Q&A Mercer Management Consulting on Driving Lower TCO and Rapid ROI Through UNIX Migrations – Stories

Q&A Mercer Management Consulting on Driving Lower TCO and Rapid ROI Through UNIX Migrations – Stories

Misconception#3:Linuxisobviouschoicesinceitisfreeorclosetofree。

AfewindividualsinourstudysaidthattheyhadchosenLinuxasano-brainerbecauseitsfreeorclosetofreeoratleastitscheaperfortoolsandtheoperatingsystem。

ManyothersclaimedthatitseasiertomigratefromUNIXtoLinuxbecauseoftheAPI(applicationprograminterface)compatibilitybetweenUNIXandLinuxorbecausewecantakeadvantageofourin-houseUNIXknowledgeintheLinuxenvironment。

However,andquitesurprisinglytous,thevastmajorityofcompanieswhoperformedevenmoderatelyrigorousTCO(totalcostofownership)analysismadeitclearthattherisk-adjustedreturnsformigrationssuggestedWindowswasoftenessentiallyawashwithLinuxandsometimesevenadvantagedontotalcosts。

Asoneexecutivetoldus,wewere,frankly,surprisedthatLinuxandWindowsprovidedaboutthesameTCO,sowecouldmakeastrategicdecisionbasedonapplicationavailabilityandaccesstoresourcesinthemarket。

Tosummarize,migrationsreallyareeasierthanmostpeoplethink,theplatformacquisitionandoperatingsystemcostsareatinyportionoftheoverallmigrationcost,anddeeperTCOanalysesdisprovetheconventionalwisdomthatLinuxistheobviousbest,easiestandcheapestoption。

PressPass:WhyaremoreUNIXcustomersturningtoWindows?

Whatconclusionsdoesthestudydrawaboutthis?

Wenstrup:Manyofthecompaniesconsideringtransformationalmigrations,suchasmovinghigh-endworkloadsorstrategicworkloadsforbusinessapplications,havefoundthatwhentheyconductarisk-adjustedanalysis,theWindowsplatformhasaveryattractiveoverallTCOcomparedwithLinux。

ThestudycitesastypicaltheexperienceofaEuropeantelecomcompanyundergoingatransformationalmigrationforitsERPapplication。

AccordingtothecompanysheadofITarchitecture,arisk-averseCIOwantedtolowerITcostsbymovinganSAPapplicationfromtheback-endandintegratingitintoafront-endWebserver。

TheCIOwantedtostickwithUNIX,buttheheadofITarchitectureconvincedhimtoconsiderWindows。

Whentheydidananalysis,theyrealizedthatWindowswasboththelowesttotalcostsolutionevencomparedwithLinuxandthelowestrisksolution,andthemigrationtoWindowswasfullysupportedbySAP。

Ofthe30companieswetalkedto,manyendedupmovingtoaWindowsenvironmentafterdoingrigorousanalysesforrisk-adjustedTCO,oftentodebunkconventionalwisdom。

ManycompaniesnotonlydidaTCOanalysisandaperformanceanalysisaheadoftimebutactuallywentbackretrospectivelyandcheckedtoseewhetherthosenumbersprovedthemselves。

Wedidhaveacoupleofcompaniesthatsaidtheyachievedalloftheperformancelevelsthattheyhadanticipated,andtheyhadeithermetorexceededtheircostnumbers。

Again,thishasbeenborneoutbycompaniesinlarge-scaleimplementationstoday。

OurstudyparticipantsalsopointedoutthattheWindowsplatformisalower-risksolutionthanLinuxaroundafewdimensions。

First,itoffersaccesstoskillsetsandcapabilities,bothpartnerandinternallyhired。

Second,itoffersfuture-proofingaroundapplicationsinparticular,meaningitpreventscompaniesfromgettinglockedintoalimitedsetofapplicationsastheirbusinesschanges。

Lastly,theWindowsplatformoffersrobusttoolavailabilityforthingslikesystemsmanagementandsoforth。

PressPass:ThestudynotesthatLinuxtractionhastendedtocomefrommorediscrete,lessfinanciallyscreenedmigrations。

Canyouelaborate?

Wenstrup:Sure。

WefoundthatmanytimeswhencompanieshadchosentomigratefromUNIXtoLinux,thosedecisionsweremadeatamuchlowerlevelwithintheorganization。

Infact,itwasoftenanITadministratorwhowasmakingthedecisions,typicallynotusingrobustROI(returnoninvestment)orTCOanalyses。

TheseITadministratorsoftenputtogetherveryrudimentarybusinesscasesdrivenmorebypersonalbeliefsand/orbackofenvelopecomparisonsthatwouldonlyincludesomethinglikethecostoftheplatform,which,aswementionedearlier,isafractionofthetotalcostofamigration。

Infact,weobservedaninterestingphenomenon:WhenITexecutivesconductedsignificantandrobustTCOandROIanalysis,theyweremorelikelytoturntowardWindows,and,ininstanceswheremorejuniorresourcesweremakingtacticaldecisionswithoutrigorousanalysis,theyoftenturnedtoLinux。

Inmanycases,bothapproachesexistedwithinthesamecompany,sowesawtransformationalorstrategicinvestmentsthathadahighdegreeofscrutinyfromseniorexecutivesmovingtowardWindowsinonepartofthecompany,andwithinthesameorganization(albeit,oftendeeperintheorganization)otherdecisionsoftenleaningtowardLinux。

AsImentionedearlier,itwasnotuncommontofindITadministratorswhosaid,oftenquitesmugly,thatmakingthechoicebetweenLinuxandWindowswaseasybecauseLinuxischeaporfree,andWindowsisexpensive。

Weencounteredthisrelativelymyopicviewofcostsrememberthesoftwareplatformcostsareonlyabout5percentoftotalcostsmoreoftenthanwewouldhaveanticipated,andwefounditverysurprising。

Ofcourse,thisisnotalwaysthecase。

TherearesomeworkloadsandapplicationswhereamigrationfromUNIXtoLinuxratherthanUNIXtoWindowsmayendupprovidingacostadvantage,forinstance,ifyouretalkingaboutlegacyorcustomapplicationsthatareeasiertransitionstotheAPIsofLinux,butthoseapplicationareasarefewerandfarbetween,andincreasinglysoinaworldofpackagedapplications。

PressPass:Intermsoffuturetrendsinthisspace,arethereanyconclusionswecandraw?

Wenstrup:ManyexpertsandcustomerswespoketointhestudyagreedthatUNIXwouldcontinuetobereplacedonaglobalbasisatarelativelyfastclipbyWindowsandLinux。

Somepunditshavesuggestedthatthemigrationmayevenaccelerateas,forinstance,Windowsperformanceparticularlyonscalabilityandreliabilitycontinuestoimprovevis-a-visUNIX。

ThecostadvantagesofWindowsandLinuxversusUNIXmakeapay-backperiodandanROIquitequickformanycompaniestoday。

WebelievetherewillcomeadaywhenUNIXwillonlyremaininitslastbastions,focusedwithinasmallsetofimplementationsofcustomapplicationsandhighlyscale-sensitiveenvironmentsinwhichitservesitspurposewell。

Bymostexpertscounts,UNIXwillbeamuchsmallerportionofthecomputingworldfiveor10yearsfromnow。

PressPass:Anyothercomments?

Wenstrup:Asthestudyattests,itistocustomersadvantagetoalwaysundergoathoroughandrobustROIanalyses。

WeheardanumberofstoriesfromITexecutiveswhosaidtheysawpeoplemakingdecisionsonplatformsalloverthecompanywithoutfinancialrigorandcomingtodifferentconclusions。

AsoneCIOstated,Iusedtofearthatforeveryserverdecisionthatwemadewithstrongfinancialbusinesscase,therewerethreedecisionsbeingmadearoundthecompanyundertheradarscreenasaresult,wehaverolledoutarobustfinancialbusinesscaseprocessforallplatformdecisions,regardlessofsize。

ManyITleadersinourstudyrecognizedaneedtoinstillthesameamountoffinancialrigorinallplatform-relateddecisionmakingcompanywide,transformationalornot。


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