[lug] Analysis of Windows servers.

Kevin Cullis kevincu at orci.com
Fri Oct 20 13:04:03 MDT 2000

I was recently given some numbers by a manager from a company's
corporate office who was looking at deploying Linux within his IT
department as a pilot project.  Below are some of his numbers with some
added arguments of my own.

Argument #1: Numbers

Here are his actual numbers from his presentation:

  Server   Admin'ss   Salary's    # of CPUs
  ------   --------   --------    ---------
  UNIX        3       $75,000        45
  NT         30       $50,000       180

Now, most managers would look only at the salary of an individual and
say that it's cheaper to run NT than UNIX. In my Quality Assurance
circles, this type of focus is called suboptimization, only looking at
the smallest part. This is the prevalent thought pattern of most
managers and is taught by our educational institutions (and Gov. Owens
wants to grade our kids on these errors. OK, I'll buy into the fact that
kids will get an A, in communism ;-). Extreme comment, but you get my
drift). And guess what, some managers would fight tooth and nail to make
sure that the NT administrators salary's are going down over time!!  In
QA circles, this is focusing on COST only, not productivity!

But, let's look at the REAL numbers.
  Server   Admin's   Salary's    # CPUs  Srvr/Admin
  ------   -------   --------    ------  ----------
  UNIX       3       $75,000       45      1:15
  NT        30       $50,000      180      1:6

So, one UNIX administrator takes care of 15 machines as a rule versus an
NT administrator takes care of six machines. Now, let's look at the
total cost of the salaries:

                                         Ratio        Total
  Server   Admin's   Salary's    # CPUs  Srvr/Admin     Cost
  ------   -------   --------    ------  ----------  ---------
  UNIX       3       $75,000       45      1:15       $225,000
  NT        30       $50,000      180      1:6      $1,500,000

Now, if you were to take the 1:15 ratio and convert the NT servers to
UNIX, what would the cost be (180 servers divided by 15 administrators):

                                          Ratio        Total
  Server   Admin's   Salary's    # CPUs  Srvr/Admin     Cost
  ------   -------   --------    ------  ----------  ---------
  UNIX       3       $75,000       45      1:15       $225,000
  NT        30       $50,000      180      1:6      $1,500,000
  UNIX(new) 12       $75,000      180      1:15       $900,000

**BOTTOM LINE: The difference (SAVINGS!) between the NT and UNIX(new) is
$600,000 in first year savings ALONE!! In addition, that's a 50%
increase in a persons salary!!

But, let's be conservative, let's use a 1:10 ratio.

                                          Ratio        Total
  Server   Admin's   Salary's    # CPUs  Srvr/Admin     Cost
  ------   -------   --------    ------  ----------  ---------
  UNIX       3       $75,000       45      1:15       $225,000
  NT        30       $50,000      180      1:6      $1,500,000
  UNIX(new) 18       $75,000      180      1:10     $1,350,000

That's still a SAVINGS of $150,000 a year and every year after that!!

Argument #2: Licensing

How many of you have actually read Microsoft's licensing agreement?  I
would gather very few if not none.  Did you know that Microsoft's Office
licensing is costing you at least three times as much compared with the
recent licensing agreements? Here's how. Office 4.2 licensing agreements
allowed you to place Office on 3 separate machines, work, home, and
laptop.  Today's Office 2000 licensing agreements allow only one
software package for EACH computer.  You've just tripled your costs!

For migrating from Windows NT to 2000, I don't have his numbers, but
figure that there is going to be cost increase in purchasing Microsoft's
licensing, even from the same specs of an NT to a 2000 license. Oh, and
by the way, Ingram Micro, Merrisel, and Tech Data all have salesmen who
deal in Microsoft licensing all day because of it's complexity in Level
A, B, and C.  Whereas Sun charges you a one time fee of $75 for a
Solaris 8 CD for Intel machines and you're free to run it on any number
of machines.  But if you want, you can go down to your local computer
store and buy a copy of Linux, with manuals, for anywhere from $30-150
and run it on any number of machines you want, too.  Or, got to
Linuxmall.com and order the $2.00 CD without the manuals or download it
for free if you've got the bandwidth.

                                                 # CPU
  Software                     Cost              Cost (30)
  --------                     -----             -------
  2000 Server+5 Clients       $400 One server   $12,000
  Sun Solaris                  $75 Unlimited        $75
  Linux(runs on more hardware) $30 Unlimited        $30 

By the way, each different name of Windows refers to a different OS, how
much, I don't know, but they still are different even if the icons stay
the same. ;-)

Argument #3: Education and Support

To send each administrator to the Windows 2000 server training would
cost about $2000 per administrator per class and Sun's three
administrator's classes cost about $2000-2500 per class.

  Admin's   Cost/Training              Cost
  -------   ------------             --------
  30          $2,000                   $60,000
  12 UNIX     $7,500(3 classes)        $90,000

You can get support packages from Microsoft, Sun, and Redhat Linux, but
I didn't have the time to look them up, but I would expect that they
would be in the same ball park, thousands of dollars!

Argument #4: Maintenance

Most computer people recognize the key metric in computers is uptime,
the amount of time the server/computer stays up without crashing. 
During the roll out of Windows2K, Bill Gates had a slide which ACTUALLY
stated that Microsoft recommended that you reboot your Windows
servers/computers at least every 3-5 DAYS!! UNIX has uptimes of MONTHS,
not days!!  Would you trust an aircraft or car manufacturer with stats
like that? Then why are you satisfied with such low quality in computer
software? Demand better!

Now a figure which I'm not privy to is, how productive (happy?) are the
System administrators between UNIX and Windows? I.e. how busy with
fixing things are Windows administrators versus UNIX?  The fallacy of
most managers is that the NT/2000 folks are busy fixing things and are
definitely earning their keep whereasa UNIX administrators have things
running smoothly to begin with allowing them to spend more time
IMPROVING things than trying like Windows administrators just to keep
things staying afloat.  Quality folks, quality!!

Argument #5: Security

Did you know that there are over 50,000 viruses for Microsoft products
(as of last year this time).  Do you remember the ILOVEYOU virus and
it's variants? In UNIX, there are virtually NO viruses, although they
can be written.  Why?  Because most UNIX people understand their
computers better and have better habits than Windows administrators.

Don't forget the cost of lost or stolen data by black hatted crackers
(hackers are white hat computer people), lost productivity while
computers were down, and slower patch fixes to proprietary software.

Argument #6: Small businesses

IF you're a small business, outsource your UNIX administration work
since remote administration of UNIX has been designed in from the very
beginning. The only thing which a remote administrator has to worry
about is someone having to turn the computer off and on again in case of
emergency, which is VERY RARE!!  Besides, your uptime will be so long
that you'll almost forget you had a server.


I hope I didn't bore you with too much. If there are any glaring error,
let me know so that I can fix them, or if you have info which

Oh, and what was the reaction of the CIO and CFO of this type of
analysis?  "Why would we want to migrate?"  Maybe a thing called
production?  Cost Savings?  Go figure, I did and they still didn't like
the numbers.

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