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Windows vs. Linux in maintenance costs

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Analyst Yankee Group questioned 509 companies and organisations of all sizes in North America about the total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) of the two systems, and found that more than half of those surveyed planned to install Linux in parallel with, or in addition to existing Windows systems.

The study found that deployment costs, the cost of downtime and the time associated with internal and external security attacks were the key factors for businesses when considering their systems.

On security, Yankee found that users rated Linux and Windows Servers as almost equal. Yankee said Microsoft is "continuing to make significant progress in mending its security and patch management issues".

Survey respondents said that Windows servers recover 30% faster from security attacks than Linux servers.

But the survey respondents also indicated that the hourly cost of Windows downtime was three- to four-times higher than that of Linux server downtime. This was mainly because there is currently more crucial corporate data stored on Windows servers, said Yankee.

"We discovered from users that server operating systems are largely commoditised. They report a high degree of satisfaction with the baseline performance and reliability of all the major server operating systems – Linux, Windows and UNIX.

"Today, applications and services are the primary drivers that positively or negatively influence TCO costs, advantages and risks," said Laura DiDio, Yankee Group analyst.

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