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Microsoft Windows versus Linux TCO, part 10

Pro-Windows readers share the reasons why they go with Bill Gates and Co. and not Linux or Unix.

Linux advocates cried foul when SearchWindowsManageability published Microsoft's announcement that Windows could beat Linux in total cost of ownership. In this ongoing series of letters, they've cited their negative experiences with Windows. Now, in this batch of letters, pro-Windows readers retaliate.

King of kings

Submitted by Junjie Li

Windows is king on both the client and server side.

Every desktop and laptops at our company runs Windows 2000 Professional, and they run smoothly with hundreds of applications, security configurations and lockdown by GPOs.

The desktop is stable and fast because everything from application installation and configuration to Office configurations are controlled by GPOs. Users are not allowed to install unauthorized applications and change the system configurations.

Furthermore, by using RIS (Remote Installation Service) and third-party imaging tools, Symantec Ghost in our case, we can re-image desktops in 10 minutes.

Windows is king on the server side, too. We use Windows Server Cluster to support DHCP and WINS, and multiple Domain Controllers to support Active Directory. One server, Windows Server Cluster, supports 350 printers and has achieved 99.9% availability during the past 2+ years.

We use domain-level Distributed File System for load sharing and availability and unified logical naming space to simplify both programming and system administration in an uncharted area. These Windows features easily blow away Netware and Unix in file and print service areas.

Our Exchange 2000 is running on server clusters and is integrated into Active Directory. Web servers run on Network Load Balancing server to provide both availability and high performance. SQL Server 2000 runs on Windows Server Cluster. Outlook Security blocks viruses and has not allowed a wide virus spread since the Windows 2000 rollout in 2000.

In a word, Windows is king. Add Active Directory and other distributed-computing technologies like DFS, enhanced built-in security features and seamless integration with Office and messaging, and it easily defeats client-server structured Unix and Netware, whose technologies are out of date and can be replaced by AD.

Therefore Windows is king of kings.

Windows better for businesses

Submitted by Mike Jett

Microsoft has products that allow businesses to run. Linux is fine for some things, for others it will always take a back seat to Microsoft.

I am a Network Administrator at a small company. Our employees use Outlook on the client side and POP3 servers on Linux boxes on the server side.

For 75 people we have 4 Linux servers. Four for 75 people!

These aren't leftover systems waiting for retirement. These servers are fairly new and strong systems. The weakest is a 500mhz PIII, and the others are stronger. Implementing Exchange would eliminate most of these servers and add a wide range of capabilities we don't have with POP3.

Public folders, e-mail-enabled folders, global address lists, are just a few of the things that come out of the box with Exchange. True, these things cost money, but it costs money to run a business. "Business" being the operative word.

Add it up, and Windows wins

Submitted by Randy Lemieux

I came into this business with the standard bias against Microsoft.

After supporting a large user base primarily using Microsoft systems, I have come to respect Microsoft products and find them easier to learn, work with and support than anything else available. In my opinion, Microsoft is a much better investment and less costly overall for most companies.

After you factor in training, the inability to use new hardware as soon as it comes out, the salary difference in IT professionals and the amount of support available, Windows systems are a much better investment for any business.

Fact: Windows runs on just about any system, old or new, and is supported by all major manufacturers, most of whom provide drivers for Windows, not Linux. Any new hardware (video card, audio card, etc.) needs to have drivers custom developed for Linux by open sources. Try and find a full-featured drive for Linux for the ATI Radeon 9700 pro.

Fact: The majority of IT professionals know Windows products, not Linux products. Therefore, in a market-driven economy, an experienced Linux professional will cost more than an experienced Microsoft-trained professional.

Fact: With the introduction of Windows 2000 and XP, show-stopping bugs have dropped dramatically (BSDs are a small percentage of what they were on NT) and most are driver-related issues.

Fact: The Windows update feature introduced with Windows 2000 SP3 and Windows XP SP1, allowing companies to approve updates with Microsoft's free Software Update Services server to easily keep systems updated.

Fact: Office products for Microsoft are vastly superior to Star Office and the Corel Suite, or any other office package for Linux-based systems.

Fact: Microsoft provides a free online knowledge base that has a huge amount of information, allowing users and administrators to find answers to most problems quickly and easily.

Fact: Average company users are non-technical and would require training to learn something different than what they have at home.


Running Windows applications on Linux could lower TCO

Microsoft: Linux looks cheap at first, but the costs come later

Microsoft: It's time to deal with Linux, not deny it

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