What’s with this “either-or” thinking lately? “Windows” or bust! Give me “Linux” or give me death! An “Apple” a day keeps the viruses at bay! All in all, it can get pretty contentious, even in the IT world. But is taking such a strong stance really necessary? Shouldn’t it all be about value, cost, and benefits—not dogmatically clinging to any particular brand, operating system, or technology? Why have so many bought into the IT myths that keep them from exploring new options?
Yup—I went there. Myths. It’s not that there aren’t any truths in these beliefs that one OS is better than another. There are usually grains of truths in any story. It’s knowing both the truths and the fictions that helps dispel those myths.
First of all—let’s be honest—most server operating systems really do fine in mixed IT environments. Linux, Windows, and the Mac OS can co-exist—and do. Some operating systems, like Linux (and by extension, Open Enterprise Server) may be cheaper to license. Others may be less prone to security threats—or easier to manage. The important thing to do is a logical assessment of why any particular OS might be better for your environment. So what should you be looking at in your myth-dispelling analysis?
- COST vs BENEFITS
Yeah, yeah—we all know this. However, you’d be surprised how many times this gets overlooked. Upper management gets convinced they must be “all Windows” or “all Linux” or “all Mac” without any real analysis of the data. Take Windows for instance. With the new way of licensing Windows Server, the cost for many enterprises will increase significantly. Yet despite this obvious price hike—many people dogmatically move towards either replacing alternative operating systems with Windows—or continue to pay the increased the fee without exploring what their options are. If the cost of your OS increases—there had better be increased benefits, right?Which isn’t to say cheaper is better either. It may not be. However, careful resource planning could allow you to adopt or keep other operating systems and still not lose any IT functionality across your enterprise. Same benefits, lower cost. Sounds like a winning combination to me.
- FEATURES vs VALUE
Each OS has a list of features it comes with. Most can be compared and most roughly stack up to each other. However, sometimes through inclusion of other products or entitlements—additional features start to increase the value of the OS. Does my OS allow me to do virtualization—and at what cost? Can I offer file sync and sharing across multiple devices from multiple locations? Or how easy is it for me to do printing in my organization? How easy is it for me to provide fail-over and high availability through clustering?
The list could go on forever. But in the end—it’s important to know what features you have, what’s for included for free, and what features you really need. That will determine the value of the product to your organization. However, sometimes this careful analysis gets lost when ideologies take the IT driving wheel.
For those reading this article that happen to have Open Enterprise Server, I dare say, you’ve made a particularly wise choice when it comes to the cost vs. benefits vs. features vs. value comparisons. If you’re using all the included features granted through entitlements (like Filr, iPrint, and Kanaka for Mac) and taking advantage of the clustering promotion—you’re getting about everything you need for enterprise-grade file and print services. Given the cost increase of Windows Server licensing— Open Enterprise Server really shines. In fact, Open Enterprise Server business is growing as people do this analysis. Why? Because when people get sticker shock from their Windows licensing price, they start looking at an alternative OS that can deliver the benefits and features they need—but for less. Enter OES.
All in all—no matter which server OS you choose—it should be flexible and adaptable enough to play well in mixed IT environments, deliver the features you need, and be at a price you’re willing to pay. Whatever you do, don’t let your decision be based on IT myths instead of solid research and facts though! IT should be a “plays well with others” kind of world, right?