Friday, 22 November, 2002

TCO is more than up-front cost

The Gartner Group released a report this week saying that, although Linux has lower up-front costs, it may end up costing more to integrate with existing applications.  An article describing the report ishere.  Say it with me, now ... "Duh!"  I suspect that the Slashdot crowd had a field day with this article, but I'm too lazy to go search it out.  One would hope that IT directors who make these types of decisions (i.e. to "go Linux") would take these things into account.

Sometimes I think I've been in this business too long.  Every few years, some system or another is identified that will magically reduce complexity, increase efficiency, and save millions or billions of dollars in IT expenses.  Do people ever learn?  Of course there are hidden costs associated with changing over to a totally new operating system.

If an IT department wants to move to Linux, they'll need to do it slowly.  Install Linux on new servers to support new systems.  Learn how to configure and administer it.  Migrate some non-critical or low-use systems.  Keep track of the learning curve and unexpected migration problems.  Take your time!  Linux has a lot to offer, but it's not child's play by itself, and converting major applications from Windows or any other system to Linux is a process that's full of unexpected problems.