Survey says running Linux is cheaper than Windows

* OSDL study counters Microsoft's claims about Linux TCO

The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) this week released a study countering claims by Microsoft that running a Linux-based computing infrastructure has a higher total cost of ownership than operating a Windows environment.

A recent survey of server administrators found that Linux allowed server administrators to manage more servers per person, resolve operating system problems faster, and spend less time patching software for security purposes than administrators of Windows servers.

The study - authored by research firm Enterprise Management Associates and funded by Levanta, a Linux management software firm - surveyed 200 IT professionals, ranging from small organizations with around 20 servers, to large enterprises with over 1,000 machines in a data center, from such industries as finance, manufacturing, retail, education, service providers, media, and telecommunications. The survey found, among many things, that the average Linux administrator had responsibility for 68 servers, while Windows admins handled 32 servers. Over 80% of the respondents said they used remote management tools for controlling their Linux servers.

The study's main goal is to refute the "Get the Facts" campaign Microsoft is running, where it uses industry studies and research showing that running a Linux-based network is more laborious and expensive than running a Windows shop. Both the OSDL study and Get the Facts campaign clearly have points of view behind their research, which must be taken into consideration when comparing Linux/Windows TCO figures presented by the two camps.

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