Linux and Windows Rated Equal by Users

By Allen Bernard

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The majority of SMB and enterprise customers deploying Windows Server 2003 find its quality, performance and reliability equal to or better than Linux.

This perception, combined with Microsoft's extensive installed base, makes it difficult for Linux to displace Windows Server, Windows XP or Office in the SMB or enterprise markets, according to the Yankee Group.

However, the survey shows Linux gaining momentum as a complementary server presence in Windows networks. More than 50% of companies surveyed said they plan to install Linux in parallel with, or in addition to, existing Windows operating systems.

According to this independent survey, most respondents that are deploying Linux say that action will not change the status of their installed NetWare and UNIX systems. However, some Netware and UNIX users will migrate away from those legacy operating systems.

"While researching the market traction for each vendor, we discovered that server operating systems are largely commoditized," said Laura DiDio, Yankee Group senior analyst. "Corporate users report a high degree of satisfaction with the baseline performance and reliability of all of the major server operating systems -- Linux, Windows and UNIX. Today, applications and services are the primary drivers that positively or negatively influence TCO costs, advantages and risks."

The Linux-Windows 2005 TCO Comparison Survey analyzes the TCO and rate of ROI of Windows versus Linux in SMB and enterprise environments. The survey also examined TCO, such as deployment costs, the cost of downtime, and the time and staff associated with internal and external security attacks.

As companies continue to weigh the security advantages of each operating system, Yankee Group found that users rated security of Linux and Windows Servers to be nearly equal.

Microsoft continues to make significant strides in mending its security and patch management issues. Survey respondents said that Windows servers recover 30% faster from security attacks than Linux servers. But the survey respondents also indicated that the hourly cost of Windows downtime was three-to-four times higher than that of Linux server downtime, mainly because there is presently more crucial corporate data stored on Windows servers.

Survey Methodology

Yankee Group based its conclusions on responses from 509 companies spanning vertical markets, including healthcare, academia, financial services, legal, media, retail and government.