News
Commentary
11/26/2004
12:52 PM
Test Center
Test Center
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Where To Place Your OS Bets

Most solutions providers are still on the Windows bandwagon, but more are also weighing open-source alternatives.

The quest for an alternative to the Windows platform has driven many to experiment with the various operating systems out there. Several types exist, from Unix to FreeBSD to Linux—which itself comes in so many flavors that it can complicate selecting which way to go.

When making such a selection, solution providers first must determine whether their customers' desire to use an alternative OS falls under the "anything but Microsoft" realm, or whether there is a legitimate need to select something other than Windows.

FRANK J. OHLHORST
Can be reached via e-mail at fohlhors@cmp.com.
So what are legitimate needs? Most alternative-OS pushers tout cost as a primary factor, but according to various research firms, that argument could go either way, and the water gets even murkier when intangibles such as training, support and documentation are factored in.

 
>>  Solution providers need to understand what OS alternatives mean to their markets.

 
In some cases, a proper cost analysis can prove to be as expensive as the proposed savings.

The real reason for going with an alternative OS should be driven by the solution provider, who has the expertise to leverage what an OS has to offer. Vertical-market applications or specialized needs are the primary factors in selecting alternatives, but they mean nothing unless someone is advocating alternatives.

It's no secret that the majority of solution providers are on the Windows bandwagon, but as new technologies emerge, that very well might change.

That said, any solution provider worth his or her salt needs to understand what alternatives mean to their markets, either to sell and support those OSes or to combat them. While that may seem like a daunting task, solution providers can turn to both the commercial and open-source community to ease the process.

Important tools such as virtual server technology can reduce hardware costs for experimentation, while open-source OSes prove to keep software costs down. Solution providers can log on to KNOPPIX (www.knoppix.org) for a free, bootable CD image of a Debian Linux distribution and assorted open-source applications.

Regardless of the platform a solution provider decides to support, now is the time to be aware of the plethora of choices flooding the market or risk being left behind.

Have you experimented with OS alternatives? Let me know via e-mail at fohlhorst@cmp.com.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.