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Linux vs Windows TCO: The numbers are in

By   |  December 13, 2004

Australian company Cybersource has released an updated version of its Linux versus Windows TCO Comparison study which finds Linux is as much as 36% cheaper than Windows. Even using the more costly Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Cybersource found Linux to be more than 25% cheaper than Windows.

The study (linux_vs_windows_tco_comparison.pdf) covers the average computer-usage requirements for an organisation with 250 users, over a three year period. The costing models include expenses such as workstations, servers, networking, IT staff, consultancy fees, Internet service charges, file, mail and print servers, e-commerce servers, SQL and network infrastructure servers, Internet and intranet servers, line-of-business software, desktop productivity applications, external training, printers as well as miscellaneous systems costs. The study also compares free-download Linux with paid-for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

\”We know that Cybersource is identified as a Linux solution provider, so we made great effort to prepare a balanced and open analysis,\” says Cybersource CEO Con Zymaris. \”The prices used for the study, along with research methodology, vendor specifications, cost calculator tabulations and final results are all included, so that these results can be verified by others.

\”Additionally, we made the following concessions to tip the scales in Microsoft\’s favour:

\”We didn\’t modify the model to reflect research by the Robert Frances Group which shows that Linux needed 82% fewer staff-resources.

\”We have not included the costs of malware; viruses, spyware, worms, keyloggers, adware etc. Every research point we have found suggests that this cost is essentially and predominantly a Windows platform cost, resulting in billions lost by business every year.

\”We have also not included the substantial costs which arise when systems need to be pre-emptively rebooted or worse, crash, resulting in unscheduled downtime. All our research indicates that Linux rarely, if ever, suffers such problems and open source platforms on the whole are extremely robust.

\”Finally, because Microsoft has claimed that introducing Linux into an environment will lead to increased reliance on external consultants, we have tripled the amount budgeted for such requirements on the Linux models.

\”The results make for interesting reading,\” says Zymaris.

The study finds that standard (downloaded) Linux has a 36% lower overall TCO than Microsoft\’s platforms and applications. Even the paid-for Red Hat Enterprise Linux managed systems were 27% lower cost than Windows.

\”We know that many organisations and many governments around the world are looking at adopting Linux and are therefore carefully analysing the numbers. We now provide what we think are the tools for making such a decision easier. And the final numbers are indeed startling. We\’ve given Microsoft every head-start possible but Linux\’s cost advantage is simply too great for most organisations to ignore,\” says Zymaris.


2 Responses to “Linux vs Windows TCO: The numbers are in”

  1. Bheku Terence Msimanga
    January 5th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    I don\’t know if anyone\’s noticed but there\’s an ad I keep running across on a few reputable (IMHO)Open Source sites that dispute the fact that Linux TCO is cheaper. Am I missing something? Why would they be placing those ads on their sites?

    I\’ve also seen a number of those adverts recently appearing on popular FOSS websites. Most (if not all) are placed by Microsoft itself and usually point to the Get the Facts campaign the company has. Which is fair enough, but it is interesting to me that Microsoft is increasingly spending ad money on placing ads on what are ostensibly \”opposition\” sites. At the very least it means they recognise the significant size of the open source community. – Editor

  2. Raldo
    January 27th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    If you search for \”Cybersource Australia\” in Google, you\’ll find the results interesting, especially the fact that they seem to be Linux specialists. I\’m not for or against Open Source (still need to make my mind up about it), but I choose to believe TCO comparison reports from neutral researchers, such as META Group. They are probably more reputable as well.

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