So Iâ€²ve ordered Microsoft Canadaâ€²s “Get the Facts” CD kit.
I wanted to see all of the independent studies those ads you see online are citing, saying that the total cost of ownership (TCO) is much lower for a Windows 2003 Server.
While the studies do prove lots of Microsoft bred IT managers who grew up with a Windows PC and only really know that OS well like purchasing and dealing with Windows servers, most of the studies are surveys which are highly subjective.
In my personal experience, a server with any other operating system and a Windows based server perform completely differently. So much about the underlying operating system of Windows is sub-obtimal that typically it just chugs along compared to anything else, really. This includes linux distributions, BSDs, Mac servers and pretty much anything else I can get my hands on.
As far as maintaining a Linux, Unix, Sun or other odd branded server is concerned – your costs are definitely going to be higher on a per-incident basis because you need someone with a higher degree of training to fix the problem. Considering the fact that youâ€²re much less likely to have an issue with, for example Linux or Unix than with a Windows server this might offset the cost. I canâ€²t say anything conclusively on this either.
Interoperability was a major point in thier missives. From what I read the IT managers who migrated to Windows Server 2003 threw their hands up in the air and said, “Hey! This is easier to administer and itâ€²s not that bad!” Microsoft has taken a slightly better stance lately on using open standards in their products, but it is admittedly half-assed as it usually is. This might get better with time, as long as we continue to be savvy consumers and demand better. They may be a slow-moving giant but Microsoft does seem to listen.
The big sticking point in all of these articles seems to be indemifying clients against loss associated with their use of the product. Essentially if you buy your server software, supposedly you are protected should someone sue you. If you use an open-source, free alternative they argue that your hands are tied.
The articles downplay the fact that many linux groups and Linux-based companies have come up with indemnification solutions of their own. Iâ€²m no expert on this so I canâ€²t even comment on it.
From what Iâ€²ve read of my end user licence agreement (EULA) for my copy of Windows XP (admittedly a consumer product) I can not hold Microsoft in any way responsible for damages that arise from the use of their product. This includes claims of fitness for a particular use, merchantability, etc, etc, etc… The legalese goes on for a while and basically lets you know youâ€²re boned if you get sued for using Windows and letting something sensative slip out.
So the world of business consumers getting indemnification is completely new to me. Iâ€²ll have to read more on the subject.
Overall? Iâ€²d have to say that I need to learn more. Iâ€²ve used Linux distributions of many flavours for years for my own purposes and this website is, in fact now hosted on a modest Linux box. (Which Iâ€²m sure you can glean from the HTTP request.)
I generally like the stability of Linux. Iâ€²ve never had downtime with linux due to anything but a hardware failure. If I were to have a server farm with no SPFs (Single Points of Failure) I could make that exactly zero percent downtime, easily. Iâ€²ve had a shaky relationship with running servers on any flavour of Windows.
So Microsoft definitely has itâ€²s work cut out for them convincing die-hard fans of alternate solutions like myself of their merits. Iâ€²m sure theyâ€²re not worried as they have lots of money. 🙂