Linux vs. the Real World (Small Business Edition)

Time and time again when dealing with new clients or existing clients I always get confronted with this question. Why don’t we use Linux? Truth is Linux is great, it’s fantastic, and it makes every IT guys life just that much easier. However; as with all software that is out there today, every different operating system, or application has its place in the real world.

Numerous large companies have tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of Linux servers. They use these servers for clusters, SAP, VMware, specialized applications, custom developed applications, the list goes on. Typically for large companies that have dedicated IT staff, and/or special software that requires Linux, it is normal practice for these companies to utilize Linux since they can use existing on-staff resources to manage, and maintain it. At the same time, in some circumstances there is no other options other than to use Linux.

I usually tell all my small business clients to forget Linux unless they use some special application or database server that requires it to run on Linux.

Here are a few reasons why even though Linux can do things that Microsoft Windows can, it’s better, more reliable, secure, and cost-effective for small businesses to utilize Microsoft Small Business Products.

Linux is a very customizable, broad platform that runs all kinds of applications, databases, programs, etc… and it runs them very well. However, numerous resources are required to maintain, support, patch, secure, and monitor these systems so they run smoothly and continue to do their task on a day to day basis.

In my experience when implementing Microsoft Small Business solutions in conjunction with other solutions designed for Microsoft Windows, the only type of support calls I receive are to deal with hardware failure, user adding or deleting, or new software installs. This keeps your support costs very minimal with a solution that is as powerful as a Microsoft Small Business Solution. Patching and monitoring can all be handled in an automated fashion without any user interaction with Microsoft Small Business Solutions.

Just to provide an example, I have supported numerous environments in the past where due to a Linux solution being sold, the support costs alone in one year could have purchased the same type of Microsoft Solution, sometimes twice over. Also in my experience a fair price comparison of supporting a Linux solution vs. a Microsoft Small Business Solution is that a Microsoft Solution costs 1/6th of support costs vs. a Linux solution in one year of operations.

And finally you’ll be happy to know that Microsoft Small Business Server (the flagship of Microsoft’s Small Business Solutions) holds 85% of market share amongst small businesses. Obviously they are doing something right!

With all this being said above, keep in mind this it’s all coming from an avid Linux user and enthusiast!

Stephen Wagner


Digitally Accurate Inc.

(403) 668-0862

Occupation: President of Digitally Accurate Inc.
Bio: 13 Year IT Service and Solution Provider, Managed Services Provider, Tech Blogger, Entrepreneur

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