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Cisco IT Manager Targeting 70% Linux

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the big-switches dept.

Linux Business 312

RMX writes "LinuxWorld Australia has an interesting article discussing Linux Desktop adoption in Cisco. Cisco "already converted more than 2,000 of its engineers to Linux desktops...plans to move many laptop users to the platform over the next few years...the driver for Linux on the desktop is not cost savings, but easier support. Manning estimates that it takes a company approximately one desktop administrator to support 40 Windows PCs, while one administrator can support between 200 and 400 Linux desktops.'"

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312 comments

That interesting. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722630)

I guess they don't like Active Dectory.

Offtopic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722792)

The use of Active Directory woudl address some of the issues in the article.

Ass hat moderator!

Re:Offtopic? (2, Funny)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722996)

Active Directory would only address the issue if it was deployed in a homogenous Windows environment. Since Cisco have decided to have at least some Linux workstations, Active Directory is effectively useless, since it is not possible (AFAIK) to have true single sign on in an Active Directory domain on a Linux box.

Of course, when Microsoft releases the Linux client, I'm sure Cisco would be willing to evaluate it as a solution...

Bob

40:1 ? (3, Insightful)

Heem (448667) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722635)

Ha, 40:1 ratio for desktop support personell for windows? Tell that to alot of IT managers, in particular, my former employer. Try 200:1

Re:40:1 ? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722744)

I'll admit I am no fan of Windows, but 40:1 does sound off. I support users coast to coast at 24 different divisions, and we too are closer to 200:1.

However, I do also support a number of Linux/FreeBSD servers and think they are much less trouble. Also, have heard admins on both systems who say they support thousands of systems.

Re:40:1 ? (2, Interesting)

Heem (448667) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722875)

Remember too, they are talking desktops, not servers. My previous position, I had 3 guys supporting 400 desktops and about 200 servers, that in addition to admin voice over IP and 3 locations. ugh. Kinda takes the sting out of my had being laid off. My new job I have no desktops to contend with and only about 50 servers.. for more money. ;-)

Re:40:1 ? (4, Insightful)

Radical Rad (138892) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722898)

Ha, 40:1 ratio for desktop support personell for windows?

I used to work in an all-microsoft shop back when Nt4 was new and at that time the ratio for us was about 20-30 users to 1 support person. However we did more than just helpdesk support. But when I left to come to a NetWare shop I was amazed at how many more users were being supported per number of IT people. It was at least triple. And to top it off, at the NetWare shop we are responsible for much more than at the other place. In addition to data we also handle phone and security and support users at remote locations. So I think the ratio will differ from company to company depending on various things but I know from experience that Windows is support intensive.

Re:40:1 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11723017)

Well that,or maybe your new company just really sucks...

Re:40:1 ? (5, Insightful)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#11723045)

It really depends on the company and skill level of the admin. The typical person on slashdot is not the typical windows admin. I've seen plenty of shops where the ratio was as low as 1:12 and the admins were still freaking out and had no idea how to handle themselves. On a side note however, not only is the ratio of admin to user better for linux because of easy administration tools and things that just work(tm) but its also much easier to just say "okay here is your home directory, have fun" Lock them from the rest of the system (every distro I've seen does this by default more or less). Do an incremental rsync of their home directories everynight and if something ever goes wrong just delete their home and replace it with a good copy. The nice thing about linux is that once it gets running, it stays running. This is from experience of setting up shops with Fedora or Red Hat Enterprise Desktop depending on their needs and level of necessary suport etc...
Regards,
Steve

Re:40:1 ? (4, Interesting)

Wateshay (122749) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722901)

It probably depends a lot on the type of user that you're supporting. Supporting secretaries who do nothing but type and send email is going to be a lot easier than supporting engineers who have use a wide variety of software requirements, push their computers hard, and often need new software products installed.

Re:40:1 ? (4, Insightful)

flithm (756019) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722958)

All of you people who are balking at the 40:1 ration need to grow up. No offense to you or your little piddly-ass companies, but this is an article about Cisco.

Every company is different, and I guarantee you most of the people at Cisco are doing a hell of a lot more interesting things that answering email, writing word documents, and scheduling meetings.

You really have to consider all the factors involved, of which we don't have many, so if the IT manager at Cisco says he need 1 support person for every 40 machines, he's probably not lying.

Maybe instead of merely slamming his numbers you could try to extrapolate and learn from.

Re:40:1 ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11723007)

screw you.

Re:40:1 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11723030)

But Cisco is a piddly-ass company!

Re:40:1 ? (2, Interesting)

unoengborg (209251) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722968)

Yes, 40:1 ratio for windows sounds a bit pessimistic. But so does 400:1 for Linux. I have seen installations with 10 times as many users per sysadmin both in the windows and the Linux case.

I suppose it's all about what level of service you want to provide to your users. The basic message that Linux is easier to admin still holds true though.

Re:40:1 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11723018)

4000 users per sysadmin? Supporting helpdesk, network, setup, etc? I call bull.

Re:40:1 ? (2)

Spoing (152917) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722990)

  1. Ha, 40:1 ratio for desktop support personell for windows? Tell that to alot of IT managers, in particular, my former employer. Try 200:1

40:1 actually seems high if you take into account the time spent by informal power users.

Though I'm not (officially) an admin on this contract, I am pulled in frequently to handle problems with systems...nearly always Windows 2000 and XP. The Linux systems are almost(!) drop and forget. Not as ignorable as Netware, though much more adaptable.

1:40 ? (4, Interesting)

flyman (222396) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722638)

That is the worst support ratio in history. I hate Windoze, but no large support org has that bad of ratios. Mine are approx. 250:1 for a Win2k shop, which is pretty average.

I figured that (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722753)

> That is the worst support ratio in history.

Why am I not surprised...

One could tell by the price of their products... Inefficient bastards.

Re:1:40 local support, ex. central IT admins (3, Informative)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722770)

We're typically 1:30 for local areas which is basically admin of the LAN, user applications, etc. Add to that central security, networking, hardware support, and we're down to 1:15.

Including in-house bespoke application support (specialist programmers emplyed under an IT remit, rather than technically able and active users) and you're down to 1:6 in some areas. On the other hand we have specialist terminals (with high maintainence requirements as well as user training etc) which are more like 1:90.

Inefficiency abounds in some companies.

Re:1:40 local support, ex. central IT admins (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#11723053)

What do those 15 people do that requires 1 person to look after them.

Get your ex boss to drop me an email and I'll cut the administration and support down by say 70%, just by getting the desktops locked down.

Last place I worked for had 40 employees in the office, we had someone visit for no more than one day a week, about one security issue a week (lost password, new password etc...) and in the two years + I worked there we had a network upgrade that took two people half a week, and about a weeks work fixing a broken SDLC card.

So, for 40*5 = 200 days of employee we had 2 days of sysadmin, for a 1:100 ration.

Re:1:40 ? (1)

Radical Rad (138892) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722943)

So you expect us to believe that a company with 250 employees running W2K can get by with an MIS department made up of exactly 1 person?

Re:1:40 ? (2, Interesting)

quelrods (521005) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722962)

You have to be kidding. At my former company they had 2 windows admins and those guys were busy non-stop. "My outlook is broken." "The internet is down." "I opened a virus attachment [that the virus scanner didn't detect]." You name it but for the 48 people there they couldn't have even gotten away with just 1 admin.

Re:1:40 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11723043)

Funny how this kind of apocryphal, unsubstantiated crap always gets modded "interesting" or "insightfiul" when it leans towards the Linux/OSS point of view.

Re:1:40 ? (2, Insightful)

gabebear (251933) | more than 8 years ago | (#11723005)

Seems pretty low to me, but I've heard of much worse, although I really don't see how they improved by switching. You have to take in to consideration what their tech support does; support ratios alone don't mean anything;
  • How often are computers replaced? You can no longer easily ghost Windows between different computers.
  • How many computers per user?
  • laptops generally require more support
  • How bad is employee turnover?

Get the Facts(TM)! (5, Funny)

cdavies (769941) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722651)

So, Linux TCO is greater, eh?

Re:Get the Facts(TM)! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722749)

Is this anecdote any more of a 'fact'?

40:1 is a number he must have pulled out of his ass.

Oh great (4, Funny)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722657)

Now Balmer is going to get on a plane and install Ad-Aware and SP2 on their machines to help with tech support.

Critical mass... (2, Interesting)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722663)

So when linux reaches critical mass and people spend as much time searching for/writing worms for it as they do for windows, how's that support ration going to look?

Re:Critical mass... (1)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722686)

The same. Or nearly the same. OSS mean faster patching.

Re:Critical mass... (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722700)

plus more users = more worms, more developers - with every few users that migrates to linux, there's a developer (as a guess)

Re:Critical mass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722701)

OSS mean faster patching.

So does SUS, accept the patch on the server and all workstations get it.

Re:Critical mass... (2, Interesting)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722707)

Just because a patch is available doesn't mean that one should install it immediately. Regardless of platform, extensive testing needs to be done to verify the patch and ensure that it doesn't break anything.

I have read many articles that say that this sort of testing is often not done with OSS projects prior to the patch being released.

Right, (5, Insightful)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722806)

but usually patches for OSS vulnerabilities are not bundled along with all sorts of other updates. This means that far less testing is usually needed for OSS security patches. (Or, that's the theory, anyway.)

Re:Right, (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722829)

The theory yes, and like a great number of theories that sound good, this one doesn't work too well in practice. Regardless of what other things a patch comes with, it must be rigorously determined that it not only fixes the flaw intended, but also doesn't break anything else. The first part is easy, the second part is not which is my point.

Look at a vulnerability (3, Insightful)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722880)

lists and you'll find that most vulnerabilities are either buffer overflows or string format vulnerabilities. There are very few circumstances where fixing those with a one-liner patch would change behavior in a way that other code depends on. If there were any such code then that in itself indicate possible data corruption bugs in the currently running software.

In short: When you don't bundle fixes you typically have one-line fixes which don't break code which isn't already broken (by relying on buggy behavior). Hence, testing time is minimized.

Re:Critical mass... (2, Interesting)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722912)

Based on my experience, Open Source patches have a much smaller chance of screwing up other things when applied; this is because Open Source software has no vested interest in moving people onto the next "Big Thing" by making it difficult to use the last "Big Thing." Patches are maintained for Linux kernels as long as a significant interest remains in them. If not, you can always get the source and fix it yourself. For Windows 3.11 machines (I know of several that are still in use in my former company) there is no alternative but to "invest" in Windows XP, in this instance. The patch "system" for OSS is about fixing things; the patch "system" for Windows and/or most closed software is more often than not about exercising power over users and forcing upgrades.

Re:Critical mass... (0, Flamebait)

discordja (612393) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722699)

and what exactly is going to happen when a non rooted user executes that worm? about the worst thing that can happen is the home directory to be wiped out .. which amazingly tends to fix the worm problem. with proper backups, you lose a day of work tops? Delete all your home directories, rsync or rdiff your backup in and magically things just work. As long as windows makes admin the default login it will always be less secure and more vulnerable to worms and viruses than *nix.

Re:Critical mass... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722761)

#1 it's a worm, no non-root user is executing anything #2 given the amount of remote root and local root exploits the worm will do a fine job of b0rking the system itself.

Re:Critical mass... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722786)

There are privilege escalation attacks for linux. So not necessarily.

And as far as an admin account being the default, yeah, if you specifically choose to be a retard when you're setting up your network you can do that. You can install things wide open on linux too.

I can only imagine Cisco was running a hetrogenious windows network, with who knows what, and is switching over to a far more homogeneious linux network, and LOW AND BEHOLD! When you replace different and old software with new and similar software there are productivity gains. Shocking.

Re:Critical mass... (3, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722805)

and what exactly is going to happen when a non rooted user executes that worm?

Little if any functionality of most worms requires root privileges. They could run just fine as a user process.

about the worst thing that can happen is the home directory to be wiped out

Which is usually the only directory on a workstation that contains any information of value.

Delete all your home directories, rsync or rdiff your backup in and magically things just work.

You could restore the entire filesystem on any computer to achieve the same thing.

There are many factors that make Linux less worm-prone than windows. Taken together, they add up to a huge disparity in malware prevalence between the two OSes. However, no single factor is a magic bullet, and that includes the relative difficulty of running with root privileges. It's just one small piece of the puzzle.

Re:Critical mass... (1, Flamebait)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#11723071)

and what exactly is going to happen when a non rooted user executes that worm? about the worst thing that can happen is the home directory to be wiped out .. which amazingly tends to fix the worm problem. with proper backups, you lose a day of work tops? Delete all your home directories, rsync or rdiff your backup in and magically things just work.

Oh lovely, so as long as only your personal files and work are wiped out. As long as the files which are identical to the ones on the installation disk survive. At least you don't need to reinstall on the odd occassion when you get a virus. It's far easier to keep a daily backup system.

On another note, have you heard about that new innovation in car safety? If you get in a crash, everyone inside will be burnt alive, but the car itself will be absolutely undamaged.

Re:Critical mass... (2, Funny)

Husgaard (858362) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722734)

Probably the ratio will only slightly worse.

One reason is the better overall security in Linux. For example you actually need to mark a file executable before you can execute it on Linux.

Another reason is the diversity of Linux systems. Worms and virii thrive best in monocultures, and it is hard to write such a beast so it is able to thrive in a hundred different Linux variants.

Re:Critical mass... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722779)

let's be realistic here... there's about 3 vendor's total that you will ever see in a serious corporate environment, not a hundred. People want support.

Re:Critical mass... (1, Insightful)

MPHellwig (847067) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722789)

Okay by this you assume that the (security) design of windows, unix and all other OS'es out there are the same and have the same effects? Naïve at least.
Frankly 2003 with SP1 and XP with SP2 is getting there, it only took them a while.

Re:Critical mass... (2, Insightful)

SunPin (596554) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722814)

So when linux reaches critical mass and people spend as much time searching for/writing worms for it as they do for windows, how's that support ration going to look?


Considering that Linux is not monoculture and Linux machines never run as root the way Windows machines do, the support ratio will not change. Cisco's internal distribution might be monoculture but how do you suppose virus writers will figure out company changes? They won't.


Virus and general malicious software is difficult to write when everyone is running Linux. People will continue to try but only the hardcore. Script kiddies, in contrast, would become extinct.

Re:Critical mass... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722884)

uhh... I know script kiddies who currently work in the linux world only. Please send me some of whatever you're taking, and let me know when you're back from that dream world.

Re:Critical mass... (2, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722888)

Why do people keep bringing this up? It's a logical fallacy. I understand that it seems to make sense that if more people use linux, as much as they use windows, it will be a bigger target and easier to hit.

However, this is simply not the case. Windows is a very homogenous system. Every win2k box is a win2k box. The only differences are slight differences in configuration.

Linux is heterogenous. I mean even if you take a distribution like fedora core 3. Every FC3 box has the same kernel. And if they are up to date they all have the same versions of stuff like glibc. A linux box is a collection of many small pieces of software. Windows is one giant blob of software. So maybe you find a hole in a particular version of openssh. Lots of linux boxes have openssh of varying versions. So you might be able to hit a bunch of them. But it is very difficult to target linux the way you target windows because the number of systems that are similar enough is very small, even if the whole world used it.

You would literally have to find a hole that is present in all 2.4 an 2.6 kernels regardless of patches applied in order to get enough of the linux boxen. And some people still use 2.2. 2.0?

Re:Critical mass... (1)

AaronGTurner (731883) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722903)

Linux is becoming more popular yet it seems the time for an exposed Linux machine on the internet to get hacked seems to have increased, even with the same old distribution. Maybe all that means is that the script kidz simply aren't interested in hacking into Linux machines.

Re:Critical mass... (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722938)

<beat value="dead horse">
Your point that more people will write worms/viruses for Linux once it reaches critical mass may be on target, but your assumption regarding the effect is offbase.

Because most people use Windows as a "root" user and most would not run Linux as a root user (Lindows being the exception) there are very big differences in the possible effects. The differences in Linux and Windows are much greater than the look of the desktop: Most of the security features in Linux are built directly into the kernel, not an application layer. Any system that is designed to be easy to use will be so at the cost of security. While you CAN make a Windows box as secure as a stock Linux box, it requires greater effort than most people are going to go through.

I know this always pisses people off (I am on a Windows box, and use BSD and Linux on all servers) but this is the hard core reality: Windows is easier to use than Linux, even if you are not the proper owner.
</beat>

Re:Critical mass... (0, Flamebait)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722979)

I can post you 10 local root exploits for linux in 2 minutes. Why do you think that not being logged in as root by default on a linux machine makes it anymore secure?

And news flash... NO businesses set up the boxes allowing users to be root/admin by default (and we're talking about businesses here, not home users). So that reasoning is tired at best.

Re:Critical mass... (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 8 years ago | (#11723038)

But ten local root exploits only work if the application they exploit is installed.

Welcome nback to that diverse environment again - if you have a local root exploit in a program that's not installed you're not going to have any success.

(Thats ignoring the regular security updates which would be automated in a big company-wide installation)

Fact is most businesses I've ever seen have been running machines with local users being in the administrator group.. depressing.

Re:Critical mass... (1)

unoengborg (209251) | more than 8 years ago | (#11723046)

You assume that will spend as much time writing malware as they do for windows when the Linux usage reaches some certain level.

I'm not sure that's entirely true. In many cases the motivaiton for making malware is the intellectual challange. People want to make themselves noticed by others. In windows you have no way to make a differee other than by distroy for others. In the world of free software you can show off and make a difference by improving the software instead of destroying it.

Besides with things like SELinux in place, it is much harder to elevate permissions in Linux than in Windows. If you manage to elevate your privileges to root in such systems you might even find that you can do less than the ordinary user unless you are in the right security role.

Heh (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722665)

What gets me is that what they describe could be done with Active Directory and group policies.

Or rather what they couldn't do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722710)

40 to 1. Man.

Christ at some point, even if you've really cobbled something together in an awful manner, you can start delegating some of the busy work with taskpads.

TCO (5, Insightful)

Docrates (148350) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722694)

I wonder if those microsoft studies that show Windows' TCO better than Linux's account for the "productivity" of a linux engineer...

What i'm sure it doesn't show is that a linux engineer handling 200 computers can provide a much better service (due to the fact that more is "known and controllable" in linux than windows) than a windows sysadmin handling the same amount of computers, resulting in lower costs of security, less costs related to spywares, viruses, user support calls, etc.

Re:TCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722755)

What's with "linux engineer"? Since when did the engineering discipline become as trivial as tech support?

Re:TCO (1)

csteinle (68146) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722872)

About the same time it stretched to include the guy who comes to install your cable. Sad, isn't it?

Re:TCO (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722788)

> What i'm sure it doesn't show is that a linux engineer handling 200 computers can provide a much better service (due to the fact that more is "known and controllable" in linux than windows)

And don't forget that the linux support engineer will be more efficient because of the tab key autocomplete feature in Linux.

Re:TCO (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722859)

Command completion's been in Windows since NT 4.0.

You just have to turn it on.

http://www.winxpcentral.com/windows2000/commandl in e-completion.php

You can turn in on via a manual regedit, .reg key, perl script (with Win32::Registry), etc. If you are doing a lot of setups it's easy to automate via one of these methods.

but microsoft.... (2, Funny)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722708)

but microsoft is more secore according to microsoft... /sigh what to do

Re:but microsoft.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722952)

Just like the Bible is the word of God according to the Bible. Some morans will believe anything

Re:but microsoft.... (1)

Husgaard (858362) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722971)

Of course Microsoft is more secure than Microsoft. Anything is more secure than Microsoft...

Handling Firefox (4, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722739)

I am sure they (CISCO) have some Mozilla/Firefox on these PCs. Question is: How have they decided o manage it? Central managing of Mozilla/Firefox is still not [officially] possible now. Any ideas?

Re:Handling Firefox (1)

Paleomacus (666999) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722782)

Am I missing something? What is there to manage for a browser besides installation?

Re:Handling Firefox (1)

MPHellwig (847067) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722837)

Proxy, ssl certs, bookmarks and ofcourse security settings, like what plug-in/extension is trusted, what things may be altered by the user and more important what things not.

Re:Handling Firefox (5, Interesting)

illtud (115152) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722874)

Am I missing something? What is there to manage for a browser besides installation?

In the corporate environment (ie when the PC isn't yours and the company doesn't want to spend ages fixing messes you've made 'personalizing' your PC) you need to lock down some preferences (eg proxy settings, security settings, mail account details if you're using thunderbird/moz suite). This used to be really easy under the old Netscape suite (there was a GUI tool), and although there's some support still left in firefox/mozilla (you can lock down prefs manually in the .js files) it's not half as good as it used to be. Other stuff is rollout support with pre-populated profiles etc.

Check out the Mozilla Enterprise [mozdev.org] project for more details and how some of us have hacked together lockdown and other 'enterprise' requirements.

Bullshit (5, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722748)

They obviously don't know their own department. I worked as a contractor for them a couple years ago. I was the only onsite tech support person for two sites with a total of 250 users, with 99% of those being windows. I was also part of the support teams initial Linux push, and I can tell you that the biggest driver from a customer (end user) perspective was the idea of using cheap Opteron workstations instead of uber expensive Sun stations. A Sun dual CPU workstation at the time with 12GB of ram was over $50k dollars, whereas an Opteron station with more cpu power and the same amount of ram was under $10K. That is a huge difference in price. The biggest factor stopping it from becoming a reality was the fact that at the time the Clearcase tool chain and support tools weren't fully functional under Linux. So I doubt the driver was so much lower desktop support costs as it was lower equipment costs.

Re:Bullshit (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722922)

"250 users, with 99% of those being windows" and then "workstations instead of uber expensive Sun stations" hm... I think you're the one full-o-bull. Also you should know that IT changes VERY quickly and drasticly and yours "contractor for them a couple years ago" clearaly explains this. Anything that happens in IT that is more than a week old is ancient history. Heck I can even vouch that anything happening one hour ago is ancient history where my product is concerened.

Cost Savings (4, Insightful)

p0rnking (255997) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722754)

"... the driver for Linux on the desktop is not cost savings, but easier support. Manning estimates that it takes a company approximately one desktop administrator to support 40 Windows PCs, while one administrator can support between 200 and 400 Linux desktops."

Isn't this still Cost Savings, when you don't need to hire as many admins?

Re:Cost Savings (1)

Spoing (152917) | more than 8 years ago | (#11723037)

    1. "... the driver for Linux on the desktop is not cost savings, but easier support.

    Isn't this still Cost Savings, when you don't need to hire as many admins?

If the only cost is the # of admins, yes. I'm curious what the other factors are. (I can guess, though I'd like to hear what Cisco says and the article is fairly short.)

Not cost driven? (3, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722773)

the driver for Linux on the desktop is not cost savings, but easier support. Manning estimates that it takes a company approximately one desktop administrator to support 40 Windows PCs, while one administrator can support between 200 and 400 Linux desktops.'

And this does not represent a cost savings?

Sounds like a cushy job (0, Offtopic)

hillg3 (656728) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722777)

If i support 200 Windows PCs now - am I doing the work of a team who supports 1000-2000 Linux workstations? Seems like Cisco is starting to pinch pennies. The easiest way for a company to make a quick $50k+= is to lay someone off and not replace them. More power to 'em, but i feel sorry for the people who will lose their jobs.

Their admins suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722778)

The group I work has two engineers and ten help desk guys to support 2500 desktops and 3000 users on Windows.

Re:Their admins suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722999)

You suck!

My group has ONE-BILLION-MILLION desktops and only me and minime as support.

Yours, Dr. Evil

License management... (5, Insightful)

DrDribble (859883) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722795)

Apart from the ease of creating a company software update ftp (apt-get, yeast, swaret, slapt-get, etc), I really think the license and CD administration to be a pain in the Windows admin's butt.

My Windows co-workers often need a CD either because they need new software, or due to their computer requesting a CD due to some function not already installed. Finding the RIGHT CD (they are like 1000 cd's every month, and they are neatly marked in INVISIBLE, but very fancy, writing) is a total pain. Then, there is the issue of which key is used for this one (oh, you used the english version!) really turns this into a nightmare.

Folks running windows run all kinds of different versions of their software. Why, upgrading costs time and money. On my Slackware machines, swaret has done all upgrades for me, totally automatically! Just upgraded one PC from Slackware 9.0 to 10.1 - swaret --upgrade wait for a while (was a 200mhz...) and reboot when all is done. No keys, no CDs, no cost. Totally brilliant!

Re:License management... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722946)

your post screams "BS". No competent corporation would ever let their employees install 10 different versions of the same software. Nor would they ever need cd's because they'd have images available on that *shock* central ftp server.

There is no "CD administration" in a production environment, but you can have an E for effort.

Oh, and there's no CD keys either... the key's are built into the O/S image. And "upgrading" is a matter of pushing out the new O/S via ghost. *SO TOUGH!!!*

Re:License management... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11723047)

Actually both of you are right in someways and wrong in some ways about managing applications in an Microsoft Windows Enterprise environment.

If you have a serious interest in this subject come over to my blog at chrpai.blogspot.com and we can have a civil discussion over the complexities and approaches to enterprise application distribution. Just visit the "Request a Blog" and leave a note saying you want to talk about this.

Meanwhile let the O/S wars resume! Long live Amiga! :)

Linux on the Desktop will Accelerate (2, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722810)

Linux's eventual success on the desktop will be due largely to IBM. As a company, it has made a disproportionately large contribution of programmers and money to the development of Linux. IBM just announced that it will spend an additional $100 million for the sole purpose of proliferating Linux onto the desktop [informationweek.com].

Linux is easier to maintain than Windows, largely thanks to IBM. Linux is more reliable and is less prone to infection by viruses and malware (e.g. spyware) than Windows. IBM ensures that any OS (whether it is commercial or free) shipped to customers on its computer systems meets stringent requirements for reliability.

IBM has been vindicated. IBM initially tried to dethrone Microsoft by producing OS/2, but it was a failure. Now, IBM has thrown its weight behind a product (i.e. Linux) developed outside of IBM, and that product is succeeding in hurting Windows.

Re:Linux on the Desktop will Accelerate (1)

glamslam (535995) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722915)

All true...

But, as an executive of a medium-sized retail chain, I can tell you IBM retail have done a piss-poor job of selling Linux to me. And I want to use Linux!

They are basically forcing us to use IRES which provides nothing we need over the SLRS (Suse Linux Retail Solution). And they don't know what they are selling.

Re:Linux on the Desktop will Accelerate (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722934)

Anonymous for a reason.. I work for Big Blue. I applaud the fact that they are throwing money to Linux on the desktop, but.. they are an 800 pound gorrila with deep pockets. For the most part, they are completely clueless. They own Lotus Notes and use it internally, but, still, the best they can do is a buggered up version of Wine to run in on?? They are in the business of selling hardware and making money by attempting to make software run on it. Nothing more.

I work for Cisco... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722812)

.. and I have to say that their Linux Workstations are extremely well deployed and managed. The desktops themselves are Dual-CPU 3G boxes running a customized version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Carpet is used to manage packages, supported by really nice internal mirrors providing fast access to everything you need to get the job done. The default install even includes acess to Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. Not sure if this is through Crossover or something -- it is so well integrated that I've never had to look under the covers to see how it is done. Having worked at other networking companies where Linux is the default engineering desktop, I have to say that Cisco really gets it when it comes to desktop linux.

Re:I work for Cisco... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722877)

>>I have to say that Cisco really gets it when it comes to desktop linux.

But clearly they don't get it when it comes to Windows desktops if they need 1 support guy for every 40 workstations. That's just astoundingly bad! 200-300 would be the norm.

Re:I work for Cisco... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722966)

cisco guys are going to be more technical. Such windows "power users" are much harder to support than office clerks. 200 or so was the norm in a big bureaucratic non-computing-industry corporation I once worked for - but the support necessary was just for windows, office (including Access) and IE, and various intranet web apps (IE-specific craptivex based, of course).

The requirements for supporting an engineer's windows desktop securely would be much higher, if you support them at all. Whereas on linux, package management that actually works (.msi exists, but it's a whole lot worse than .rpm...), clear segregation of admin and ordinary users, etc., makes support linux workstations for technical people much easier than windows workstations. At my present work, 2 people admin about a hundred physicists' linux desktops, and about 20 windows ones. The linux ones are a centrally-administered breeze, even though each desktop has a different installation profile. So do the windows ones. They aren't a breeze.

more like 1700:5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722851)

We have 600 desktops and 1700 users, we are only 5 persons managing all desktops and server + support.

AND we are absolutely not overworked.
This is Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 running programs from Autocad 2004, eletronic circuit simulations to ship navigation.

Cisco learning with Linux (1)

michelcultivo (524114) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722853)

Why not install Linux to our users and open their mind to what is happening int he World? This can give you more ideas to products and uses of Linux facilities on another products. It's a great idea that will bring more opportunities to Cisco and new products.

Re:Cisco learning with Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722910)

>> Why not install Linux to our users and open their mind to what is happening int he World?

Because, they will ask:

"Where's Word, where's Excel, what have you done with my Visio diagrams and Powerpoint slides, and where have you hidden my copy of Photoshop and Visual Studio you fuckwad?".

That's why.

Re:Cisco learning with Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11723026)

One of the drivers behind Cisco adopting an official Linux build (almost 5 years ago, btw) was that many startups they aquired were already heavy Linux users. Cisco's employees already had Sun workstations and Windows laptops as commonplace.

admin ratio (1)

unix_geek_512 (810627) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722857)

A competent *nix or GNU/Linux geek with the right productivity tools [multihost ssh, yum, and some custom scripts in your favority scripting language{TM}] could maintain 800-2000 servers and workstations particularly if those use the same distribution.

On the other hand a pesky virus/trojan/worm etc can tie up a Windows admin for hours or even days if the compromised machine cannot be simply wiped out and reinstalled. Unfortunately this is also true for other OSes, however in my personal experience it takes a LOT longer to perform simple admin tasks on Windows systems than *nix or GNU/Linux systems.

Linux is a Sys Admins worst enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722890)

So if a sys admin can handle more computer then a company will need less tech support staff. Wouldn't you think every sys admin would want to use Windows instead - JOB SECURITY :-P

what will windows do next (-1, Redundant)

neypo (860979) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722897)

I can see windows giving out free blow jobs to keep their customers.

Re:what will windows do next (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11722945)

Who is 'windows'?

Do you mean Microsoft?

You fucking moron.

Support cost less not due to windows per se... (2, Insightful)

SdnSeraphim (679039) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722899)

What about this idea...
If a support tech can only support 40 windows PCs, but another support tech can support 200 Linux PCs, is the difference the amount of support or the intelligence of the tech.

Now I run windows, and have administered windows and I develop software for windows. However, Linux is not as straightforward to administer as windows. I think it requires someone with more skills to administer a Linux box than a windows box.

Someone with more skills will likely be better at administration in general, regardless of which OS. So it is kind of a split problem. To administer linux boxes, you need someone with a good skill set, but they can administer more boxes, but probably at a higher salary. To administer windows boxes, you may not have to pay as much but each tech supports fewer boxes.

If done right, Windows workstations aren't bad.. (2, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722937)

At my company, we have over 5,000 Windows XP workstations; notebooks and desktops. A team of about 10 people manage the entire system.

With the help of Active Directory, some really neat software (Marimba) and some planning, you can manage thousands of Windows workstations with a minimal staff.

You lock down the machines (no admin logins) you manage the software versions and patches (centralized software distribution) and you don't allow users to install software on their own.

Denying admin logins alone stops 95% of all spyware.

40 workstations without any control WOULD be all an admin could handle, but when you deploy them correctly you can support over 10x that - just like any other system.

Re:If done right, Windows workstations aren't bad. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11723019)

>>Denying admin logins alone stops 95% of all spyware.

Hmm. Are you sure that wouldn't be 96.3% or 93.7%, or did you just pluck that percentage out of thin air?

OF COURSE no sysadmin worth the name (and its not much of a name in the first place seeing as how they are the bottom feeders of the IT world) would allow admin privileges for standard logins.

A pipe dream? (2, Insightful)

pangur (95072) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722959)

I work for a Cisco reseller, and I see Cisco sales guys all the time.

There are rumors that the CallManager software (Cisco's IP PBX) will be ported from Windows 2000 to Linux. As it is, to run this box safely today requires having the box on its own subnet with access lists, running anti-virus software on the box(es), running Cisco Security Agent (looks for anamolous behavior of running programs), and running the boxes in a redundant fashion. Not that porting to Linux would solve all problems, but a box that runs a web server, SQL2000, and Windows 2000 has a fair number of issues that could r0x the b0x. Not the least is that if you download a patch from Microsoft that Cisco hasn't approved, and it breaks the box, Cisco TAC will wash its hands of you.

However, Cisco and Microsoft are not only in bed with each other, they are spooning. Part of Cisco's new security initiative involves running Cisco software on desktops to check if the anti-virus and CSA software are up to date, and not allow them to join the network until they are. This is part of those Cisco commercials where the "Self-defending Network" comes in and stops attacks. Getting Cisco software to use the Microsoft API in a world where MS could simply roll their own software just like it for free is a tricky business. Cisco needs to know what Microsoft is doing, and Microsoft could just as easily start doing more business with Juniper should they want to.

What I'm saying is that Cisco uses Linux today for a good number of its products (Content Networking, CallManager, etc) because of its stability. However, the aims of this guy to publically change internal desktops to Linux would be nullified by just one phone call from Gates to Chambers (Cisco CEO).

TCO: Michael Tiemann, Red Hat (1)

Spoing (152917) | more than 8 years ago | (#11722963)

While this video [redhat.com] focuses on open source and Red Hat's take on it, it also covers how to improve an organization by reinvesting in the processes used.

The video covers Linux specifically, though the ideas can be used on just about any project. Very slick.

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