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Red Hat CTO weighs on MS vs. Linux in the data center

Jan 27, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinuxMicrosoft

* An interview with Michael Tieman, CTO at Red Hat

In a Network World story last week, Peter Houston, director of server strategy for Microsoft, sized up the future of enterprise data centers as a “two horse race” between Microsoft and Linux, with Unix being more of an afterthought as a strategic platform.

At the LinuxWorld Expo in New York last week, I sat down with Michael Tiemann, CTO at Red Hat, who has a different view of how the enterprise data center market will shake out.

“I’ve talked to very few people who will trust Windows in their data center,” Tiemann said. “In the field, there is a perception of robustness in Unix and in Linux that you can’t get on any other platform; there is no [colloquial] term for what happens when [a Linux or Unix] system crashes,” he added, refering to the “blue screen of death” as it is known, when a Windows server fails.

Tiemann said he expects more businesses to realize what he calls “very real” cost savings in running Intel hardware with Linux over RISC-based Unix systems. He says on accounts that Red Hat has worked with – which include companies such as Morgan Stanley, and Credit Suisse First Boston, Windows had not come up as an option when discussing the migration of a RISC-based application to the Intel platform.

Tiemann said that the open source nature of Linux has allowed Red Hat and other distributors to develop a stable, enterprise-ready platform in a two to three year period, whereas Microsoft had developed the Windows NT and Windows 2000 over twice as long, and still not gotten it right.

“The onus is on Microsoft to chase out the problems in its software that have cost customers billions of dollars in downtime over the last decade.”