Yankee Group North American Linux Windows TCO Survey
Well, here is the Exec Summary report of "Redmond vs. Redhat"
over the last 12 months. "Veeery" interesting data by the
venerable Laura Didio at the Yankee Group.
"An overwhelming 88% of corporations report that Microsoft Corp.'s
Windows Server 2003 operating system provides equal to or better
performance and reliability than Linux in comparable usage scenarios.
Those are the results of Yankee Group's independent, non-sponsored
North American Linux Windows 2005 TCO Comparison survey. The results
indicate that Microsoft's continued attention to hardening the core
Windows operating system yielded tangible performance improvements.
The 88% of corporate customers who rated Windows performance equal
to or better than Linux is a 12% increase from the 76% of customers
who ranked Windows on a par with Linux in Yankee Group's 2004 TCO
Yankee Group's March 2005 poll of over of over 500 North American
users indicates there is no universal clear-cut TCO basis to compel
the corporate masses to do a wholesale switch from Windows to Linux
as there is for a migration from Unix to Linux. And there is no
indication that users are replacing Windows with Linux. The majority
of wholesale Linux defections continue to come at the expense of
mid-range UNIX installations, although many organizations are
installing Linux as a complementary OS to existing Windows servers.
The survey found that Linux has maintained, but not expanded its
healthy 15% market share compared with a 73% for various versions
of Windows server from 2004 to 2005.
The survey emphasized that businesses continue to expand the ways
in which they utilize Linux. Over 50% of corporations now utilize
Linux for a variety of functions including: Web server, Email server
and specialized application server. Perhaps the most startling
survey revelation was the fact that over 50% of the respondents
said they had performed a thorough TCO analysis. But when asked
to calculate their specific Linux and Windows capital expenditure
and maintenance costs, 75% on average, could not answer explicit
Businesses lack crucial TCO information such as the cost of a
Linux or Windows server upgrade; what they're spending on network
management, third party applications, tools and utilities, ongoing
maintenance, security, systems downtime, calls to the Help Desk and
hardware and software break/fixes!
The absence of such crucial financial information makes it highly
unlikely for corporations to make informed purchasing decisions
and it heightens their risk of choosing technology(ies) that are
ill-suited to their business needs.
The 20% of Yankee Group survey respondents who did possess the TCO
data, indicated the most crucial issues and events that negatively
and positively impact TCO and ROI, occur at the application layer
and services portion of the software infrastructure and not at
the core server operating system foundation layer.
The survey yielded other surprises as well. Among the highlights:
- Users rated security of Linux and Windows Servers nearly equal.
The average security rating for Linux servers was 8.3 compared
with 7.6 (on a scale of 1-to-10) for Windows servers.
- Windows Servers recover 30% faster from Security attacks than
Linux. It takes approximately 12 hours to restore Windows servers
from a security attack compared to about 17.5 hours to bring
back a Linux server.
- Patch Management Woes Lessen for Windows, on the Rise for Linux.
Windows security and patch management woes a major source of user
concern and angst in Yankee Group's Linux, Windows and UNIX 2004
TCO Survey, have largely dissipated.
- At the same time, Linux users expressed growing concern over
the "forking" of the Linux and open source distributions - that
is, the various versions of Linux distributions or customized
versions of Linux could result in major management woes. The
potential incompatibilities could make routine management
functions such as patch management, upgrades and security fixes
Additional Survey Highlights
- Microsoft Mends Windows Patch Management - Respondents reported
that the time spent on Windows patch management was reduced by
an average of 80% at no incremental costs. This is due to
Microsoft's decision to ship patches on a monthly rather than
weekly basis and provide the Windows Update Services (WUS) free.
- Conversely, survey respondents reported that the time they are
spending performing patch management tasks in the Linux and open
source environment grew commensurately from 2004 to the present
as companies installed more open source.
- Windows Server Downtime Costs Companies two to three times as
much as Linux server downtime. This is not due to any inherent
flaws in the Windows server OS, but rather reflects the crucial
nature of the data and applications running on Windows servers.
Windows application servers racked up the biggest downtime
expenses: $5,624 per hour versus $1,168 in hourly downtime costs
for comparable Linux application servers.
- Linux Servers Take Nearly Four Hours or 30% Longer to Recover
from a Security Attack than a similar Windows Server. The survey
respondents revealed that it took them 17 hours on average for
their Linux servers to recover from a security attack to compared
to an average recovery time of 13.2 hours for Windows Servers.
- Linux Maintains Strong Server presence. Three-fifths of those
polled - 60% -- said they have Linux installed somewhere in the
organization. This figure is unchanged from the 60% of businesses
that had Linux servers installed, according to the Yankee Group's
2004 TCO Survey Comparison Report.
- Linux Desktops are no threat to Windows XP's dominance. While
49% of businesses do have some Linux clients present in their
organizations, only 1% uses Linux as its' primary desktop.
- Red Hat is the Number One Linux Distribution Vendor. Red Hat
holds 45% market share compared to 25% market share for its
nearest competitor, Novell SuSE.
- Approximately 20% of businesses will purchase outside
indemnification for potential copyright infringement lawsuits.
- One-third of businesses using Linux has provided no Linux
training for their IT staffs.
- Slightly more than one-third of companies - 35% -- will use
only in-house resources for their Linux migrations.
- The overwhelming majority of businesses converting from Unix
to Linux 80% will not retrain their Unix administrators on Linux.
Overall, Yankee Group's North American Linux Windows 2005 TCO
Comparison Survey shows that Microsoft clearly and convincingly
corrected the most severe technical customer concerns. It must
now maintain that vigilance. The survey responses also show that
Linux is no longer a pristine Utopian environment.
The increasing popularity and deployment of Linux and open source
are making it prey to the same TCO issues that have long plagued
their Microsoft Windows counterparts. Additionally, the Linux
market is beginning to experience "forking" or fragmentation
among the various distributions and customized code. There is a
high probability that this will increase interoperability and
integration issues. Corporate customers are already concerned
about this. In summary, Linux and Windows each have specific
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which can
impact a corporation's TCO and ROI, positively or negatively.
To achieve optimum results and avoid undue deployment problems
and expenses, corporations must perform a thorough cost,
performance risk analysis to determine the right technology
option. Any business that does not know or cannot determine the
key costs associated with its software infrastructure risks
making the wrong technology decision. Such a mistake may
adversely impact the TCO of their respective environments
By Laura DiDio