Archive for August, 2007

Let There be Light and Freedom

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

I was interested to make some points which I mentioned below at work-place, and I was not satisfied with the way it went

and I named : Let There be Light and Freedom

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
-M K Gandhi

I am not here for any Anti-Microsoft-ism or a flame war, but the happenings and the hot keywords buzzing around, Linux, Open Source, Virtualization and Total Cost of Ownership [TCO].

    Linux: The Choice of Freedom

Today Linux is being used everywhere. Linux has proved it’s suitability for every workload–even the largest, most business-mission critical applications. Its security, performance and economic benefits can be applied to every level in the IT infrastructure. On the other hand Open source is powerful and it’s un-stoppable. The major Linux vendors like Red Hat and Novell/SUSE Linux are built on the open standards.

Of course, Linux dominates. The quality of Open Source software is well established. The Figure 1 shows the ranking of most available servers on the Internet.

    OpenSource Rules: Open Source is powerful. Open Source is unstoppable

According to “Wiki” the online encyclopedia, Open source is a set of principles and practices that promote access to the design and production of goods and knowledge. The term is most commonly applied to the source code of software that is available to the general public with relaxed or non-existent intellectual property restrictions. This allows users to create software content through incremental individual effort or through collaboration.

Another important point to note that Open Source software differs significantly from “freeware”. Freeware is software distributed without a fee, but without source code access but Open Source software allows anyone to inspect, identifies, and resolve flaws in the code.

The Open Source model doesn’t hide its code like Microsoft which claims that secret code is more secure. Although that seems reasonable at first glance, in reality it is patently false. When I heard this statement for the first time, I took a little while for a conclusion. Hundreds of thousands of Open Source developers, testers, bug-fixers and maintainers work as a community around the globe to make sure the flexibility, innovation, reliability, faster development of the project they working on. Sourceforge.net, a leading website for Open Source software, hosts over 130,000 projects and has 1.4 million registered users. This power exceeds that of even the mightiest proprietary software company. What would be your conclusion, by seeing the Figure 2 – Open Source movement.

    Virtualization: Many to One

Virtualization is a technology with wide range of options to improve the usage of the hardware resources and greater potentials to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership [TCO]. All most all Linux distribution now bundled with virtualization capabilities and Microsoft may have it’s built in server virtualization technology with the upcoming Windows Server-2008. Now in the market with their Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2

Why do we require virtualization technique and how does it reduce the cost.
Think about a business model which requires to develop and test its business applications on different platforms, which in turn required different hardware, its administration, space requirement at datacenter or inside a server rack. How do you feel if all these platform and test environment in one hardware with same performance? I think this simplifies and accelerate the productivity with low power usage. That is what virtualization does.

The most common virtualization technologies are:
0. Operating System Virtualization
1. Server Virtualization
2. Desktop Virtualization
3. Application Virtualization
4. Storage Virtualization

The major players of virtual machines are XEN, KVM and VMware with their own pros and cons.

Redhat and SUSE Linux run their Para-virtualization technology on Xen, an open source virtual machine system.

    TCO: Total Cost of Ownership

The decision makers and the IT managers of an organization consider the fact and myth about TCO, when they venture into any kind of technology deployment. This is critical and important because it’s a long term deal with the technology. Hope you might have seen the Microsoft Ad campaign/survey over the internet named “Get the Fact” Microsoft Vs Linux over TCO.

If you have already seen or ever get a chance to read about Get the Fact whitepapers in future, would you consider the following “facts”

The study NOT talk about Client Access License [CAL], the key section of a product’s licensing cost. Linux doesn’t charge you a license fee for every user accessing the server like Microsoft does.

Redhat Linux says, their subscriptions are not tied to a machine. When the hardware requirements change, Redhat subscription can be transferred to a replacement or a new machine for no additional cost. For one annual subscription, the customer gets access to the technology, documentation, updates, upgrades and un-limited technical support.

According to Novell’s Suse Linux, the figures are based on a subscription fee of $50 for Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop [SLED], compared to $299 for a Windows Vista license, as well as additional maintenance fees of $86 for Vista Business. SLED costs $50 for one year and $125 for three years, compared to Vista’s $385 for one year and $557 for three years. Add in the fact that Novell’s SLED contains a version of the OpenOffice.org, an OpenSource office productivity suite while Microsoft Office costs an additional $400 to $500.

When the Robert Frances Group study, titled “TCO For Application Servers: Comparing Linux With Windows And Solaris” and commissioned by IBM, compared the cost of acquiring, implementing, and running an application server on Linux, Windows, and Sun Solaris, it found that Linux is 40% less expensive than a comparable x86-based Windows server and 54% less than a comparable Sparc-based Solaris server. The Linux server’s costs were $40,149, compared with $67,559 for Windows and $86,478 for Solaris.
Never follow the summary or wacky ads of a survey. Make sure you have got the information that how the authors collected and analyze the data on what basis. Does that really mean to your organization and technology. And finally who sponsored the survey, was it biased.

Conclusion:

Where do we see the world of OpenSource and Linux stand by today? If you still feel the darkness around you, all I have to say: Let there be light and freedom.

Reference:

0. Official Redhat linux website http://www.redhat.com/rhel/resource_center/
1. Novell Suse linux website http://www.novell.com/linux
2. Frances Group study, titled “TCO For Application Servers: Comparing Linux With Windows And Solaris” and commissioned by IBM.
3. Online encyclopedia, Wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Free_software
4. Succeeding with Open Source by Bernard Golden
5. The Practical Manager’s Guide to Open Source by Maria Winslow