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Linux Business Businesses Red Hat Software

Red Hat CEO Says Economic Crisis Favors Open Source 191

Posted by kdawson
from the falling-tide-lifts-some-boats dept.
arashtamere writes "Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst predicts the enterprise open source software business will emerge from the economic crisis stronger than the proprietary market. 'I've had a couple of conversations with CIOs who said, "We're a Microsoft shop and we don't use any open source whatsoever, but we're already getting pressure to reduce our operating costs and we need you to help put together a plan for us to... use open source to reduce our costs." And we've had other customers literally looking at ripping and replacing WebLogic or WebSphere for JBoss ... I think we'll know in about six to nine months but there is no question that open source will come out of this in relatively better shape than our proprietary competitors,' he told Computerworld."
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Red Hat CEO Says Economic Crisis Favors Open Source

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  • 8 years ago.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse (527527) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @07:40AM (#25452039) Homepage
    I had a customer who needed to start from scratch with a new business. They could allocate about $5k for the whole database server. I priced out an NT+SQL Server (what they requested), and then priced out a Redhat ($50 at the time) box where we spent the same $ on hardware that we would have spent on software... so they got a kick butt system with $4950 worth of hardware versus a piece of crap machine with $3000 worth of software. That company is now worth something in the 8 digits range. (Wish I had an equity stake now!) That server also served their needs for 5 of the 8 years until a hardware failure, and all we did was move Mysql/Apache and the source to an externally hosted platform.
  • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @07:53AM (#25452131) Journal

    Cheap is a valid metric for evaluation. The employees will use what the company gives them to do the job the company asks them to do. These aren't personal gaming machines at your house.

    I have found that combining Windows XP with FOSS is a good thing. You give people an OS they are know, along with software that doesn't cost you anything but the time it took to create the gold image.

    My company saves money by buying our PCs used. We buy off-lease Dells for a pittance, and they already have the XP Pro sticker on them. Microsoft Tax? Not in this company. And we aren't talking about slacker machines, either. P4 with 2Gb RAM for a tad over $200 each.

    Cheap PC + Windows XP sticker + FOSS = IT being able to buy more toys.

  • Re:8 years ago.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EraserMouseMan (847479) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:05AM (#25452217)
    Large companies will gladly pay for an expensive system that comes with guarantee for support. Microsoft + Intel is a good example. If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel (not so with AMD and others). Same with MS.

    If you cobble something cheap/free together you'll likely have a hard time finding a support solution that will take your problem as their own and find a resolution for you no matter how long it takes.
  • Re:8 years ago.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by doktorjayd (469473) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:18AM (#25452351) Homepage Journal

    If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel

    so the admin guys with MCSE's you employ to babysit your system guess its a hardware problem...and so the call intel.

    whereby intel will direct you to the software vendor, who is clearly responsible for the ${fault} you have described. .. and such and such.

    _or_ you could employ a couple of guys who know their way around f/oss, use commodity hardware and when a part fails, just replace it. if its under warranty, great, maybe get a fresh replacement part for the next one that blows. if not - meh.

    all the support in the world isnt going to help if your raid array fries and the mcse's didnt back up the data....

    my point is that if you have to have local support ( sysadmins, whatever ), then they should be able to handle 99 % of any problem likely to arise, the other 1% should be cheaper to just replace parts with - so what does ' vendor support' really get you?

  • by coder111 (912060) <coder&rrmail,com> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:30AM (#25452503)
    I agree that there are cases where PostgreSQL or will not do. But they are not "many cases". In many cases, Oracle is an expensive overkill. In many cases Oracle introduces more overhead supporting the database than it is worth.

    --Coder
  • Re:8 years ago.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by guruevi (827432) <evi AT smokingcube DOT be> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:32AM (#25452519) Homepage

    Have you ever called Microsoft for any support? Get your credit card ready because just OPENING a support request will cost you ~$150 unless you have an Enterprise Agreement and even then, getting the information together they need before opening a support request made one of my previous employers break out his Visa card and bill it as a company expense. And I didn't know Intel made full machines that they support. Unless you buy an expensive machine from a vendor like HP or IBM, you won't get any level of support either (SuperMicro comes to mind) or yeah, you'll get some support (Dell) but they only know what any junior level sysadmin would know.

    Buying Red Hat with a yearly support contract is cheaper in most instances since their yearly support cost as much as one support instance with Microsoft. Hardware isn't THAT difficult to maintain and support by any sysadmin worth it's money (any sysadmin even at junior levels that doesn't know how to diagnose a bad stick of ram or a failed hard drive should be fired). And if you want a nice combination of hardware and software support, cheap/free software and ease of use, get a Mac. Their servers are decently priced for what you get and their support is the best I have found so far in the industry (IBM actually has really good support too) and I should know I have a degree in electronics and have worked internationally for and with some of the biggest corporations in the world as well as large and small hosting providers and currently work in a large education environment, I know when someone is talking crap or is using a script on the other end of the line, I am usually transferred to second/third line support within the first few minutes of support calls.

  • by rohan972 (880586) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:36AM (#25452557)
    My experience was quite different. My first computer was a second hand box with 95 on it. I was a tinkerer, didn't know anything about anything (malware etc) but you can bet I learned how to reinstall windows 95. When I first installed linux I would dual boot because I couldn't get everything working. After time I got my linux partition doing everything I needed but I was still messing up my windows install. I just stopped reinstalling it. My tinkering just never seemed to render my linux installs unusable. It's good as a home desktop OS and has been for years, depending on who you are.
  • Re:Yes, but.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:38AM (#25452593) Journal

    and Linux engineers can command more salary simply because there are fewer of them than there are Windows engineers (oxymoron, I know.).

    True, but you need fewer of them. The rule of thumb I've always seen used is 1:25 admins to servers with Windows, but 1:50 (or 1:100 if the guy's good) with Linux (on desktops, that ratios on both are around 1:50 or more, but then desktops aren't usually pushed as hard as servers). This may not be as true as it once was, I understand Windows Server 2008 has made some impressive leaps, including a full command line shell and SSH server. But that's the historical reason for Linux (UNIX guys in general, really) commanding more dough: better rate of return on each dollar spent.

  • by viridari (1138635) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @08:47AM (#25452699)

    On paper, RHEL is a tough sell against Windows. The pricing just isn't aggressive enough.

    For CIO's with more foresight, migrating from Windows to Linux makes future migrations much easier. Since Linux is a very UNIX-y environment, it's relatively painless to move from one Linux flavor to another, or from Linux to another UNIX-y OS.

    Migrating to or from Windows is the major point of pain. Once you can get away from Windows, it actually doesn't make a lot of sense to ever go back to it (again, because migrating the other way is so hard).

    Linux, on the other hand, will run on every machine at the company. Everything from your cell phones to your desktops, x86 servers, midrange boxen, and mainframes. Your IT department can become far more efficient (read: less head count) managing UNIX and Linux across the enterprise instead of Windows on the desktops & low-end servers, something else on your bigger servers, something else on your phones, etc.

  • Re:8 years ago.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by neurovish (315867) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:14AM (#25453073)

    What if the Red Hat license was the $350 - $1300 / year of use that it costs now? Would that company still have chosen it?

  • Re:8 years ago.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:14AM (#25453075) Journal

    If you have a hardware problem and call Intel they will solve your problem because the entire hardware stack is Intel (not so with AMD and others).

    Seriously? So if your RAID controller burns out, you can call Intel and they'll say something other than "Sorry, can't help, call your vendor"?

    You buy a hardware support contract from the vendor who assembled the hardware, not from one of the component manufacturers. And the purpose of a hardware support contract is to replace faulty hardware after the initial warranty, not to debug the problem in the first place.

  • Or switch for free (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Flagg0204 (552841) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:40AM (#25453395)

    'I've had a couple of conversations with CIOs who said, "We're a Microsoft shop and we don't use any open source whatsoever, but we're already getting pressure to reduce our operating costs and we need you to help put together a plan for us to... use open source to reduce our costs."

    This makes Jim sound like a complete tool. People who want to save money by switching to open source solutions typically don't go to Redhat. You really want to save money? Switch to CentOS or Debian/Ubuntu. Those are free. In my experience companies usually use free solutions for the majority of their server fleet. For systems that require commercial support (Oracle, Weblogic, etc) they will use RHEL.

    And we've had other customers literally looking at ripping and replacing WebLogic or WebSphere for JBoss ...

    On a personal note.....DONT DO IT! JBoss blows chunks compared to Weblogic 10. If you want a cheaper J2EE solution, look at Glassfish its getting a lot of attention and having used the last stable version it is actually pretty good.

  • Re:Not Convinced (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AceofSpades19 (1107875) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:43AM (#25453431)
    not necessarily ease of use, but familiarity. Is Windows actually that much easier then Linux? I doubt it, its just that more people are familiar with windows so it gives the appearance that its easier then Linux
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @09:56AM (#25453687) Homepage

    as an engineer, with 10+ yrs in the industry, it still boggles the mind that closed source, proprietary software has such a stranglehold on the way businesses percieve 'value'.

    Depends on the business. I got the top tech spot where I am precisely because of my background in both Windows and open source. Moving away from Windows as a host and development platform resulted in significant cash savings. We've even replaced a lot of our commodity workstations with Ubuntu and our productivity apps with a mix of GoogleDocs and OpenOffice.

    Not only have we saved a lot of cash in licensing costs, but discovered that all the hype about increased training costs is just FUD. We haven't had any massive staff training costs, not even many calls to the help desk. The only ongoing annoyance is so many vendors want to use GoToMyPC and it doesn't support Linux. So we have to go scare up a Windows client.

    Higher maintenance costs...FUD.

    The line about paying more for qualified open source techs and developers is also FUD. We didn't have any problems replacing Windows only staff at competitive local rates. And our operating environment is so much calmer and more productive. You don't realize how much time you spend serving the Windows platform until you move away from it.

    It's a pity it takes an economic crisis to get companies to look into a better way of doing business. You'll never make any progress taking advice from people invested in the MS platform, even if they're on your staff. The .NET developers said it would take us months to duplicate some of the systems they built, we did it in weeks. In one case days. We're down to converting the last couple core systems and the mood among the remaining .NET developers is grim. This is a bad time to be out looking for a job but I gave them a chance to get on board with the new order. We're shutting them down in the next couple months. Even the outsource vendors. I gave them the right answers the first day we met. Months later they're still trying to push .NET solutions.

  • Re:Yes, but.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @10:37AM (#25454441) Journal

    To be fair, the same thing can happen in Windows shops. I've seen places with a mishmash of 95, 98, NT4, 2000, and XP machines, all trying to work together.

    But you are right that some shops think being "Linux friendly" means letting multiple distros through the door. Screw that, pick one and go with that. At the very least, pick one package management system (apt, rpm/yum, whatever) and make it standard across the servers and desktops. Otherwise, nothing will ever get updated properly.

  • Re:Yes, but.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sheldon (2322) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @12:26PM (#25456221)

    I think this idea of trying to measure admins to servers ratio is nearly impossible without addressing what the servers actually do. Database servers may require more work than web servers, etc.

    Regardless, interesting anecdotal evidence...

    The company I worked for merged with a sister company. We were a Windows shop and they were Unix. Their IT staff was amazed to find out that our Windows admin staff was three times more efficient then their Unix admin staff. Primarily because our staff had automated virtually everything, server installs, patch deployment, inhouse application installs, etc. Also they had built hundreds of custom applications, each with their own system for managing users and passwords, whereas our users had their Windows account. Since each business user may have to maintain several dozen username/password combinations, their staff was spending half of their time just setting up users and managing password resets and the other half installing new servers.

    It's totally how you use the servers, not just tasks, but operations, development and so on. Piss Poor Planning yields Poor Results.

  • by illumin8 (148082) on Tuesday October 21, 2008 @01:36PM (#25457301) Journal

    And the support contracts for distros like Red Hat(last time I checked,its been a few years) will eat any savings that they had from switching.

    You're doing it wrong. The next time you need an HP Proliant server, ask your HP rep to bundle a 3-year Red Hat subscription/license with it. It will only add a few hundred dollars onto the cost of the server, far less than a Windows Server 2003/2008 license, and you'll get real support (1st and 2nd tier at HP, 3rd tier at Red Hat). Most servers are decommissioned after 3 years anyway.

    The myth that Red Hat support is more expensive than Microsoft is just that, a Myth. With HP servers, I can get support for a few hundred dollars for 3 years. For Microsoft, several hundred dollars just pays for the software license. Support costs $300 an incident after that.

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