IDC study backs Linux cost-saving
- Wednesday, November 17 - 2004 at 16:52
Taken from a White Paper published on www.ibm.com, this article summarises the benefits of Linux and Intel-based servers in cutting the cost of enterprise computing according to an IDC study for IBM and Red Hat.
The positive results achieved by Linux in that study led to a joint request from Red Hat and IBM to further understand the TCO and return on investment for customers using both firms' offerings.
The original study identified a distinct TCO advantage for Linux on Intel servers over Unix on RISC servers for both Internet/intranet/ extranet and collaborative workloads. These workloads are defined on page 4 of this document.
The RISC/Unix TCO was 1.8 times higher than that of Linux in the Internet/intranet/extranet workload and 5.5 times higher than that of Linux in the collaborative workload.
Much lower costs
Linux on the Intel platform has emerged as a viable alternative to RISC/Unix for mission-critical enterprise computing. For enterprises with the right mix of requirements and skill, Linux offers tremendous potential to lower costs associated with supporting application workloads.
Backing that statement are the results of a study conducted on the cost of computing, which showed Linux with a lower cost of ownership versus competitive RISC/Unix environments. Data was gathered and analyzed about staffing, support by function, expenditures, costs, growth rates, deployment, benefits achieved, and downtime.
The length of the interviews ranged from slightly more than 20 minutes to nearly 90 minutes. The interviews were conducted with senior IT managers and staff in a diverse set of organizations.
IDC conducted in-depth interviews with seven companies in North America and Europe that had migrated their server platforms to a number of Red Hat Linux releases including Red Hat's Advanced Server (now known as Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS) and running on IBM xSeries Intel-based servers and utilizing IBM middleware software such as, WebSphere, DB2, Lotus, and/or Tivoli.
The goal of the interviews was to assess the business benefits generated by migration. On average the companies interviewed for the study that made data available for this study realized an average ROI of 504% when assessed over a three-year time frame at a discount rate of 10%.
Payback under three months
In most cases, the payback of the initial investment in hardware and software was achieved in less than three months. The combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and IBM's platform hardware and middleware software should be part of a prudent evaluation for enterprises looking to achieve the benefits listed above.
To realize the potential of Linux, enterprises must take the first step to pilot Linux and then build a vision for longer-term deployment that may include expanded application or infrastructure workloads supported by new systems or redeployed systems running Linux.
The original study concluded that the key to realizing the benefits of Linux in the enterprise begins with a careful consideration of where to deploy Linux, understanding why to deploy in these roles, managing expectation, and monitoring results.
Success requires good alignment between the requirements of the workload, the capabilities of the IT organization, and the attributes of Linux (cost, performance, reliability, manageability, applications, availability, and vendor support).
Considering these factors, we found that Internet/intranet/ extranet and collaborative computing show promise of early and continued Linux adoption in many enterprises.
These findings were reinforced by the new research, which indicates that Linux on Intel-based servers is moving beyond these workloads into what are seen as mission-critical applications. The case studies featured in this IDC White Paper show this expansion.
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