Large and medium sized enterprises should prepare for a future of server consolidation, running both Linux and Windows while planning for the domination of Intel-based hardware, delegates at a Microsoft seminar were told last week.
A stalemate between the two server operating systems was accepted by Microsoft, which argued that it was time for the industry to stress the business benefits of IT.
Nick Barley, business and marketing officer at Microsoft UK, said that firms were no longer required to choose between Linux and Windows.
"We have to reconnect with our customers and explain what motivates us. The holy jihad pro Microsoft or Linux has to stop. We have to explain the business benefits of IT," he said.
Barley claimed that Microsoft's key strength is to "make the complex simple", and that Linux is changing to a commercial model like Windows. But he acknowledged that there are still issues surrounding Windows security.
Tim Hall, head of marketing, mid-market business group, at reseller Computacenter, told vnunet.com that cost remains the big business issue for customers and that the biggest technology issue is integration.
"It is more about where you are coming from [in deciding which server system to buy]," he explained.
"If you have Unix skills and proprietary Unix and Risc there are massive savings going to Linux and Intel. It is like a change of accent but still speaking the same language."
Phil Dawson, senior programme director at analyst Meta Group, maintained that the Linux/Intel combination would continue to eat into Unix sales.
"Linux will consolidate a lot of Unix in 2006-7, and Intel will be the winner. By 2008 x86 [Intel or compatible processors] will dominate all platforms, with 95 per cent of all workloads," he said.
Dawson added that consolidation down to fewer Intel-based servers was often appropriate for both operating environments.
But he warned that integration could be a bigger issue for the Windows platform, and suggested that Microsoft should produce a 'Windows services for Linux' as it already has for Unix to demonstrate a full commitment to co-existence.
"Meta Group says not to go single vendor for any technology. We recommend dual vendor. It is not one size fits all," said Dawson.
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