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Enterprises opening their wallets for Linux

A spending survey conducted by indicates that enterprises will increase their Linux spending by as much as 10% or more in 2004.

Spending on Linux will climb by as much as 10% at enterprises surveyed recently by

Of the 130 IT administrators and decision makers who responded to the online survey, 43% expect to spend 10% more than they did last year on Linux-related products or projects, while 17% expect to spend between 6% and 10% more. None of those surveyed reported that they will reduce Linux-related spending.

Most of the spending is expected to go toward hardware and operating system upgrades, primarily at the expense of Windows and of Unix systems like Solaris, HP-UX and AIX.

The increase [in spending on Linux] is pure economics.
Chris Ridley
OnCall Solutions

"The increase is pure economics," said Chris Ridley of OnCall Solutions, in Litchfield, N.D. Ridley said his firm expects to boost its Linux spending by 75%, as it pushes Windows out the door and lets Linux take over on the perimeter, doing Web serving and print, file and mail serving. Linux will even be used on the desktop. Ridley expects 70% of his company's spending to go toward server software and 30% to the desktop.

"Yeah, I've seen the big ads that Microsoft total cost of ownership is cheaper than Linux," he said. "That analysis does not account for the viruses, [the] patch nightmare and the loss of productivity that accompanies Microsoft products. That is the deal breaker. Secure, stable and manageable has the best TCO."

Thirty-five percent said that their greatest commitment to spending on Linux is in upgrading the OS, while 30.5% said money will go to server hardware upgrades, and 29.5% said the greatest commitment was to data center migrations.

Andy Tsouladze, senior Unix system administrator with UAL Loyalty Services, a subsidiary of United Airlines, said that spending on hardware at his company is likely to increase more than 10 times, as the company explores moving from Solaris to Linux.

"Cost, extreme flexibility, unparallel support by [the] Linux community [is driving the change in spending]," Tsouladze said, and "in some cases, performance -- there are applications that are proven to be more efficient on Linux than on other Unix flavors."

Tsouladze, however, doesn't see a wholesale migration off of Solaris to Linux anytime soon.

"Most of our Unix [administrators], including myself, use Linux both at work and at home," he said. "This provides consistency, security and flexibility. In the production environment, where Windows does not belong, Linux does replace Solaris, but just a little. I do not expect Linux to replace Solaris altogether anytime soon -- more likely, never. As for applications, there are some that can run equally well on any Unix and, in this case, Linux has [the] advantage because of its low cost. In other cases, which are few, Linux can outperform Solaris. Finally, there are applications that are available only on Linux."

Other areas where respondents expect more Linux spending -- including increases of up to 5% -- include networking infrastructure, utilities and systems management software, application software, database software, development tools, and Web services. Security, storage hardware and software, and training also were noted as areas of increased spending.

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