Sunday, January 18, 2009

Linux & Open Source Bridging the Server Divide

Consolidating Linux and Windows servers may not be easy, but it may be best for the business.

Over the last several years, it has become very clear that the two dominant server operating system environments are Windows and Linux. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon to find both these environments running inside the same organization.

Basically, there are three ways for this situation to come about. The first way is through inheritance, which is usually the result of some merger and acquisition activity in which one side of the deal was primarily running Windows servers while the other favored Linux.

The second, more common, scenario is more ad hoc. At some point, someone on the IT staff brought in Linux servers through the back door, and the application load running on those servers grew over time.

The third and most likely scenario involves a more deliberate strategy whereby the IT leadership has decided to embrace both operating system environments for different types of application workloads.

Most IT organizations chalk up the bickering between the Windows and Linux partisans to good-natured rivalry. But as the economy has taken what looks like an extended turn for the worse, the issue of costs associated with running both operating environments is starting to raise its ugly head.

As a result, the tenor of the Windows-versus-Linux debate is becoming shriller, as advocates for each begin to view the issue as a matter of survival: Many companies must start thinking about standardizing on one environment to reduce costs. The core issue is that each environment requires its own dedicated hardware, management tools and associated specialists.

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