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Lower Hardware Costs

Consider the following quick facts gathered from Novell customers who have implemented Linux:

  • The Asian Art Museum moved to SUSE Linux and IBM hardware and decreased costs by 80%.

  • Burlington Coat Factory implemented SUSE Linux and reduced hardware costs tenfold from its previous Unix environment.

  • Central Scotland Police were able to update 1,000 users to state-of-the-art software applications while making use of slower existing computers and saved £250,000.

  • A CRM services provider was able to reduce its hardware costs up to 50% by switching to Linux and eliminating the need for expensive Unix servers.

These cost benefits are fairly typical of the savings that are possible when using Linux as a foundation for applications, networking services, and web services. Linux, in general, makes more efficient use of hardware due to its efficient architecture, economic use of code, and the intense focus that multiple groups have put into kernel performance enhancements.

Linux not only allows IT departments to get more use out of existing hardware, it enables them to more fully take advantage of new scalability and performance features that have been built into the latest hardware. Linux allows you to get more out of Intel Itanium, AMD64, IBM POWER, and IBM zSeries processors.

Some IT organizations are seeing dramatic hardware savings by switching to Linux from proprietary Unix/hardware solutions—Sun/Solaris and IBM/AIX solutions have been particularly expensive. Migrating to Linux on commodity Intel hardware can save a bundle. When Bank of America first started moving from Solaris to Linux, it found it could buy four times the hardware for the same money using regular Intel x86-based hardware (http://www.linuxvalue.com/networkint.shtml). AutoTradeCenter in Mesa, AZ, saved 60% by going with its Oracle application on HP/Intel and Linux rather than Oracle on Sun Solaris (http://www.linuxvalue.com/autotradectr_cs.shtml). Golden Gate University found that Linux in Intel was three to five times less expensive than Solaris on Sun.

Clustering as a business continuance solution has already been discussed, but many companies are moving mainframe processing to Linux grid computers with significant success. The global oil company Amerada Hess, Corp., was able to move its 3D sea-floor rendering application from an IBM supercomputer, which it was leasing for $2 million per year, to a $130,000 Beowulf Linux cluster and get results in the same amount of time. DreamWorks has saved millions of dollars over its previous SGI Unix systems by moving to Intel-based Linux clusters for business operations and rendering (http://www.linuxvalue.com/ncollinsHP.shtml).

Implementing Linux on the desktop can save hardware money as well. The same principles apply with lower-powered hardware being able to perform equally well using open source software. Utility desktops with office productivity, web browser, and email functionality (which is what 80% of office workers only use) can be configured using base or entry-level hardware.

If you’re considering thin-client desktops with Linux (something that’s a lot easier to do with Linux than with Windows), the hardware savings can be even more significant. Client hardware can be reduced to the bare minimum as applications, storage, and everything else is maintained at the data center. The client workstation only needs to have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, network adapter, and CPU. In addition, management costs are minimized as all operations can be done remotely.

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