Could security costs tip the TCO balance?

Newham Council's findings that Microsoft offered a lower total cost of ownership than open source software surprised many. Here...

Newham Council's findings that Microsoft offered a lower total cost of ownership than open source software surprised many. Here readers have their say

Newham Council's decision last month to opt for Microsoft rather than open source technology surprised many in the IT community.

The council compared open source software with Microsoft technology in one of the longest total cost of ownership trials undertaken in the public sector.

The council employed open source consultancy Netproject, which suggested a hybrid Microsoft/open source IT strategy. Microsoft, meanwhile, paid for Cap Gemini to devise a Microsoft-based alternative.

Two weeks ago Richard Steel, head of IT at Newham Council defended his choice in Computer Weekly. Here we print some readers' comments.

Always evaluate Linux for large IT projects

I read with interest your coverage of Newham Council choosing Microsoft over Linux. Putting aside the ongoing debate about the benefits or otherwise of Linux, I would simply like to observe that the key lesson from Newham is to always perform an evaluation of Linux for any planned large-scale IT project.

If the study does not show the potential long-term benefit of improved security and flexibility, it can always be used to obtain previously unheard of discounts from the Microsoft sales team.

Whichever way you read these events, Linux clearly does help to significantly cut costs.

Peter Houppermans , PA Consulting Group

Was cost of security and support considered?

How is it that a conclusion could be reached that Microsoft's solution could have lower cost of ownership? I ask because with Microsoft's licensing model, and the share it takes of the cost of any subsequent new PCs being purchased, payment is surely made to the company on a virtually indefinite basis.

With Linux on the other hand, although it may be true that retraining and deployment costs are an issue, these costs are paid for on an initial one-off basis.

The other question I must ask is, was the lost time and support costs required in cleaning up after attacks/invasions by Windows-based worms and viruses considered as part of the TCO equation for Newham? Microsoft has acknowledged that security is a problem for its products.

Ron Johnson

Breaking Microsoft's grip would be worth it

I have to wonder about the statement from Ovum: "It is not true that Linux will always give significant total cost of ownership savings." (Computer Weekly, 31 August).

Why not? It depends on how you set up the review, and how much weight is given to the security problems that beset Microsoft software. Another factor that does not get the attention it deserves is the constant upgrading that Microsoft expects its customers to put up with, and the attendant new hardware required.

Even if a move to Linux had cost more than the Microsoft solution at this time, the breaking of Microsoft's grip on the council's data would have made it worth it in the long run.

Ken Maris

Where is the logic in signing a 10-year deal?

I completely failed to understand the logic of signing up with Microsoft for 10 years. No one can predict what will happen in three years in this industry. This is a complete waste of taxpayers' money. The council is paying lip service to open source, which is a far superior product, and not subject to the security concerns that Microsoft products present.

Paul Price

TCO studies leave out the effect of malware

I have never seen a TCO study that took into account malware. Malware (viruses/worms/ Trojans/spyware) eats up most of my IT time when Microsoft Windows is involved. My Mac and/or Linux shops do not have this problem, yet all the commissioned studies seem to leave out viruses.

Alex Chejlyk, SwiftNet Computer Systems

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