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SuSE Businesses Linux Business IT

A CIO's View of SUSE's Enterprise Viability 184

Posted by Zonk
from the can-stay-out-of-the-fridge-for-quite-a-while dept.
onehitwonder writes "As part of an ongoing quest to find a viable alternative to the Microsoft desktop in the enterprise, well-known healthcare CIO John Halamka spent a month using Novell SUSE 10 as his sole operating system. His conclusion? It's good enough for the enterprise. In Windows vs. Linux vs. OS X: CIO John Halamka Tests SUSE, he explains how SUSE stacks up against RHEL, Fedora, XP and OS X (in a life-critical business environment), and which issues should influence an enterprise-class organization to adopt it."
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A CIO's View of SUSE's Enterprise Viability

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  • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @10:28PM (#19624895)
    It's time to thin the herd.

    I don't agree. The differences are of an other type than the ones between, e.g., versions of Windows. First thing is that the "look and feel" is really not tied to the distribution. Whether I run fvwm2 on top of Suse, RedHat, Debian, etc. does not matter much for its look and feel. That is almost completey determined by my .fvwm2rc file. Second thing is that hardware support (i.e. kernel) is again not tied to the distribution. I am running Debain with a stock kernel.org kernel with my own config. I did the same before with Suse. Not a problem. Third thing is that the rest of the OS is again not tied to the distro. Practically everything can be changed or customized. Same is true for the applications. Which distro I run an application on makes very little difference. The most difference makes the window-manager, but that is an application in itself and not distribution specific.

    The thing that does matter is support and updates. These can be very different from distro to distro. This is also the point that becomes very important in professional adoption. Of course Linux has all the advantages here, since MS support is really very, very bad. For Linux you not only can get better support. You can have your own people do it on every level. Or buy the support from a lot of different poeple, with just the quality level you need. And if one support offer cannot cut it, moving to another one is a very real option.

    And if you do not use the vendor-support, the distribution becomes even less important. Of course a large organization will need to hier a few Linux gurus in a move to Linux. But the potential gains are staggering.
     
  • by twitter (104583) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @10:44PM (#19624997) Homepage Journal

    uname -a on one of GE's latest generation of CT scanners reports a version of Red Hat. Diagnosing cancer may not be as life critical as an EKG, but it's not something you want to have crash or degrade over time or have some kind of file quirk that screws up images.

  • by twitter (104583) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @11:11PM (#19625109) Homepage Journal

    His real opinion is this:

    The X60 running Novell SUSE is the first Linux laptop I have used that is good enough to be my only computing device,

    That is astounding after only one month of use. Most users take years to shake bad old M$ habits and almost as long to learn which of the dozens of free packages is their favorite for any given task. Most people want their Windoze safety blanket for a year or so. This kind of endorsement is ringing - he's saying that he could do without Windoze tomorrow, forever. He's right but has not had time to develop real confidence in his opinion, which is reasonable given the billion dollars a month M$ spends on marketing and lock on major vendors.

    To be fair, you should have quoted his worry. What's keeping him from recommending widespread deployment? Well, this:

    "I dont know enough about the remote management tools and capabilities for it"

    OMFG! and,

    "For your average administrator or manager who is very comfortable with Windows 95, 98 and XP, it might be a little bit of a leap"

    Free software absolutely kills Windoze for remote control and management. The fact that thousands of computers have been corralled into clusters for decades should tell anyone that remote configuration has been mastered long ago in the free software world. It's amazing how much easier things are when you don't have integrated licensing and copy protection built into the product itself. On top of that, Novel offers it's own set of tools to manage mixed environments which are widely admired. This is a slam dunk for free software and Suse.

    The other concern is a bit condescending. Even fanboys, given proper support and encouragement, soon learn how much better free software is. It's true that the deeper you are into M$, the harder it is for you to see anything else, but those who escape become the biggest M$ haters. They, more than anyone else, bear the brunt of M$'s intentional waste. It makes them angry but they accept it without knowing any better. Eventually, the lies melt away and all the talk about software freedom sinks in. Liberate them for just a while and it's all over.

  • Easy there! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by twitter (104583) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @11:24PM (#19625157) Homepage Journal

    Do you think this will help the image of Novell after drinking Microsoft's Kool Aid? No, only when pigs fly.

    If your boss offered you the chance to migrate from the Beast to Novel, you would be crazy to say no. The more free software people use, the better. I'd rather everyone used nothing but free software and I don't like that Novel endorsed M$, but let's not get carried away. When the alternatives are to stick with seven year old software and slowly migrate to Vista or migrate to Suse, Suse is the clear winner.

  • by good soldier svejk (571730) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:03AM (#19625341)

    Most well known for being the responsible guy for one of the biggest hospital IT failures on the books. All hospital systems out for 4 days? What kind of good CIO has that kind of failure on his watch?
    In this case, one who inherited a broken network architecture from a previous CIO and was denied funding to fix it until it was too late. I know; I was there.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:24AM (#19625447)
    I won't name where I work, but it is pretty big - over 12,000 employees - and they are seriously considering dropping Windows to switch to Linux. Vista is not considered suitable, the cost is huge per seat, and they figure that as long as they are retraining the workforce to use something, it might as well be something that is cheaper, more secure, and more reliable.

    I know people will say that the TCO might be higher but in the long run, is it really? Once you get people moved over and used to it, and after a few new versions of OS where MS keeps gouging but Linux stays free, there is a point where the cost drops drastically comparitively. We don't have so many trained to support Linux yet, but that's coming.

    Bye MS.
  • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @02:10AM (#19625917)
    The thing that does matter is support and updates. These can be very different from distro to distro. This is also the point that becomes very important in professional adoption. Of course Linux has all the advantages here, since MS support is really very, very bad. For Linux you not only can get better support. You can have your own people do it on every level. Or buy the support from a lot of different poeple, with just the quality level you need. And if one support offer cannot cut it, moving to another one is a very real option.

    Indeed, I've done just that this week.

    I've been running Novell SLED10 on two machines, and have been very happy with it. It's the most professional desktop distro I've seen (good enough to pay for - twice). That is, until the politics started and the SP1 update was released. One machine updated nicely... until the next reboot when a broken initrd didn't let it come back up. The other machine wouldn't update at all, probably due to not having bought the optional "upgrade protection" (SP1 is an upgrade, not an update?!), or possibly the updater, or maybe even something that I've done.

    Anyway, rather than fight with a broken operating system or a company moving in directions I don't agree with, I downloaded Ubuntu 7.04. I'm back up and running in 2 hours, with no data loss/copying thanks to keeping /home on it's own partition. Even better, the same would apply if I'd gone with most any other distro such as RH or Mandriva.

    We've done the same thing with the server too, moving across 3 vendors over a period of several years due to changing policies and distro hardware support. I just can't imagine being at the mercy of one vendor, especially in a small market like New Zealand.

    As long as Linux is free, so are my systems, and so are the companies they work for.
  • by Heembo (916647) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @02:32AM (#19625991) Journal
    Here we have a study buy a highly technical CIO that claims that SUSE Linux is an acceptable enterprise OS. This is bunk. Any solid technical person can use any OS and make it work.

    Show me a study where a non-technical standard business user is successfully using SUSE for 30 days as their only OS, and suddenly you got my interest.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @09:04AM (#19627387) Journal
    Of course Linux has all the advantages here, since MS support is really very, very bad.

    If is funny, but I got modded down for that a couple of days ago. But you are 100% correct. MS has more an 100 billion dollars in the bank, and are still whining for customers. Yet, if they had spent even a fraction of that on boosting support (and had spent a couple of more billions on development), then this blog would NOT have happened. The CIO would be judging Linux against a superior OS, rather than a peer with many issues.

    As it is, I think that Linux is already superior. What is needed is more ease of use and better compatability. In particular, Sun (perhaps combined with IBM and HP) would do well to continue extending the OO to support project and the other parts that are missing. In fact, IBM and HP could create a group of coders to take that on and create a pure GPL (or even a different OSS license) app.

    As to thinning the herd, that would be the biggest mistake. MS has been focused on Redhat and cut a deal with Novell. In the meantime, Ubuntu popped up. And it is winning accolades. Great support as well as a VERY easy to use app. It shows that real competition changes things. Worse, if this herd was too thin, then MS can successfully target the small # of companies and Win. Even suggesting that would be akin to suggesting that the best way to help Grizzly bears would be to thin their herd and then offer unlimited hunting against them.

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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