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As the Linux adoption product life cycle growth curve has moved from the early adopters in the "Development" stage to mainstream users in the "Growth" stage, a segment that continues to lead that growth is the enterprise IT department. IT workers with UNIX proficiency recognized early on the potential that Linux's UNIX-like operating system could provide. This includes, among many other notable points, significant cost savings in operating system and software licensing fees, the flexibility to view and modify source code to specific enterprise requirements, and the ability to deploy the operating system on a broader range of hardware systems.

You should always precede a UNIX to Linux migration with a detailed cost-benefit analysis to determine the return on investment (ROI). The ROI determines if the investment of time and resources required for such a migration makes sense. In other words, will the migration to Linux increase revenue or save money?

> ROI Analysis
Dan Woods and Gautam Guliani authored Open Source for the Enterprise: Managing Risks Reaping Rewards and point out that it is often difficult to determine precise ROI because of assumptions, undervalued intangible benefits, and difficulty making reasonable estimates of increased revenue. With all of this in mind, Woods and Guliani nevertheless provide an easy-to-understand equation that looks something like Figure 1.

An ROI analysis that management finds compelling should include a high Return coupled with a low Investment, and the higher and lower the respective numbers are, the more likely management is to authorize a transition from UNIX to Linux.

> Savings through Linux Alone
Linux by itself offers many enterprises a sufficient ROI opportunity to warrant a transition. That opportunity is based on the operating system's open architecture and low cost as well as the ability Linux provides to simplify and consolidate infrastructure around fewer servers and away from proprietary products. To these organizations, a migration to Linux often translates into an overall savings in terms of software, hardware, personnel, and support and maintenance costs.

> Savings through Linux-supported Software and Hardware
Of course, organizations are dependent on the software that powers their businesses and Linux, no matter how compelling the figures for cost savings and flexibility, will not seriously be considered if an organization's set of line-of-business applications are not supported in Linux.

With this in mind, Novell has initiated an unprecedented effort to form partnerships with hundreds of software and hardware vendors in certifying thousands of software and hardware products on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. These partners include mission-critical enterprise applications such as IBM DB2, MySQL, and Oracle 9i RAC. Powered by SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, these applications offer dramatic potential savings when compared to traditionally higher UNIX vendors and the prices of UNIX-based proprietary software and hardware licensing fees.

> Lowering Investment Costs
But Savings is only one part of the equation. Novell and its thousands of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server-certified software and hardware partners provide a much more extensive range of Investment options for the IT department. For example, with hundreds of Yes-certified hardware bulletins issued for just Intel, AMD, IBM, Dell, and HP, an IT department has near limitless possibilities in investing in the system that is configured and priced to meet their specific needs.

IT department personnel familiar with UNIX often find the installation and configuration costs associated with the transition to Linux to be minimal. Because of their common roots, moving from UNIX to Linux is a natural and manageable transition. For the most part, Linux skills are easy for UNIX pros to acquire.

ROI determines if the investment of time and resources for an endeavor makes sense. As the momentum of Linux adoption continues to grow, Novell and its partners (including the open source community) are accelerating that growth. All are working to lower an organization's Investment cost of Linux while raising the Return. In most cases, the ROI of a migration to Linux makes a lot of sense.

> Enterprise-Class Infrastructure and Services
For more than 20 years, Novell has been providing organizations of all sizes the means to manage, simplify, secure, and integrate heterogeneous IT environments. As a result, customers can reduce cost and complexity while increasing their return on their IT investment.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 is the serious choice for organizations looking for a compelling ROI opportunity. It is the only enterprisegrade Linux platform offering a complete solution for mission-critical needs, from the desktop to the data center. It's the best engineered, lowest cost, and most interoperable platform for enterprise computing. The SUSE Linux Enterprise Platform includes integrated Xen virtualization, AppArmor application layer security, and robust management tools for configuration and deployment.

> Digging Deeper
The more you learn about Linux, the more you'll be convinced. For example, although some forms of virtualization date back to the 1960s, virtualization has again become a hot topic in the data center because of several emerging virtualization technologies. These technologies have the potential to improve resource utilization, efficiency, scalability, and manageability for commodity hardware systems.

Novell is the only enterprise Linux vendor in the market shipping a virtualization solution based on the Xen hypervisor open source project. Armed with Xen virtual machines on commodity hardware, data center administrators can create new levels of flexibility and agility in their environments at a lower total cost of ownership. Enterprises can take advantage of integrated Xen-based virtualization in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 to improve server utilization by consolidating physical servers and applications and thus:

  • lowering hardware, maintenance, and electrical costs
  • increasing business continuity and system uptime by migrating disparate workloads onto virtual machines without interruption
  • leveraging excess data center capacity and improving response times by balancing computing loads across data center resources at peak times
  • redeploying physical server resources by migrating server workloads to virtual server farms and releasing physical resources that can be redeployed for other uses
  • providing application portability and flexibility across hardware platforms

> Ready for Mission-Critical Service
Everyone wants the fabled Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability (RAS) features long associated with mainframe-class computers – but without the high costs. Nowadays, RAS features are also available with x86 architecture running Linux. Of course, if your hardware requirements are different, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 supports AMD 64 and Opteron, Intel's EM64T and Itanium II, as well as IBM's PowerPC and zSeries platforms. From basic real-time error protection to real-time cross-checking the accuracy of every calculation, you can choose the appropriate level of reliability for your needs.

Likewise, the SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 Platform builds on the inherent security of Linux by integrating a wide range of essential server-and desktop-specific security capabilities, including encryption, firewalls, certificate creation and management, authentication, access control, and proxy management. It's the only Linux distribution to include integrated application level security with Novell AppArmor.

In short, Novell and its hundreds of certified software and hardware partners have you covered when it comes to designing a post UNIX solution for your organization. And of course, this even covers the desktop. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 from Novell is the only enterprise-quality Linux desktop on the market designed for general-purpose business. Developed and backed by Novell, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop provides market-leading usability, seamless interoperability with existing enterprise computer systems, and dozens of essential office applications.

Deployable as a general-purpose desktop platform or tailored for use in thin-or thick-client configurations with fixed-function uses, such as kiosks, point-of-sale devices, or high-end engineering workstations, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop provides unparalleled levels of flexibility for desktop clients. With SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, businesses can dramatically reduce costs, improve end-user security, and increase workforce productivity

> Building Your Own ROI Case Study Today
The benefits of Linux are available to you today. When you are ready to realize these benefits and the potentially significant ROI in the process, Novell provides you the support infrastructure to do so with more than 3,300 Novell channel partners and more than 800 Linuxtrained support personnel around the world. Furthermore, Novell provides technical expertise and best practices to enterprises deploying its software, as well as software from its hundreds of certified software and hardware partners around the world.

> Conclusion
As noted earlier, ROI determines if the investment of time and resources for an endeavor makes sense. As the momentum of Linux adoption continues to grow along the product life cycle curve, Novell and its partners (including the open source community) are accelerating that growth. At the same time, all are working to lower an organization's Investment cost of Linux while raising the Return. In most cases, when including all the contributing factors of the ROI formula, the ROI of a migration to Linux makes a lot of sense.

Let Novell help you get started on an ROI plan where Linux is putting money back in your pocket instead of UNIX taking it out.

For more information on Linux, including case studies on companies that have already migrated from UNIX to Linux, visit To have a Novell representative contact you, visit N

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