire them! or get them to study some basic UNIX administering which probably will suffice.
    I work at a company with about 150 people. We have about 5 large UNIX servers and some Linux servers who are all under pretty heavy load: No problem at all, they're only being rebooted for hardware maintenance.
    Since some time the mail and some other administration tools run on Windows servers, which are all 'overpowered' for their jobs. These are the machine which give the most problems... Installing (security) patches, deinstalling them again because they break critical applications, restoring them after a crash...
    Now take a guess which machines take most of the time to administer and therefore have the largest TCO.
    Every independant study will show that the TCO of Windows (whatever version) is higher than that of most UNIX derivates.
  • by tjrw ( 22407 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:10AM (#4801377) Homepage
    Apparently, the "study" is an exercise in pulling numbers out of thin air then.

    How long ago was it that the MS/Hotmail internal paper was leaked showing that administration of the large server farm was a nightmare with Windows 2000 and that with Open Source software (FreeBSD in this case, ISTR), it was vastly simpler and consequently required far fewer administration resources?

    If OSS takes a fraction of the admin resources, and is robust and reliable, offering potentially lower downtime, *and* by their own volition these account for the vast majority of the cost (also disputed in the MS/Hotmail paper), then unless they're paying the OSS admins six-figure salaries and the Windows admins are on minimum wage, then it simply doesn't add up.

    So who funded this "study" ?
  • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:18AM (#4801456)
    Care to estimate how much CodeRed 1+2, NIMDA and ILOVEYOU cost?

    Why do all the Wintrolls always assume that Viruses, Troyans and downtime can happen to everybode except themselves?

  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @11:20AM (#4801474)
    Firstly, a server license is more than $150.

    Open Business License:
    • Windows 2000 Server: $701.58 US
    • Windows 2000 Advanced Server (clustering, more than 4 CPUs): $2,377.53
  • by ddtstudio ( 61065 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:49PM (#4802265)
    I find it amazing that all these instant pundits and press-release-repeaters haven't noticed that the IDC study was funded by Microsoft; this could call the results into question.

    At least at eWeek [], someone noticed this []:

    "Study Finds Windows Cheaper Than Linux (continued)
    "Many drivers of cost need to be uncovered in such an examination and evaluation, and the 'risk/return' trade-offs of Linux versus Windows may not be as obvious as they appear at first glance," they said.


    The fact that Microsoft paid for the research is likely to be used as a weapon against the findings by some in the Linux community and will also elevate the debate about how valid calculations of total cost of ownership are for any given comparison.

    A Microsoft spokesman confirmed to eWEEK that the firm had completely sponsored the White Paper but said that IDC had controlled the methodology, data and findings. IDC analyst Al Gillen agreed, telling eWEEK that the firm undertook a lot of custom research for individual companies and customers."

    And Galli also goes into detail about the methodology, so you can have fun picking that apart.
  • Re:Well duh (Score:4, Informative)

    by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:52PM (#4802301)
    Using a repair disk isn't quite the same as being able to boot the system proper using a floppy or bootable CD. In my experience the recovery console is pretty toothless, you can't install much from it. It's handly if the MBR screws up and if you need to disable a service, but other than that it's a joke. Suppose (for example) you swap your motherboard and the chipsets are different (eg. Intel to VIA). With Windows 2000/XP if you forget to change the IDE driver to the standard IDE controller driver before switching the board you'll find it blue screens when you boot. With Linux it would just boot and if it didn't you would be able to make a boot disk of some kind with another Linux PC.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @12:54PM (#4802318)
    If anyone did their research they would find out that other news sites ( are reporting that this analysis was _sponsored_ by _Microsoft_.
  • Whats with CAL 's (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @01:37PM (#4802768)
    I think there is a important thing that wasnt mentioned in the study :

    Client access licenses

    if one , as our company is forced to an enterprise
    agreement with Microsoft the sum for CALs ( file & print, SQL Server, Exchange )to pay to microsoft is about 60 $ /user and year - and this is a low price for a corporate with about 10000 Clients under MS EA.
    That makes in my company with about 20 servers and 500 clients a sum of 30000 $ a year.

    I have only one man to adminster all our servers -there are 13 Win2K and 6 linux based servers.
    This single man works about 15 % of his time on the linux servers ( web, firewall, SAP Systems) and 30 % for the win2k boxes, the rest is WAN stuff and SAP administration - which would be exactly the same work if the SAP systems are run under win2k
    If get permission to use linux based mail and fileservices, it would be possible to save about 25000 $ a year for CALs , spending 5000 a year for commercial support on linux based exchange services, SAPDB ( GPL) and samba for fileservices.

    Whats really true:
    People who know linux are rare and more expensive,( here : 60000 $ a year, all inclusive) but after my bad experiences with "cheap" MCSE's i prefer to work with skilled people - they are worth their money.
    People not skilled in linux, who try to work with linux will definitly need more time than with win2k, so higher TCO will be likely.
    If you already have skilled people its another thing - and whats sure, if you force them to work only with windows they will look for another job.

  • Re:This is humbug (Score:3, Informative)

    by dh003i ( 203189 ) <dh003i@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @02:44PM (#4803463) Homepage Journal
    Actually, according to the IBM study I linked to, a Linux admin can manage more Linux systems than can a Windows admin.

    Basing the study off of projections for Win2k and the facts of the previous 5-years for Linux invalidates the comparison. In order to compare, you need to do both things likewise. They did not, meaning any conclusions they draw about the TCO of Windows v. Linux are meaningless. To hyperbolize what they've done, it would be like comparing the TCO of Win2k to that of Linux in 1991, when I believe it first came out.
  • Cheaper For Who? (Score:3, Informative)

    by doomicon ( 5310 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @03:21PM (#4803770) Homepage Journal
    Specifically, I would like to know who maintains an Exchange server be 5.5 or 2k, that agrees with this article?

    I have administered Exchange boxes in one form or another for about 4 years. (i also admin other stuff:-) And just last night... Stop POP3, Error1053, Service is stuck in "stopping", Start options in "Services" and "Exchange System Mgr" are greyed out. So I try to use the Stop option in the SysMgr (only option avail), Error "POP3 is not running"... ARGH! After a few hour joyride on and reading Enterprise "solutions" such as "reboot", and delete the instance and recreate. And last Exchange Support call I did cost me $297 bucks (that was two years ago).

    Look I could care less Linux, Windows, WinManix, whatever. If it works, I will use it.

    By the way that $297 dollar solution... Extract the ExhPubDb as a *.PST thru outlook, and copy it back to the public info store. This had to be done ONCE a week.

    These solutions absorb too many man hours, that could be spent on proactive and productive projects. I'm not here saying that Linux is better, but I can't possibly think that the TCO for Exchange in the Enterprise is an acceptable cost.

    And for the record I personally think Win2kPro is still the best client!

  • by Bruce Losis ( 608865 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @05:03PM (#4804748)

    what a crock of shi*.

    A cogent argument, supported by this [] report commissioned by IBM. Note how poorly Solaris rates - something many should be able to sympathise with.

  • Consider the source (Score:4, Informative)

    by jmorse ( 90107 ) <> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @05:42PM (#4805070) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft actually sponsored this study:,,t269-s2126953,00. htm []. Of course, we all know Microsoft to be a bastion of integrity...
  • Re:Well duh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Penguin Follower ( 576525 ) <TuxTheBurninator AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @05:45PM (#4805090) Journal
    "It's pretty obvious that you're the typical Slashdot jackass that knows shit about Windows, yet claims that he does"

    I will say the same about you in respect to *nix.

    "If you knew anything about Windows, you'd know that there device mappings (/Device/Harddisk0/Partition1) et cetera AND that you CAN have mountpoints anywhere under NTFS. I could map my DVD drive to C:\DVD and my CD burner to C:\CdBurner if I wanted to."

    This is true. But that is not how it is represented in My Computer. And besides, other than the default mappings set up by windows, you have to set the rest up yourself. Thus you are back to editing like you would in *nix with /etc/fstab. Where's that easier method you speak of?

    "(...) Unlike Linux/Unix, of course, where I have to go eenie-minnie-miney-mo to figure out if that directory has something mounted underneath it."

    umm.. type 'mount' with no options. Tells you *what* is mounted *where* at that time on the filesystem.

    "Also there is this neat little tool called "Logical Disc Manager" which will do this all for you in a point-n-click fashion. But why do that when you can edit a cryptic-as-fuck /etc/fstab file instead?!?"

    Logical Disc Manager is indeed handy when I need it. But I don't consider /etc/fstab cryptic. If you have an understanding of the filesystem (as you should if you are even looking at the /etc/fstab file) then you have progressed fairly far for Unix already. (w/ respect to newbies). I bet my mother couldn't use Logical Disc Manager

    "If you knew anything about data structure and organization, you'll know that the registry is a standardized, organized tree of data. Unlike that mishmash of text files that Linux software decides to spew all over the place (now was it in ~ or in /etc/ or in /usr/local or in /usr/lib/ or in /var .... hmmmmm???)"

    Oh yeah, those registry keys are REALLY easy to remember right. I mean some are easy (like the ones present on a fresh install of windows). But look at some programs you install and the way they name those keys! DAMN! Most often I have to use the search to find what I want in the registry. Now, on to the Linux part -- most distros try to have all or most of the config files under /etc or a subdirectory of /etc

    "You can set up Windows to go single-click everywhere. It's right smace on the front page in the Folder Options menu. But I'm sure you already knew that! Linux is as consistent as a patched-up quilt. Each desktop (each which could have a variety of Window Managers) is drastically different from the other. Consistency at its best."

    Well the parent post was referring to KDE specifically, which the *default* is single-click everywhere. In windows you have to change it, it is not the default. I don't care how easy it is to get to it... it is not the default. If you want to talk about Gnome, they try to mimic the Windows "mousing" style, so as to make transition from Windows easier. The different desktops don't have to be consistent to each other... they have different design philosophies.

    "Unix is far more difficult to use for most users than DOS ever was. (Yeah 'cp' 'mv' 'rm' are more intuitive than 'copy' 'move' and 'erase' Uh-huh.)"

    I learned DOS by RTFM... I learned Unix command line by RTFM. It took longer on Unix - not because of complexity - because there are more commands, period. Commands: cp, rm, mv. They are short and to the point -- basically abbreviations of the words copy, move, and remove (almost a synonym for erase or delete).

    "That's it. No other explanations necessary. KDE/Linux beats Windows in every aspect, that is, if you're the type of person that has a problem with taking showers on a regular, routine basis."

    Comments like that warrant a moderation of Troll for being an asshole. But oh well. You seem to hate "linux bigots" but you are a "windows bigot" so I digress.
  • by banzai51 ( 140396 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2002 @10:14PM (#4807030) Journal
    Didn't take a whole lot of reading to see the Linux crowd is missing the point here. That study only backs up what I tell Linux advocates. First off, drop the "xyz is easier to do in you just do abc" If you know the OS, it is easier. If you are learning fresh, they both are intimidating.

    Linux people tend to only think of enterprise computing (and all computing for that matter) as web servers. I think the results of IDC's study. However, web computing is only a fraction of all computing. There are a lot of databases big and small. There are many file servers. There are many print servers. There are many APPLICATION servers. There are domain controllers. etc. Microsoft spends lots of R&D on making it all work together for the end user. They also spend a lot of time and effort giving admins tools to manage end users and their desktops. Novell is the only other company/OS in this arena. NDS and Active Directory ring a bell? Software deployment sound familar to anyone? Clue: Big shops don't send PC jockeys with CDs to install applications. They get pushed down with Zenworks or GPOs. Ask a Linux administrator to setup a plan to convert all the company's desktops with little to no downtime for the users. Now ask a Novell or Microsoft admin to do it. Guess who can't get it done fast. Ask a Linux admin to use his Linux servers to lock down the users' desktops to minimize support calls. You don't think of that one often, do you? Developing these kinds of enterprise tools isn't sexy, but it is critical. Without it, Linux will always be a niche in the server room. The next time your boss decides to go with a Microsoft solution indstead of Linux, don't bitch about marketing. Realize that there is this whole other role to be filled out in the enterprise. Now get coding and fill that role!

Think of your family tonight. Try to crawl home after the computer crashes.