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Microsoft Cheaper For Web Serving?

Cliff posted more than 6 years ago | from the some-seriously-wacked-numbers-goin'-round dept.

135

Tinman_au asks: "Bink.nu has an article titled "Leading Belgian Hosting Provider Realizes Lower TCO on Windows than Linux" that asks the following: 'Many total cost of ownership (TCO) studies have reaffirmed that TCO of a large enterprise infrastructure based on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 is lower than one based on Linux. But what about TCO in a Web hosting environment?' In the table of figures, the cost area breakout lists labour for Fedora at 77.88% with Windows .NET with SQL Server 2005 as only 53.15%. Admittedly, the report was done by Microsoft itself, so I guess it couldn't exactly be considered impartial, but not being a web admin I found myself wondering, is Windows really that much easier to look after in a web server environment, or has Microsoft fudged some numbers?"

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135 comments

I'm going to have to ahead (2, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973240)

and tag this one "flamebait"

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973416)

Disagree. I will tag this as "Logical Development".

This study perfectly describes the problem with many Linux/Unix deployments out there. They are done by people who take the approach which they have grown accustomed to on Windows, Novell and the like and try to transfer it to Linux/Unix. This approach is best described as "everything you cannot do with the vendor tools must be done manually" and "we only use commercial/vendor software". When using this approach Linux/Unix invariably results in higher TCO because the price of labour is higher and level of one-click moron-friendly automation is lower for most cases.

When doing Linux/Unix work writing your own tools and assisting yourself in automating tasks is a part of the job and Sysadmins who do not possess the skills should not allow themselves to claim that they are Linux/Unix Sysadmins. From there on, if you estimate the costs of running and deploying systems without taking this into account you invariable come up with Windows being cheaper.

That is the reality, face it move along and ignore the study. While it was using the right analysis methods it was analysing deployments which do not use the correct design and process for either system. If you use design and processes which are wrong for one system it is not particularly surprising that you get bad TCO for it.

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973606)

I think the reason that you can say the TCO of windows is lower is because you can pay some brain dead monkey to be a sysadmin, and have it work. It won't be well optimized, and it won't be completely secure, but for the most part it will work. Now consider Linux. You can't just really pay some guy with an MCDBA/MC??? or equivalent to operate your systems, because there isn't really any equivalent of that in the Linux world. Even most self taught Linux people are more knowledgeable than a lot of the "Microsoft Certified" people out there. So, because the Linux tech actually has more talent, and actually deserves to get paid more. It's like comparing the average Perl programmer to the average .Net programmer. On average, the Perl programmers will be more skilled and therefore more expensive. There's a lot of .Net programmers who took some 4 month course, and think they are now programmers, and a lot of companies hire these people. Studies show that .Net developers cost less, because they are less qualified. Not to say all .Net developers are idiots, but working in .Net development myself, I have to say there's quite a few of them.

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (1, Insightful)

Chi-RAV (541181) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974170)

Now consider Linux. You can't just really pay some guy with an MCDBA/MC??? or equivalent to operate your systems, because there isn't really any equivalent of that in the Linux world. Even most self taught Linux people are more knowledgeable than a lot of the "Microsoft Certified" people out there. So, because the Linux tech actually has more talent,
Thats a nice sentiment, but you cant hire people on the basis of "im self taught". In pretty much any professional setting you will have to show your qualifications in terms of certification, albeit in the form of a MCDBA or in the form of some BSc/MSc grade.
There of course are Linux certifications, but until businesses start asking for people with those certs they are basically useless. change the management perspective and you change the TCO, not the other way around unfortunately

Sure... (2, Insightful)

Dion (10186) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975412)

... if you're a digger operator.

Certifications are worthless.

What matters is real-world experience and before you have any of that there is formal education to get a foot in the door.

In the company i work for there is noone who has any certifications, execpt for a few people who got them by accident before being hired, there are plenty of good people who know everything there is to know about Solaris, Oracle, Linux, Java and C++ though.

What is a certificate good for other than to show that you can think inside of that particular vendors box?

Re:Sure... (1)

bombshelter13 (786671) | more than 6 years ago | (#16976292)

>What is a certificate good for other than to show that you can think inside of that particular vendors box? You nailed it in one.

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974436)

You are half the way there in your analysis.

Studies like this actually take into account the fact that the Unix/Linux sysadmin on the average is 20%+ more expensive.

They are wrong elsewhere.

They do not take into account that a selfrespecting Unix/Linux sysadmin will automate everything he/she can and will not repeat everyday mundane tasks. Instead of this they still count the time which is essential to maintain and patch the systems towards the TCO bill and multiply it by their number (correcting only for vendor tools to assist rollout where applicable). There is no correction for ad-hoc scripting and no correction for productising ad-hoc tools for internal rollout. Further to this many places go into the idiocy of prohibiting such internal software development. In fact I know one or two places where such activities are a sackable offence.

I have stopped counting how many times over the years I have heard the "We are not software developers" mantra from PHB wannabies. That is the damn difference between a high level Unix sysadmin and a Windows sysadmin in the first place. The Unix sysadmin can write in at least 2-3 rapid development languages - (k)shell, perl and/or python and the reason why he/she gets more money is exactly this. Paying him this money and not using this ability is stupid, but this is what many places do as a matter of policy. It is no wonder that places like this have better TCO under Windows compared to Unix/Linux. That is to be expected and that will continue to be the case until they start to automate mundane operations in-house, formally maintain the automation and productise/package it for internal use.

In fact the TCO numbers for systems like the one in the article (1000+ of slightly customized commodity software on commodity OS) come out in favour of Linux/Unix even if this activity is subcontracted out. They do not come out right only when it is prohibited and the work is done solely via vendor supplied tools.

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (3, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975726)

I think you hit on a REALLY good point in there. In my *nix administration, I have no daily activities! I've written programs for them all. This is almost impossible to do for most GUI's in general and more so with windows. I've always found the task scheduler to be a very weak replacement for cron and windows event log to be a weak replacement for syslog. The funny thing is... I do actually have a report I have to run manually once a week, and it's for the single windows box I maintain.

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (4, Insightful)

Sprinkels (41102) | more than 6 years ago | (#16977840)

They do not take into account that a selfrespecting Unix/Linux sysadmin will automate everything he/she can and will not repeat everyday mundane tasks.

I see no reason why a selfrespecting Windows sysadmin would not do the same.

That is the damn difference between a high level Unix sysadmin and a Windows sysadmin in the first place.

Actually, to a high level sysadmin there isn't a lot of difference between administrating Windows and Unix like operating systems.

It's a prejudice to assume that scripting like on Unix is not possible on Windows. On the contrary, many Windows sysadmins use scripting tools to automate everyday mundane tasks. In fact even the archaic MS-DOS from the eighties has its own scripting language built in. Which is used even today by nearly all Windows sysadmins.

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16977962)

Linux sysadmin on the average is 20%+ more expensive

?!?!?!?!?
Come to France ! Windows expertise pays quite well, but Linux expertise may be down to half the price. Less than 2000 EUR net is not uncommon here, and for the same money you get a pretty good Linux admin but only a click-click-enter-click windows monkey.

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16973612)

They are done by people who take the approach which they have grown accustomed to on Windows, Novell and the like and try to transfer it to Linux/Unix.

I think you misspelled "They [the usability studies] are done by people paid by Microsoft"

Re:I'm going to have to ahead (3, Interesting)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974890)

Speaking as someone who set up a LAMP architecture for a Microsoft vendor, my uptimes dwarfed those of IIS with the only time I had to take the server down was for software updates. The time it took me to do my makes and set everything up perfectly the way I want took a couple hours (not that different from Windows). When I left, they decided to switch everything over to an ALL WINDOWS environment. Not counting costs involved in switching all applications over, they had to spend almost $100,000 to duplicate the setup I had for free with open source. Costs in setup are minimal in LAMP, longterm savings and uptime are HUGE!! Also with LAMP, I'm a one man army. In my old company, they had to hire contractors for the DB work separate from the web dev. More labor, higher costs. With LAMP I can keep my costs very very low. This is yet again 100% FUD from Microsoft

Alas... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16973484)

I am, even as I type this, taking a break from trying to deploy a PHP app to a different server than the one it was developped on, and the amount of fiddling required to get both installations of PHP to work in a compatible way is mind-numbing. And costly. Turns out that PHP broke backwards compatibility again in its last version, which breaks the app, and the previous version against which the app was developped (5.1) has a security hole so that's a no go either.

I can heartily believe that in such a situation, a more industrialized solution (IIS+ASP or Apache+non-PHP) would be significantly cheaper to deploy.

Not gonna rant about PHP and beat that dying horse, but please don't dismiss such a study just because its findings annoys us. We have a lot of improvement to do still. :(

Re:Alas... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16973538)

Maybe you are having problems because the original developer was a clueless idiot.

Or you are a clueless idiot.

Or, most likely, both of you are clueless idiots.

Re:Alas... (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975776)

"I am, even as I type this, taking a break from trying to deploy a PHP app to a different server than the one it was developped on, and the amount of fiddling required to get both installations of PHP to work in a compatible way is mind-numbing"

What is mind-numbind is the hugh amount of completly lacking people who call themselves "php developers"; of course they are not "php developers" since they are not developers at all.

That's not exactly a demerit on the PHP side, since that means that people without almost the slighest programming acumen can produce some meritable (to an extent) things. It is a very good hobbyist language.

On the other hand, people with proper programming skills can make PHP behave properly too so we return again to paragraph one.

You would see exactly the same problems, only accrued programming multiplatform C still you can see vast amounts of software that gladly run on a dozen platforms after only a ./config, make, make install run. The secret? They *know* their trade, if only because the steeper entry path of C+autotools that take away unfitted wannabies.

"Turns out that PHP broke backwards compatibility again in its last version"

Turns out that PHP devels have a very nasty tendency to work that way so turns out a wise project manager or even a wise developer will stay away from PHP for any enterprise task; another hint about the experience and maturity of the development environment you are involved.

"please don't dismiss such a study just because its findings annoys us. We have a lot of improvement to do still. :("

The only finding that study shows is that on Microsoft camp almost even a monkey can come up with a half assed semiworking solution were you can't get even this on a unix-like environment. Not precisely big news.

On the other hand what the study doesn't talk about is how long each party can reach when a knowledgeable team puts their hands on one platform or the other.

Hint: one side will simply skyrocket the other on perfomance, stability and money.
Hint2: the one that will do doesn't come from Redmond.

Typical (2, Interesting)

techno_dan (591398) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973256)

Yet again, another study show lower TCO on the windows platform. From years of Real experience I can say that this is not and will never be true, at least in the short term. The reason I say this, is that I can get more flexibility and horsepower out of a none MS deployment. This is not to say that MS products do not have their place, just that the studies are always narrow, and extremely limited in scope.

Re:Typical (1)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973344)


The original studies are not so narrow in scope as you suggest. It's just the one selected for publication after all the negative results are burned that comes across as narrow.

Re:Typical (2, Insightful)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973614)

You are saying the right thing, but not qualifying it correctly.

There is absolutely more horsepower and flexibility in the *nix environment, BUT; There is a steeper learning curve. Given 2 admin that are experts in each, *nix will give you more. Given 2 newbs, the Windows environment will get you up and running a medium complex web site faster, cheaper. The majority of enterprises work that way, newbs and short on staff.

Typical? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974112)

Ironically, I suspect your comment actually demonstrates why, in real terms, a lot of businesses find MS cheaper.

You may get more horsepower and flexibility out of a non-MS environment. That's great, and makes non-MS the way to go if a business is employing people like you.

Now, would you describe yourself (being honest) as a smarter-than-average sysadmin, a Linux/Mac/whatever specialist, an experienced geek...? In other words, are you a typical sysadmin that a typical company will hire, with typical experience on the various platforms, or would such a person require more experience/training/skill to get the same good results out of non-MS systems that you do?

On the flip side, do you (being honest) have less than average experience/skill with MS systems, perhaps as a result of specialising elsewhere, and would you therefore require more training and expertise to get the same quality of results others do out of MS server software?

Obviously, I can't read your mind, and I'm not going to put words into your fingertips by guessing your answers. But I can make an educated guess that there are a lot more people around who know how to get OKish results out of MS stuff than there are who know how to get much better results out of non-MS stuff, and that the MS-using folks therefore tend to be easier to find and cheaper to hire. That has a major effect on the bottom line of a business, and is why (for many places) MS is going to look like the safer bet on TCO grounds for at least a while yet.

Lemming Logic (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#16976354)

... there are a lot more people around who know how to get OKish results out of MS stuff than there are who know how to get much better results out of non-MS stuff, and that the MS-using folks therefore tend to be easier to find and cheaper to hire.

I love it when someone tries to make a business case to pay more for second rate tools. "Everyone is doing it, you should too." What balls.

The bottom line for companies is to hire and train qualified people. The right people using the right tools will always get better results. The wrong people using the wrong tools is always more expensive. The best a Microsoft admin can do should not be considered good enough when free software does it better with fewer licensing hassles.

The bottom line for employees is to learn to use the best tool. Amazingly, it's cheaper and easier to learn how to use free tools than it is to delve into the ever changing M$ nightmare. Anyone can use just about any hardware to learn the LAMP chain.

Re:Lemming Logic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16977216)

twitter, please read this carefully. Following this advice will make Slashdot a better place for everyone, including yourself.

  • As a representative of the Linux community, participate in mailing list and newsgroup discussions in a professional manner. Refrain from name-calling and use of vulgar language. Consider yourself a member of a virtual corporation with Mr. Torvalds as your Chief Executive Officer. Your words will either enhance or degrade the image the reader has of the Linux community.
  • Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.
  • A thoughtful, well-reasoned response to a posting will not only provide insight for your readers, but will also increase their respect for your knowledge and abilities.
  • Always remember that if you insult or are disrespectful to someone, their negative experience may be shared with many others. If you do offend someone, please try to make amends.
  • Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the competition. Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its own.
  • Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
  • Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be gained by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using "creative spelling". If we expect respect for Linux, we must respect other products.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Linux is just the kernel. Without the efforts of people involved with the GNU project , MIT, Berkeley and others too numerous to mention, the Linux kernel would not be very useful to most people.
  • Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of their freedom.
  • There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.

From http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/docs/HOWTO/Advoca cy [ibiblio.org]

Cost to consumers is lower on linux (2, Informative)

Respawner (607254) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974394)

The company in question according to the article is hostingbasket, so lets check it out: Linux [hostbasket.com] and Windows [hostbasket.com] .
Their "basic" packet starts at 8 euro / month for linux hosting and 10 euro/month for windows hosting
Now, how about hostingbasket and microsoft ? well, I'm going to be honest, I don't know much about how msn works but this company has its own subdomain on msn http://hostbasket.msn.be/ [hostbasket.msn.be] , so this study looks a bit odd to me

Re:Cost to consumers is lower on linux (1)

soulhuntre (52742) | more than 6 years ago | (#16977194)

"I don't know much about how msn works"

Don't let that stop you from making vague conspiracy accusations.

Re:Cost to consumers is lower on linux (1)

Respawner (607254) | more than 6 years ago | (#16977608)

What i meant was, i don't know how you become a "partner" on MSN (you pay them, you let them make a case study, ...) but they are and it seems obvious that a MSN Belgium partner has something favourable to say about their partner

What you're used to (2, Interesting)

andy753421 (850820) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973260)

For me it's 10 times easier for me to fix up an httpd.conf or some .htaccess files and set some permissions with chmod/chgrp, but for other people using the IIS dialogs or whatever might be easier.

If I gave my grandma a IIS machine and a putty window SSH'd into an GNU/Linux/Apache box I'm guessing she'd get farther with the IIS machine, but on the other hand if you give those to seasoned veterans I would bet the apache box would be set up quicker.

Re:What you're used to (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974014)

For me it's 10 times easier for me to fix up an httpd.conf or some .htaccess files and set some permissions with chmod/chgrp, but for other people using the IIS dialogs or whatever might be easier.

I tell you, it's easier to configure IIS by editing config files as well. And given that's the way MS teaches their MSCEs to do it, too, I guess that's a fairly universal feeling, too. Web servers are complex applications that aren't usually well-served by GUI configuration.

Re:What you're used to (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974110)

I don't know what kind of crack you're on but I'm a MCSE from the NT4.0 era and i don't remember any editing any config files for IIS4.0.
More over, any migration tools that exist for IIS4 to IIS5 never worked 100%.

A backup of a httpd.conf will work on any and I mean ANY apache server of the same type and it's pretty trivial to get setup, almost as trivial as setting up an IIS server.

Never had backup of meta data files work for any IIS installation for a server migration, always had to resetup by hand.

Also, there is a tool that comes with *nix servers called logrotate that keeps your log files at bay.
There isn't anything like it for the Windows camps as log cleaning is a manual process for weblogs and MSSQL logs. Yeah, I know there are 3rd party tools but that should be beside the point and scripting could work too but NT scripting isn't as powerful as BASH scripting.

Re:What you're used to (1)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975698)

IIS 6 uses xml for it's config files, it's not quite to the level of "copy one and have it work anywhere" but you can (very easily using either the GUI or a command line tool) export one or more configs from one IIS box and import them on another. The level of success you have with this depends on your particular application. Much like if you've chosen to define your virtual hosts under apache by IP address, you're gonna have to change those IPs to match the new box, for example.

As for logrotate, it's certainly a useful littel tool, but that's not going to change TCO much one way or another. I spent about an hour 4 years ago developing a perl script that yanks everything but the last weeks worth of log files for every website on a given server, names it appropriately and zips it up to a location that can be later be archived off. A year ago, when I moved into an environment that has standardized the names of the servers well enough, the script was updated to search the active directory for all the webservers on the network and automatically pull their logs.

As for NT scripting not being as powerful as bash scripting, sure... but no one uses NT anymore. Have you checked out MS's new powershell recently? fairly impressive stuff.

No (3, Insightful)

a16 (783096) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973264)

I work for a reasonably sized host (ie. thousands of unique clients, not 25 clients like your average host who will probably reply here), and as we are a completely linux (CentOS/Fedora) host, our operating system licensing costs are $0. If we were running Windows and SQL server etc, I'd estimate that our licensing costs per year would be 5-6 figure figures for commercial MS licenses for the number of servers that we have and the MS software that we'd need.

We have staff to administrate the servers, and we'd need them if were to manage windows servers. We generally only ever have 1-2 technicians available at any one time to manage all of our servers, and we'd need that many if we were managing the same number of Windows servers too. Ignoring start up training costs, which really only exist if you're migrating from Windows to Linux, staffing costs are absolutely no more for managing Linux boxes than Windows, I'd argue the opposite. Infact, if we were to migrate to Windows tomorrow, as TFA is saying we should - there would be huge initial licensing and training costs, I imagine more so than moving a Windows staff to Linux.

Sponsored by MS means this can be ignored, why do we keep posting this stuff? :)

Re:No (4, Insightful)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973580)

That is why this TCO says Linux is higher. If you look at all the numbers Linux is lower on everything except Labor. They quote almost a 100% over Windows labor. Obviously this is because they can't find anyone capable of performing Linux system administration.

I wouldn't say this would translate to the rest of the world because your labor pool is going to vary from county to country, city to city and even among different companies. For this place in the world, at this time, this is probably correct. However, all you can extrapolate from this study is that for this place in the world, at this time, Windows is cheaper to run than Linux "for them." For everyone else you have to do your own TCO.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16973684)

I don't think you can even go that far and it's certainly not a TCO issue. This and botched linux migrations just illustrate that if your staff are clueless, you're better off staying with Windows. Unix has been the mainstay of serious computing for 30 years, anybody serious about a career in computing would have taught themselves to use it.

Re:No (2, Interesting)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973978)

They quote almost a 100% over Windows labor.

You have to wonder about the quality of their Windows admins who are willing to work for half of what Linux admins are.

'Cause you can't be telling me that a Windows server needs less maintenance time in the hands of sombody who knows what they're doing. I like to think I do, and I manage web servers running on each platform (Windows Server 2003 and Debian Sarge), and I'll tell you now I spend much less time on the Debian one. Updates are easier to apply, and there are fewer of them.

LESS than half (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16979176)

The idea that a Windows herd takes less man-hours per box than a *nix herd is laughable, so they must be paying their Windows admins much less than half as much, per hour.

Re:No (3, Informative)

alexhs (877055) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974118)

If you look at all the numbers Linux is lower on everything except Labor.
You're not the first to fall for these meaningless values, but you're the highest moderated.

Percentages are meaningless if you don't take total cost in account.

Multiplying percentages by the given TCO you get (in eurocents per site/server/month):

(.Net 2000, .Net 2005, Linux)

Hardware 5.49 2.75 2.77
Network infrastructure 5.06 2.53 2.41
Operations and Network Mgt. 17.48 8.76 8.40
Power 1.69 0.84 0.85
Bandwidth 43.39 21.19 36.34
System software 12.90 6.45 3.31
Application software 50.02 28.64 22.75
Back office software 44.22 22.09 22.10
Labor 211.76 105.77 348.12
Downtime charges 0.00 0.00 0.00

But when you look at percentages, those for SQL 2000 and 2005 are quite similar. It means that one real server under SQL2005 hosts twice as much virtual servers as SQL2000.

I will let to others in-depth critics about the methodology.
Just that quote from the full report [microsoft.com] (emphasis mine):
"Hostbasket experiences a lower TCO on Windows than Linux because our support cost for Windows is lower and because our developers and system engineers have better knowledge of Windows than Linux," notes Hostbasket Chief Operating Officer Alex Van Overloop.

Re:No (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974642)

notes Hostbasket Chief Operating Officer Alex Van Overloop.

You can't make this up. Overloop translates to Overflow.

Re:No (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 6 years ago | (#16978130)

The results look totally nuts. How can it be that changing from 2000 to 2005 halves every expense? I'd be a little hesitant but accept labor, the only thing I can see is that since the cost of hardware halved, there must be half as many boxes, but the fact that they are using half as much bandwidth implies... their subscription level also halved?

Re:No (1)

AliasN (907773) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975572)

Well.. if the labor is expensive, let's just build bots that do it for us. Course, the labor on that project would be expensive..

Re:No (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974386)

There is one way that Microsoft might be cheaper than Linux. That is if you take in account the cost of development and acquiring software.
If there is an open source application available that suits your needs then Linux or BSD is cheaper.
However if you have to custom write the application may be cheaper to do it under Windows if you already have Windows development experience.

Here is the ugly truth that FOSS faithful don't want to admit. The advantage of closed source commercial software is cost.

Closed source allows a company to make an investment in development and then have some guarantee of a return on the investment. This allows each person that uses the software to pay only a small part of the cost of development plus a profit the developing company. If any one user had to pay the cost of developing Word or Excel it would never have been created.

I love FOSS software. I use it and I have contributed code back. The problem is that like most other things life their isn't just one answer.
Sometimes buying off the self commercial software is the best answer.
And before anybody tells me that they never buy or use closed source software they are fooling themselves. Unless your Amish and never use any electronic device you do use closed source software and most the time it doesn't bother you at all.

Re:No (1)

jaymzru (1005177) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974776)

That's why you run OS X on a pretty little laptop, and compare closed source and OSS solutions and if the OSS version is better, you apt-get it in 10 seconds with fink.

Re:No (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975938)

For personal use that can work.
I was talking about for servers and web servers in specific.
OS/X isn't a good solution for web servers. Most of what makes OS/X better than Linux are of no value on a web server.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16974662)

Geeks talking about TCO is like maangers talking about httpd.conf.....

Re:No (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975472)

Licensing isn't the whole story for TCO.

That said, given the huge difference in hardware requirements and licensing, and the comparative ease of maintenance of many things, I have to wonder what exactly is being compared.

Is it just me? (1)

SIInudeity (822415) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973306)

But these TCO reports have never made sense to me. Microsoft works out cheaper in the long run? Because of the new power saving features in the OS? Does this TCO report run over a period of 20 years?

Cause, and the thing that boggles me...
LAMP is Free!

Re:Is it just me? (1)

xoran99 (745620) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973414)

Microsoft works out cheaper in the long run? Because of the new power saving features in the OS?

Incidently, according to the itemized costs, Linux cost less to power.

Item-by-item comparison (2, Interesting)

xoran99 (745620) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973324)

Isn't it strange that, in all categories but labor, the Linux solution was much cheaper? Why would it use less bandwidth? Why would the network infrastructure be cheaper?

In any case, I'm tired of TCO stories. Every last one of them is flamebait, and now I've read my last one.

Re:Item-by-item comparison (4, Funny)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973380)

Why would it use less bandwidth?

Patch Tuesday?

Re:Item-by-item comparison (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#16979012)

You were modded funny, but you could well have made a good point. I don't know what the average volume of patches is for a typical webhost running Windows, but I know it's pretty low for Debian stable. Whether that makes a dent in overall bandwidth costs is another story...but for low-volume sites, this could well be the case.

Re:Item-by-item comparison (1)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974018)

Why would it use less bandwidth? Why would the network infrastructure be cheaper?

Http pipelining, mod gzip (windows gzip compression doesn't do all file types by default), default keepalive settings are different.

The only "network infrastructure" cost differences that I can think of... Leme think. With linux you can bond almost any two "cheap" nics, but with windows, you need driver support? Naw, I don't think that's it. I guess "fewer servers".

Ultimately, I don't think that they needed "more labor", I just think they needed something like cfengine.

BBH

Re:Item-by-item comparison (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974144)

Remote desktop connection to your server (from your out-of-state client) as compared to a text terminal into a unix-like server. Why would the network infrastructure would be cheaper? This I don't know...

Seen it before... (1)

yendor (4311) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973354)

This is the same old "Windows is soooo much easier to use"
I have been working as a SA/DBA in webhosting environments for about 10 years now and this is mostly fud.

My experiences are that Windows are quite easy to install and do some basic setup but operating MS boxes compared to Linux are tedious and absolutely more timeconsuming.
The first problem is that connecting from remote location is slow.
Working with a GUI is slow.
Automation is either not possible or a lot more timeconsuming than on Linux.
Searching in Windows is slow and if it's in a GUI it's often impossible.
IIS is a retarded application that has crappy logging.

Only reason they put the TOC at 20 more than Windows is that it is the ONLY item that is completely variable and depends highly on the enginners involved.

This looks like they used the same windows expert for both estimates. // yendor

(a) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16973442)

If you look at a large ISP (e.g. 1&1) that offers both Linux and Microsoft hosting, guess what, the Microsoft plans cost more. Now, is this because:

a) The ISP has found Linux hosting has lower costs, so they pass this on to be competitive
b) There isn't good competition for Microsoft hosting, so prices are higher
c) The Microsoft-funded study is correct, hosting on IIS is cheaper, and all those ISPs just got their sums wrong
d) Other

Re:(a) (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974244)

Hmm, i'm looking at 1&1's web site -right now-, and clicking between the Linux and MS Hosting plans tabs, and I see no difference in price for the equivalent plans. Am I missing something?

Re:(a) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16974702)

I looked at the UK site, where the MS hosting does cost more. MS is also more expensive in their (native) German site, schlund.de ... I presume you looked at the US site, where it does appear the prices are the same, the US marketing people obviously have taken different decisions.

Link to Report (2, Informative)

achillean (1031500) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973466)

Here's the direct link to the cost analysis report: TCO Report [microsoft.com]

Re:Link to Report (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974274)

Right. And now we see why these people have higher Linux costs than Windows costs.

More than 92 percent of Hostbasket's nearly 20,000 active shared hosting sites run on Microsoft Windows Server 2003


OK, so say they're running around 400 servers. They have 360 Windows servers and 40 Linux ones. Those 180 Windows servers probably need a team of about 10 people on site at a time to run them (i.e. approximately 36 servers per admin). The Linux ones, though, probably they have 2 people for managing them -- you need to have spare capacity in case of an emergency, and only having one person on site at a time who's qualified for a particular task is a recipe for disaster. That's 20 servers per admin, so each of those 20 servers costs 1/20th of an admin salary to maintain, not 1/36th like the Windows ones.

Economies of scale are everything in this business.

In other News: (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973496)

Old motor oil a wonderfull fertilizer.
Smoking keeps your lungs healthy.
CO^2 dampens greenhouse effect.

I found myself wondering (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973508)

...is Microsoft to right when they say their products are better than the competition?

Yeah, and come on Sony, is the PS3 really more fun than the Nintendo Wii?

Re:I found myself wondering (1)

yendor (4311) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973588)

In some ways they are much better than Linux. Mostly on giving graphical access to configuration and the stupider 1st liners can take care of a lot of easy issues if they get a good manual and a clear description of the fault.

improper conclusions (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973536)

The proper conclusion is that it costs much more to fail to train your sysadmins.

The admin jobs that work out cheaper on MSWindows are actually lack of admin in a lot of cases, too.

How is this for "cheaper".... (1)

rongage (237813) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973546)

Let's keep this on a simple level - the financial costs to a hosting outfit between Windows and Linux, assuming all other factors are equal (same labor requirements, same hardware, same rack costs, same power/bandwidth costs)...

The Windows hosts that I operate in my hosting business cost me $10.00 per machine per month in licensing fees. The Slackware Linux hosts that I operate in my hosting business cost me $0.00 per machine per month. The database on both machines is free: SQL Express 2005 on Windows and MySQL on Linux.

Please go ahead and try to convince me how $120.00 per year for a Windows machine costs me less than $0.00 per year.

Re:How is this for "cheaper".... (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973680)

Amazingly, this article wasn't talking about you.

I hate to be a Microsoft apologist here, but what you said was stupid. The realy issue here, is in finding the people to setup and manage Microsoft servers vs Linux Servers. What Microsoft is basically saying, is that there are more people out there, and they cost less, who can configure Microsoft servers. This is probably because they are easier for people who aren't that familiar with networks to use. It is difficult to refute that.

OK, I am sure you find it much easier to deal with your Linux servers, but once again, that is not the point. They point that this report makes, and what most businesses are interested in, is the abundance of Windows Admins compared to Linux Admins.

Re:How is this for "cheaper".... (1)

antoinjapan (450229) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974016)

What Microsoft is basically saying, is that there are more people out there, and they cost less, who can configure Microsoft servers.


Until next week, when they'll bring out a report saying "Be a windows SysAdmin, it pays more than Linux, here's a report that says so."

Re:How is this for "cheaper".... (1)

matthew.thompson (44814) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973690)

Because you're not running a hosting business if the only costs you'll mention is the $10pcm difference between an upstream provider's Windows hosting or virtual server package and the same spec linux package.

Disregard it... (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973560)

Admittedly, the report was done by Microsoft itself

Doesn't this mean that the report is useless and should be totally disregarded? I mean, do you really think that if their findings had been that they were more expensive, they would still have published?

Re:Disregard it... (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974082)

Admittedly, the report was done by Microsoft itself

Doesn't this mean that the report is useless and should be totally disregarded?


No. It makes it marketing material, rather than an independent report, but a lot of people read marketing material, and often rely on information that it contains. Therefore we need to have good answers about why the conclusion it reaches is wrong, about why either (a) the business they are describing as being better off running Windows servers is atypical or (b) some assumption they make is invalid or even (c) some conclusion they draw isn't supported by the facts they cite or (d) some fact they cite is incorrect.

Also: if there are any points in here that are right, which makes it a good report (you can't tell without reading it whether it is or not), then those might highlight areas which we Linux programmers need to work on in order to make our system more appealing to this kind of business, which is after all our core area of competence.

Breaking news... (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973610)

Today, in a surprise statement, a Microsoft spokeman announced that the TCO report they had previously published was incorrect. He said "We looked at the figures again, and realised we had made a mistake. The Microsoft solution is actually more expensive. We don't want to deceive anyone so we went public with this immediately, it was the right thing to do."

Like everything, it depends (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973650)

The only area that Windows costs are cheaper in this study is "Labour".

Typically, your windows admin is a little cheaper. Typically apache can handle more virtual domains more reliably and requires fewer staff to manage. If you have 2 Windows staff and 2 Linux staff then Linux could be seen to be more expensive. The question is, do you really need 2 Linux staff, are they spending half their time idle? Are you using best infrastructure practice to manage your machines or are you installing each by hand? Are the Linux staff simply more senior within the organisation and therefore paid even higher? Or if you break it down by domain rather than by server, do the costs come out the same?

The study is deliberately oversimplified to hide the details of where the money's going. After all, it's propaganda.
 

Re:Like everything, it depends (1)

yendor (4311) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973804)

I agree.

Another thing I was thinking was that they are mainly a MS company doing hosting for such sites as MSN.be
With a much larger MS side the numbers swings to their favor. Having much less Linux usualy means that there is less experience and less skill in the organization. Result is that it simply takes longer for people to fix problems.
I remember trying to manage colleagues in aa previous job. About 200 servers and about 1000 sites from a very large dutch company maker of lights and electronics. I was one of two sysadmins managing the europeean side of this beast of a setup with some lightweight outsorced frontend and first line support. Servers on Unix (Solaris) and Linux was almost impossible for the first line to handle but total cost was a lot less in grand total if they didn't try. Spending an hour trying to get unskilled helpdesk personel to understand your problem is useles.

The .Net 2.0 / SQL 2005 price is absolutely wrong (1)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973964)

"The only area that Windows costs are cheaper in this study is "Labour"."

no you miss the point - you are looking at the percentages. That means that windows has a lower proportion of labour costs. Which isn't surprising as (for example) it has a higher proportion of System Software costs (not that this could account for the huge proportion difference seen in the figures reported though).

However all of this is completely irrelevant as they list the .NET 2 / SQL 2005 TCO as 1.99 while the .Net 1.1 / SQL 2000 is listed as 3.92, despite the percentage breakdowns being almost exactly the same for both, indicating that the money figures they're calculated from are nearly identical. Well slightly higher for the platform for the newer software.

Hopefully this error doesn't get propagated otherwise we'll see the headline "Windows TCO over 55% less than Linux TCO" cropping up all over the place.

Re:Like everything, it depends (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974508)

The only area that Windows costs are cheaper in this study is "Labour".

Wrong, as answered by SkunkPussy. I've posted relevant numbers [slashdot.org] earlier and they tend to confirm the remainder of your post. Please read it before reading further this one.

Typically apache can handle more virtual domains more reliably

It's not the case here compared to the SQL 2005 setup. Looking at hardware and power costs, each physical host is hosting roughly the same number of virtual hosts. However Linux setup gets 171% as much traffic as SQL2005 setup (that is 71% more, but the report prefers larger numbers).

and requires fewer staff to manage. If you have 2 Windows staff and 2 Linux staff then Linux could be seen to be more expensive. The question is, do you really need 2 Linux staff, are they spending half their time idle? Are you using best infrastructure practice to manage your machines or are you installing each by hand? Are the Linux staff simply more senior within the organisation and therefore paid even higher?

They're employing unexperienced Linux staff.

Or if you break it down by domain rather than by server, do the costs come out the same?

That's what they're doing.

The study is deliberately oversimplified to hide the details of where the money's going. After all, it's propaganda.

... and deliberately misleading, I'm surprised how much people are falling for these percentages.

Re:Like everything, it depends (1)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975228)

It's not the case here compared to the SQL 2005 setup.
What is SQL 2005? Is there a new standard? The last one [wikipedia.org] was already confusing enough.

Re:Like everything, it depends (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975374)

What is SQL 2005?
A wild shortcut for "Windows Server 2003 with .NET Framework 2.0 and SQL Server 2005", as opposed to "Windows Server 2003 with .NET Framework 1.1 and SQL Server 2000".

But I guess you did understand ;)

Re:Like everything, it depends (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974532)

It is my experience that MS does a good job with coding standard processes in such a way that a minimally trained person can execute those processes to create standard bussiness environments. In other words, if one uses MS products, then one can hire cheap labor to get things done. This is a very useful thing. I certainly have, at time, benefitted from their work. There is no reason for firms to pay to reinvent what has already been done.

However, a side effect of this is that one has lower skills workers developing the delivery mechanism and products. Now, this is not a result of what MS has a done, or a direct reflection of the quality of the products, but rather a side effect of the philosophy. In my experience, MS markets these things as a cheap solution, and in many cases what results are unusable systems. I have seen such system result in several cases. It is not a matter of bad MS products, but rather lack of funding for the project, resulting from the philosophy that IT should be cheap. This of course is penny wise and pound foolish. What one ends up with is a system that does not meet the criteria, and the money is, in effect, wasted. If the system is useful at all, it is not cost effective. For instance, on one system, which is to be regularly used by about 600 people, the design wastes about two minutes of user time with redundant navigation. This flaw alone costs around $100K a year in lost productivity.

And this is my issue with MS products. Certainly development costs a lot of money. But if the product is going to be used by hundreds of people on a daily basis, and those people need to be paid, and you are trying to squeeze every bit of work out of them, isn't it better to expect and pay for high quality development, rather than taking the long term hit in productivity? The critical issue is not how much development costs, or how much it costs to maintain the server(within reasonable limits, of course). The critical issue is how the hundreds of people who depend on the service are going to become more productive.

Microsoft fudged some numbers (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973672)

and thats it.

linux is very well supported by phletora of web hosting aiding applications to the extent that it makes administration too easy. the efficiency you gain is much more worth in terms not having to spend extra paychecks for additional i.t. staff.

Sadly, I'd have to agree (1)

Peregr1n (904456) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973778)

I work for a charity, and we run Windows 2003 on our web servers.

I'd have to agree with the findings, simply because any idiot (like me) can run a Windows 2003 server. All you need is Windows experience (which everyone has nowadays). Linux requires special knowledge and/or training. I know any techie worth his/her salt will have this, but not every company has a handy Linux geek. Not to mention if your Linux geek is on holiday, you need another Linux geek to make the simplest of changes... sorry to say this, but Linux isn't user friendly enough for the average workplace drone to administer.

Of course, if your company does have people familiar with Linux, then the TCO is going to be WAAAAY lower. But we're talking about averages here, and most small/medium companies can't afford to hire somebody extra purely because they have Linux experience.

I wouldn't go as far as to recommend Windows as the catch-all solution to this problem - if I was building up my business from scratch again, I probably would try to hire techies with Linux experience, and that's what I'd recommend to anyone else. But that's hindsight for you.

Re:Sadly, I'd have to agree (2)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974190)

I work for a charity, and we run Windows 2003 on our web servers.

I'd have to agree with the findings, simply because any idiot (like me) can run a Windows 2003 server. All you need is Windows experience (which everyone has nowadays). Linux requires special knowledge and/or training.


I'm afraid your comparison is invalid. While I'm sure you're right for your own environment, the one we're talking about here is a company hosting 19,400 web sites of which the majority are based on dynamic content. I don't know how many machines they have, but at their scale, they'll be employing a reasonably large number of full-time admins. The fact that existing employees might have transferable Windows skills is of no relevance at all, because they'll have employees dedicated to the task.

Re:Sadly, I'd have to agree (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975994)

It also seems, in my experience, that Linux/Apache requires a lot less labor to maintain compared to Microsoft systems. Although the cost per sysadmin may be lower (since the market is saturated with people who can cram for the MCSE and cough up the testing fees) you end up hiring more of them, and of course they end up spending more time patching, fixing security breaches, going through the 5 R's of Windows support[1], etc...

And, of course, license fees.

Sadly, I'd have to disagree with this troll (2)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974228)

All you need is Windows experience (which everyone has nowadays). Linux requires special knowledge and/or training. Why it is that on Windows you call it experience, whereas on Linux you call it 'special knowledge'? It is the same thing.

Linux isn't user friendly enough for the average workplace drone to administer. ...and nor is Windows, if you want to make sure it's done right. It requires some "special knowledge" to get things right.

most small/medium companies can't afford to hire somebody extra purely because they have Linux experience.
As you mentioned, you don't need 'someone extra'- just employees that are more versatile. This will in fact help you to operate with less people. Replace the first two techies that leave your company with people that (also) know Linux and you're set.

Of course, if your company does have people familiar with Linux, then the TCO is going to be WAAAAY lower.
Q.E.D.

What were they smoking? (1)

solidh2o (951957) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973782)

(and where can I get some?) I'm an admitted supporter of Microsoft technologies, but that just doesn't add up for me. The percentages on the report sound reasonable - the spreads would fall mostly to labor for any Linix boxes. What I don't see, however, is the reason that labor would be so much more. The only ,hing ,that I can even come close to seeing is that 17,000 windows sites and 1,500 Linux sites. Posibly economy of scale? Now a more reasonable explanation is that if you have an average of (as an example) 20 incidents a day, and they're split 50/50 between MS and Linux technologies, yes that would make it more expensive for labor. I have a hard time believing that would be the case though. When you start talking about thousands of anything, the numbers start to normalize across all scenarios. Lies, damn lies, and statistics....

Interesting.....But (1)

Xentalion (1005477) | more than 6 years ago | (#16973784)

I already have a web server on my Pentium 1. It came with Damn Small Linux. And I can upgrade to Apache anytime I like. For free. And my other Linux machine came with Apache installed. So the cost probably has something to do with training tech people who don't know what they're doing.

What are we comparing here? (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974166)

Since they are talking about web hosting, it seems like the comparison should not be between MS and Linux, it should be between IIS and Apache.

If you want to compare MS and Linux, then web hosting has nothing to do with it, the question goes back to what server OS has a higher TCO.

Meh, I think the flamebait tag is apropos in this case...

This Microsoft orchestrated TCO evaluation is FUD (1)

Iloinen Lohikrme (880747) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974198)

I too think that this Microsoft orchestrated TCO evaluation is complete FUD. In my own experience as an web application & virtual appliance developer, deploying and running a Linux solution is much easier than a Windows solution. First of all, with Linux you can easily make a bare bone installation and then add specifics that you need. With Windows, you can't really make a bare bone installation, thus you have to spend time closing unneeded services. In second there is the big fact that open source software doesn't cost and I'm not just talking about Linux and Apache, but software as Tripwire, Netfilter/Iptables etc.. In Windows world, there isn't so much free software to use.

All in all, I can't really see even a point in this TCO comparison. I myself believe that in the future all web serving and applications are run from virtual servers that are provided by the application developers themselves. You just plug in an virtual appliance to another and you are go. In virtual appliance markets, cost of Windows is too high, unless they change their licensing dramatically. Oh well, I will still happily continue using Linux, Apache, Tomcat, JBoss and MySQL as my preferred environment in web serving.

On a different note, the study said that labor costs are lower in Windows, in another words Windows administrators are cheaper, but did they account costs that those cheap Windows administrators bring? My friend is working in subsidiary of a Finnish multinational company, they had for an almost a week no web and email in their office. The server, Windows Server 2003, in their office had rebooted because of power-outage in night. The next morning people couldn't connect to web and read their mails. Only application that worked was Skype which my friend and others used to communicate back to Finland. The miserable administrators first argued that it was telecoms fault that web and mail didn't work. After few days they gave up on blaming telecom operator and developed a theory that there was something wrong with the server. After a third day they suggested a complete re-installation to fix it, but web and email were still cut out in fourth day. After the weekend had gone, the system was working. In their case they probably had something wrong either with proxy or dns-settings, because Skype was working fine, but this they didn't realize. Complete four days wasted because incompetent administrators, makes could TCO!

No (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974220)

I work for an ISP, Windows is more expensive to run and maintain, it takes more time and most importantly has large start up costs. You can fudge these number in any number of ways, by not including any additional functionality in your web hosting. By cutting out the database backend and email, you save money on the Windows side on paper (Exchange and MS SQL costs $$$) but save little on the Unix side. In practice you can't do that and run a real web hosting business, but in theory you can do so to fake the result you want. You can also fudge by using the difference in salaries between Unix and Windows sysadms without using the differences in productivity that account for the difference in salaries. You can also fudge it by not including the cost of down time from worms and other miscellaneous problems that occur on Windows.

Reports like this are just too easily biased by the company doing the study as to be virtually meaningless.

If Windows really is cheaper to run (4, Informative)

petard (117521) | more than 6 years ago | (#16974790)

Then hosting companies are behaving irrationally, including the one that is the subject of the study. If it costs less to operate a Windows platform than a Linux platform, then the hosting companies would rather have their customers use Windows platforms. This would lead them to price the Windows packages lower than the Linux packages; after all, if windows were cheaper, they could do that and still be more profitable.

Hostbasket, the subject of this study, is not doing that:
Their basic Linux package is 8 Euros/month [hostbasket.com] and their basic Windows package is 10 Euros/month [hostbasket.com] . So if the results of the study were true, this pricing scheme would be quite irrational.

Looking at other hosts, this seems to hold up. interhost [interhost.co.uk] wants 19 GBP/month for Linux versus 25 GBP/month for Windows. Over at New York Internet [nyi.net] accepting all the defaults for their BSD plan nets a quote of about $42/month; a similar Windows-based plan is $64/month. And over at hosting.com [hosting.com] their managed hosting plans for Windows servers start at $230/month while the same plans for Linux start at $195/month. I was able to find, over at 1and1, shared Linux hosting and shared Windows hosting that cost the same.

I was not able to find any provider that offered cheaper Windows hosting than Linux hosting.

So, assuming that everyone behaves rationally, if the numbers in this study were accurate at all, the hosting provider that is the subject of the study would offer cheaper Windows hosting than Linux hosting. They don't. If the numbers in this study were generally applicable, you'd find that most hosting providers who offer both would offer cheaper Windows hosting than *Nix hosting. They don't. I can only conclude that the study is bogus in some way and shouldn't be trusted, since it fails to predict rational behavior in a very open marketplace (i.e. one with very low barriers to entry). Businesses are very good at thinking with their wallets, and if this study were true then there's a huge money making opportunity that everyone is letting go.

Re:If Windows really is cheaper to run (1)

srvivn21 (410280) | more than 6 years ago | (#16978102)

Perhaps the cusomters find more value in a Windows host than a Linux host?

While a Cadillac Escalade certainly doesn't cost significantly more to produce than the Chevy Suburban it's based on, it manages to command a significant price premium. Cost does not dictate price.

*shrug*

It all depends. (1)

pakar (813627) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975446)

To make a long story short.

If you have lots of *nix-systems and inhouse *nix knowledge, yes linux is cheaper
If you have lots of MS-systems and inhouse MS-knowledge, yes then a MS setup is probably cheaper.

But ofcourse you always have to look at the specific implementation.
A short example (The numbers are just an example, they might be reversed in another situation)
- 1 Linux system manages 100 hits per second.
- 1 MS-systems manages 50 hits per second.
You need to provide a complete system that manages 10000 hits per second, then you'll need 100 linux systems or 200 windows systems.
While the MS systems might be faster to implement and easier to maintain you still have to compare what the cost is for keeping those extra 50 systems. (Power/cooling/space in the serverroom/costs for that extra hardware/etc)

So i would say to this, it all depends on what you want to run and how big the setup is.

Follow this checklist and you can make your own determination.
1. Number of systems needed to serve the 'application' (ie cost of the hardware)
2. Licence-cost for the systems. (remember that you have to count all extra software that you need to buy)
3. Cost of sysadmins needed to serve these systems.
4. Implementation/Migration-cost.
5. Location-costs of the systems (server-room space/cooling/powerusage/service-agreements for the systems etc)

Let the flamewars begin :)

Hmmm... ? Huh? What? (2, Funny)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 6 years ago | (#16975862)

Well, it takes me approx 1.5 hours to setup a new webserver from scratch (i.e. no OS installed, no formated or partitioned disks, etc., nothing), which runs Solaris 10 (I know, it is not OSS yet, but will be soon), my own custom compiled Apache from latest source release, PHP, and MySql.

Trying to figure out how that is more expensive then Windows. If anything, I just saved myself 6 hours of patching the OS from WindowsUpdate (update, reboot, update for the updates, reboot, update for the updates to the updates, reboot, update one more time, reboot, check that there are finally no more updates). That is correct everyone. Last time I installed Windows XP Pro, it took 4 windows update sessions before there were no more patches left, and it was an SP2 install disk as well, just imagine if you had the original WinXP Pro disk, add 2 more windows update rounds to that number (SP1 and then SP2).

Re:Hmmm... ? Huh? What? (1)

Bronster (13157) | more than 6 years ago | (#16979138)

It takes me under 10 minutes to set up a new Debian server from scratch, complete with all our custom software - just ready to start it up and run it.

That is:

a) boot under kvm to find out hardware addresses (or just boot and read the DHCP server logs)
b) add the hardware addresses, hostname and "class" list for that machine to a file and commit to subversion
c) "make install" from the dhcp config directory
d) boot machine with netboot turned on
e) log in via ssh and start services

this all on machines in New York while I'm in Australia.

Why windows is cheaper (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#16976572)

Windows administration is the burger flipping of the computer industry. It's expected these people will work for less, as the work they do involves little more than taking orders from the screen.

Take the people out of the equation, and any FOSS solution is far, far cheaper.

high skill+salary Linux Admin != low TCO (1)

DonChron (939995) | more than 6 years ago | (#16976640)

I'm skeptical of any company's "study" of its own product and this one has several flaws. The authors compare Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 with "Fedora Core" but never mention which version of Fedora they're using. Fedora Core 5 and 6 came out this year - are they using one of these disributions or something older?

Despite the study's flaws, many of the posts in this thread seem to focus on the inherent, perhaps necessary, superiority of Linux sysadmins to Windows sysadmins. This tangential argument actually makes the Microsoft argument. In fact, this has been the essential MSFT sales pitch for about 20 years - "our products are easier to use" - regardless of the competition. Sure, they sometimes try "our products are better", but the ease-of-use argument is their bread and butter.

The perceived, and fairly real, problem with Linux administration is that you have to do some level of programming. You don't have a choice. Most open-source (and commercial!) Linux applications require some level of configuration by hand, most commercial (and open source!) Windows applications do not. Since that manual configuration takes time, I suspect it diminishes the overall productivity of the skilled Linux admin (with requisite programming skills).

Can a Linux admin/developer really manage more servers than a Windows admin? My experience is that they can't - it tends to balance out. A well-configured, properly sized Windows server and a well-configured Linux server will both tend to run for quite a while without much intervention. Sure, many Linux applications are more memory and processor efficient than their Windows competition, and for large-scale environments this may be a decisive factor. But for most environments, even with dozens or hundreds of servers, the flexibility of a system in which you can modify anything, down to the kernel, doesn't provide enough business value to offset the high salary costs for sysadmins-with-programming-skills compared to those without. For people who don't know how to write shell scripts, or perl, or PHP - i.e. most of the world - Linux looks harder to use because it *is* harder to use.

Don't get me wrong - the open source approach is much more elegant - I'm just not sure it provides enough cost justification for most businesses. By arguing that Linux admins are required to be smarter and, incidentally, better paid than Windows admins, you're arguing against Linux adoption. Keep making this argument - Microsoft PR thanks you.

It's not the 1st server, it's the Nth server (2, Insightful)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 6 years ago | (#16977002)

It's not the first server that is cheaper, it's the N'th server that's cheaper. To drive a mouse around on one MicroSoft server is easy, little training required. The second is only a little more expensive.

The real economy is when you have big numbers of servers. When using cron to drive your admin scripting and SCP to change that scripting. That's when UNIX varieties really shine.

An army of admins are needed to admin a bank of Microsoft servers, one or two smart admins can easily handle several banks of UNIX servers, and have time to contribute to /. too.

especially at upgrade time.

Footnote 1 on page 4 (1)

fava (513118) | more than 6 years ago | (#16977022)

It should be noted that these figures have been normalized to compare Windows-based and Linux-based servers running at a full density of sites per shared server. At the time of the study, the Windows-based servers at Hostbasket were running at only 60 percent of full density and the Linux-based servers were running at only 35 percent of full density. Building out these services to achieve full site density may entail more than just a linear extrapolation of labor costs, as more personnel may be needed to support additional site requirements, so the actual cost of running these servers at full density may actually be higher than we have calculated.
So Microsoft is admitting to almost tripling the linux labour costs and increasing windows by 66% in order to "normalize" the results. That will certianly skew the results the way that they want.

By looking at hardware and power costs (not percentages) per site we can calculate that a windows host and a linux host have the same hardware/power costs. Since hardware and power is consumed on a by server basis we can therfore assume that each server hosts the same number of sites regardless of platform. Since a linux box is only at 35% load and the windows box is at 60% load we can conclude you can have approx 70% more sites on a linux box that you can have on a windows box. This disparity is made even worse by the fact that the microsoft hosted sites are all static content and the linux hosted sites are all dynamic content.

A few flaws... (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 6 years ago | (#16978140)

This is a study of a single client, which pretty much guarantees the results aren't universal. The client admits that their developers and engineers are more familiar with Windows. All the Linux sites are dynamic, while only half of the Windows sites are. The doofs are running a desktop oriented operating system on servers (Red Hat Enterprise or CentOS would make a lot more sense than Fedora).
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