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Windows versus Red Hat: Pros and cons

My company is at a crossroads. We've used NT for years and, yes, we've had some downtime issues, but it's worked pretty well for us. With our NT contract running out, we've narrowed down our data center migration options to Windows 2003 Server or Red Hat. Other than the FUD factor -- heightened by the SCO suit -- Linux looks better from a price performance perspective. Who knows what MS will do next with license fees! Our company is running Oracle on NT in the data center. There's lots of hype on all sides. Could you provide an objective pros and cons list for each option: Windows versus Red Hat?

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Face it! Both can provide a usable solution. You should focus on making a business case. Look at long term total cost of ownership. Look at exposure to business operation. Find out who owns your data. If you own it, then make sure that no one else will, by default, own it later. In other words, if you adopt a proprietary file format you are effectively accepting the fact that access to your data will be under licensing controls that are imposed from outside of your business. If my logic escapes you, then find a better argument that explains the issues your information technology situation will need to face.

Above all, make all decisions on a purely business case basis. Leave the emotions and the religion out of the equation. Your stake-holders will appreciate you for it.

This was first published in October 2003

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