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Microsoft Cheaper For Web Serving? 135

Posted by Cliff
from the some-seriously-wacked-numbers-goin'-round dept.
Tinman_au asks: "Bink.nu has an article titled "Leading Belgian Hosting Provider Realizes Lower TCO on Windows than Linux" that asks the following: 'Many total cost of ownership (TCO) studies have reaffirmed that TCO of a large enterprise infrastructure based on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 is lower than one based on Linux. But what about TCO in a Web hosting environment?' In the table of figures, the cost area breakout lists labour for Fedora at 77.88% with Windows .NET with SQL Server 2005 as only 53.15%. Admittedly, the report was done by Microsoft itself, so I guess it couldn't exactly be considered impartial, but not being a web admin I found myself wondering, is Windows really that much easier to look after in a web server environment, or has Microsoft fudged some numbers?"
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Microsoft Cheaper For Web Serving?

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  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday November 24, 2006 @08:57AM (#16973240) Homepage Journal
    and tag this one "flamebait"
  • Typical (Score:2, Interesting)

    by techno_dan (591398) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:02AM (#16973256)
    Yet again, another study show lower TCO on the windows platform. From years of Real experience I can say that this is not and will never be true, at least in the short term. The reason I say this, is that I can get more flexibility and horsepower out of a none MS deployment. This is not to say that MS products do not have their place, just that the studies are always narrow, and extremely limited in scope.
  • What you're used to (Score:3, Interesting)

    by andy753421 (850820) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:03AM (#16973260) Homepage
    For me it's 10 times easier for me to fix up an httpd.conf or some .htaccess files and set some permissions with chmod/chgrp, but for other people using the IIS dialogs or whatever might be easier.

    If I gave my grandma a IIS machine and a putty window SSH'd into an GNU/Linux/Apache box I'm guessing she'd get farther with the IIS machine, but on the other hand if you give those to seasoned veterans I would bet the apache box would be set up quicker.
  • by xoran99 (745620) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:14AM (#16973324)
    Isn't it strange that, in all categories but labor, the Linux solution was much cheaper? Why would it use less bandwidth? Why would the network infrastructure be cheaper?

    In any case, I'm tired of TCO stories. Every last one of them is flamebait, and now I've read my last one.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:43AM (#16973606) Homepage
    I think the reason that you can say the TCO of windows is lower is because you can pay some brain dead monkey to be a sysadmin, and have it work. It won't be well optimized, and it won't be completely secure, but for the most part it will work. Now consider Linux. You can't just really pay some guy with an MCDBA/MC??? or equivalent to operate your systems, because there isn't really any equivalent of that in the Linux world. Even most self taught Linux people are more knowledgeable than a lot of the "Microsoft Certified" people out there. So, because the Linux tech actually has more talent, and actually deserves to get paid more. It's like comparing the average Perl programmer to the average .Net programmer. On average, the Perl programmers will be more skilled and therefore more expensive. There's a lot of .Net programmers who took some 4 month course, and think they are now programmers, and a lot of companies hire these people. Studies show that .Net developers cost less, because they are less qualified. Not to say all .Net developers are idiots, but working in .Net development myself, I have to say there's quite a few of them.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:49AM (#16973650)
    The only area that Windows costs are cheaper in this study is "Labour".

    Typically, your windows admin is a little cheaper. Typically apache can handle more virtual domains more reliably and requires fewer staff to manage. If you have 2 Windows staff and 2 Linux staff then Linux could be seen to be more expensive. The question is, do you really need 2 Linux staff, are they spending half their time idle? Are you using best infrastructure practice to manage your machines or are you installing each by hand? Are the Linux staff simply more senior within the organisation and therefore paid even higher? Or if you break it down by domain rather than by server, do the costs come out the same?

    The study is deliberately oversimplified to hide the details of where the money's going. After all, it's propaganda.
     
  • Re:No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by julesh (229690) on Friday November 24, 2006 @10:22AM (#16973978)
    They quote almost a 100% over Windows labor.

    You have to wonder about the quality of their Windows admins who are willing to work for half of what Linux admins are.

    'Cause you can't be telling me that a Windows server needs less maintenance time in the hands of sombody who knows what they're doing. I like to think I do, and I manage web servers running on each platform (Windows Server 2003 and Debian Sarge), and I'll tell you now I spend much less time on the Debian one. Updates are easier to apply, and there are fewer of them.
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Friday November 24, 2006 @11:54AM (#16974890)
    Speaking as someone who set up a LAMP architecture for a Microsoft vendor, my uptimes dwarfed those of IIS with the only time I had to take the server down was for software updates. The time it took me to do my makes and set everything up perfectly the way I want took a couple hours (not that different from Windows). When I left, they decided to switch everything over to an ALL WINDOWS environment. Not counting costs involved in switching all applications over, they had to spend almost $100,000 to duplicate the setup I had for free with open source. Costs in setup are minimal in LAMP, longterm savings and uptime are HUGE!! Also with LAMP, I'm a one man army. In my old company, they had to hire contractors for the DB work separate from the web dev. More labor, higher costs. With LAMP I can keep my costs very very low. This is yet again 100% FUD from Microsoft
  • Been Both Places (Score:3, Interesting)

    by W. Justice Black (11445) on Friday November 24, 2006 @09:01PM (#16979902) Homepage
    I've been a professional Windows SA and a professional Linux SA in various parts of my career. Relevant observations follow.

    Installation:

    Windows - Nearly trivial if all you care about is MS tech and don't need a database. Somewhat less so if you need, say, php and a database. Integration can be mitigated across several systems via Ghosting. Er, not really server-side. Ghosting IIRC is rather verboten in Microsoft's mind.

    Linux - Trivial if you use the distro's packages. Significantly less so if you need to integrate, say, Tomcat with Sun JVM or Oracle. Integration and configuration can me mitigated across several systems via configuration management (cvs, svn) or via scripting or via just copying working configuration files to server #n+1.

    Configuration:

    Windows - Simple if you're not doing anything terribly interesting (and most people don't). Configuration replication is significantly more difficult. Incremental configuration changes (e.g. adding another site) can be scripted if you REALLY know what you're doing or are using third-party tools like Plesk.

    Linux - Somewhat complicated if starting from scratch, especially with Apache 1.3 and single config files. Easier if starting with Apache2 and separate config files. Integration of third-party things can be somewhat difficult. Easy to "roll back" changes using a configuration management system, and relatively easy to script incremental configuration changes.

    Updates:

    Windows - Easy for base system via Windows Update. Somewhat more work for third-party components.

    Linux - Easy for base system and perhaps all components that would be considered third-party above. Somewhat more work for third-party components (but the list of "third party components" is smaller than that for Windows, as PHP/MySQL/Postgres/Whatever are part of the distro).

    Performance:

    I think the endless performance arguments are counterproductive. Linux "feels" faster, but that's not quantifiable, and there are countless ways that tests can be structured to optimize for one architecture or another, especially once you toss application layers (xxMP, Tomcat, CF, etc etc) in there. If performance really matters that much, an organization probably has enough resources that they can make a better evaluation for their payloads than politically-motivated third parties anyway.

    Conclusion:

    I'm not really going to say anything that others haven't said better elsewhere. If you're looking at one departmental or small business web server, Windows is probably easier to start out with, especially if you don't have the talent to grok Linux right off the bat (that gap is shrinking year-over-year, but it's still there). Once you're looking at any real scale (and want to do things like actually replicate configurations and the like), Linux is far more useful and probably cheaper in scale.

    That said, Hostbasket itself charges less for its Linux offering than it's Windows one, and (at the most conservative), Windows is more expensive in every area except labor and (bizarrely) bandwidth if you multiply out the percentages with the calculated TCO number. They're showing Linux as 3.5x more expensive in labor than .NET 2.0, which is dubious in my mind. There's a story here that's not being told--3.5x is a huge jump and there's got to be either a juicy story here that looks bad for Linux (unlikely, or it would've been publicized) or something structural that may invalidate the whole study (more likely, by elimination).

There has been a little distress selling on the stock exchange. -- Thomas W. Lamont, October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday)

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