The total cost of ownership (TCO) of running the Linux operating system works out as much as 80 per cent cheaper than Unix, according to new research.
The results of a three-month study on the TCO of Linux versus Unix, released today by analyst IDC, reveals a 45 to 80 per cent lower amount for Linux on Intel against Unix on Risc.
According to the study, Linux has emerged as a viable and cost-effective alternative to Unix for enterprise computing across the internet, intranet, extranet and collaborative workloads.
"For enterprises with the right mix of requirements and skills, Linux offers tremendous potential to lower the costs associated with supporting application workloads," said IDC.
"Associated costs with Linux are not only dramatically lower for the hardware and software, as you might expect, but are comparable or lower for staffing, which you might not expect," it added.
But to realise the potential of Linux, enterprises must take the first step to pilot Linux and then build a strategy for longer-term deployment that may include expanded application or infrastructure workloads supported by new systems, or the migration of some existing workloads over to new or re-deployed systems running Linux.
According to the research, the key to realising the benefits of Linux in the enterprise begins with careful consideration of where to deploy Linux, understanding why to deploy it in these roles, managing expectations and monitoring results.
"Success requires good alignment between the requirements of the workload, the capabilities of the IT organisation, and the attributes of Linux, such as cost, performance and reliability," said the report.
However, the results of the study "show promise for early and continued Linux adoption in many enterprises".
"With staffing typically the largest component of overall IT solution costs, this finding has important implications for IT planning," said IDC. "In summary, Linux provides a lower-cost platform for these workloads, especially in the first year of deployment."
Sponsored by Red Hat, IDC analysts Dan Kusnetzky, Al Gillen and Scott McLarnon collected data for the study through 142 in depth telephone interviews between June and September 2001 with companies of over 100 employees deploying Linux on the Intel platform and Unix on Risc-based systems.
The full white paper can be downloaded from RedHat.com.
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