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23,000 Reasons a Company Switched to Linux

23,000 Reasons a Company Switched to Linux

Welcome to the Linux Advocacy Spotlight - here to show you how Linux advocates get Linux introduced in their companies*.

CompanyABC, a personnel placement agency in central New Jersey, has ten offices throughout the U.S. and 75 employees. Each office has a connection to the Internet through dial-up, ISDN, or broadband cable. The workstations are a combination of Windows 95 and Windows 98 computers. The main office has a Novell 3.1 server that provides a Web site and e-mail.

CompanyABC decided to upgrade the server to allow for more Web sites (Novell 3.1 allows only one Web site per server). The company's CIO, John, did some research and concluded that the company had three options: Novell 4.0 (or greater), Windows Server (either NT or 2000), or Linux.

Since Novell had completely rewritten NetWare with the 4.0 release, full training would be required regardless of the solution that was decided upon. That, combined with Novell's market decline since the original network was installed and the fact that most of the work had moved from the server to the client, ruled out Novell as a choice. This left Windows and Linux.

Windows seemed the logical choice due to their market share, but the ongoing security issues with the operating system, especially Internet Information Server (IIS), the primary reason for the change, gave John reason to analyze Linux as a potential solution. With a little research, John found that Linux was currently being used by, Siemens,, and some governments, and he realized that Linux might be the solution.

Some of the requirements John outlined to the Linux New Jersey consultant:

  • A new server with RAID 5 capabilities
  • Installation and setup of the new server
  • Training for the three IT employees
  • An e-mail server that can handle remote users
  • A Web server that can host several sites and connect to a relational database
  • A database that can handle over 100,00 records and resumes
  • A consultant to provide Web site design and database design services
Just to cover his bases, John asked the consultant to compare the price of using Linux to the price for a Microsoft solution.

NOTE - The Linux New Jersey consultant used to obtain pricing on Microsoft products, your purchasing power may be different.

The following servers were also necessary for the new system:

  • A Relational Database Management System
  • A Web server
  • A DNS server
  • An e-mail server
Plus enough licenses for all 75 employees to use the services.

The total cost for the Microsoft solution was:

  • $12,006.90 for the server software
  • $11,390 for the licenses
  • $20,373 for training, hardware, and Web and database design

This gave a grand (literally) total of $43,769.90 for the upgrade.

The cost for the Linux solution was:

  • $173.95 for the server software
  • $0 for the licenses
  • $20,373 for training, hardware, and Web and database design

This gave a grand total of $20, 546.95

The difference: $23,222.95 in favor of the Linux solution. The bottom line - John found 23,222 reasons to go with Linux.

I am always looking for similar stories on how your company chose Linux. Please e-mail me at [email protected] with your situation. Please include your name, the company name, and your location in your e-mail. The company will always be CompanyABC to protect the identity of the companies studied unless I am given specific permission to use the company name. Only first names will be used when referring to a specific person. I will give credit to the individual who submits a case study if they request it.

*This month's case study is based on a white paper by Linux New Jersey, Inc.'s Faber Fedor.

More Stories By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is currently working as an unemployed UNIX/Linux System Administrator living in Allentown, PA. He is an active member of the Lehigh Valley Linux User Group
( In his spare time he is persuing an Associates Degree in Computer Programming.

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