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Re: IT and UNIX
In message <34612061.4EDDF8B8@vc3.com>, David Dunn is rumored to have said:
:Mark Hinds wrote:
:> Corporate wide the plan is to dump UNIX servers and get latched up with
:> NT servers. The necessity of doing this is unclear to me. The process
:> of changing ordinary people over from Win31/pcnfs to WinNT/SMB/Wins
:> has been very costly and disruptive. The drive seems to have come
:> from above.
:Here's some theories on why they may be doing it:
:1) It's tremendously easier to find NT administrators than UNIX
:administrators. If you can't find them you can train them to
:reasonable proficiency in about a week - contrast that with what
:it takes to get someone proficient at supporting a UNIX system.
Actually, in our experience with fighting to find system administrators of
any kind, there doesn't seem to be any bias in either direction.
:2) NT administrators cost a lot less than UNIX administrators.
This just isn't true. I quote from the 1997 SANS System Administraton and
Network Security Salary Survey:
"How does the number of Different types of UNIX and Windows/NT affect
salary? The number of different types of UNIX and Windows/NT systems
supported appears to have no meaningful effect on average salary."
:3) It takes more time to support a UNIX box than an NT box (my
:estimate is about 2x the amount of time and that's probably being
:generous to UNiX). Granted, the UNIX box can handle more load so,
:theoretically, you need less of them. But the reality of most
:of today's corporate compute environments is that systems become
:application centric with each system servicing one application
:(i.e. one database server for your accounting package, one for
:your human resource package, etc.) so whether your using UNIX
:or NT you end up with the same number of systems (just more excess
:bandwidth on the UNIX side).
This is a really broad generalization that I haven't found to be true.
First of all, I would guess that UNIX systems taking more than twice as
much time to administer is based a lot on the people who are doing the
administration and how organized they are. I administer a Unix box that
services over 2800 users doing email, reading mail and serving up web
pages. I spend about 3 hours a week working on this box doing software
updates, answering user questions, and troubleshooting problems. 3 hours
of work to support 2800 users. I can't imagine what the licensing fees
would be alone for that with an NT solution. I spent 4 hours alone
yesterday trying to track down a problem with an NT server that was being
crushed under what I would consider a very light cgi and web serving load.
I also do support for a large number of types of UNIX including Digital
Unix, Solaris and BSDI. We have a lot of web customers on the these
machines, some of which are running 200 web servers on them without any
problems. They might suffer from a few hours of downtime a year, usually
due to hardware problems. Microsoft was in our offices to try to soothe
our fears about stability and performance concerns a couple of weeks ago
and were absolutely shocked that we might even put 50 web servers on a
single piece of hardware. They were more interested in touting the
features of an yet unreleased product.
In our environment, NT is rearing its head because of, yes you guessed
it, business reasons. Not technical reasons. Appearence is everything
and Microsoft spent 2.6 billion dollars last year to make it appear that
NT was a faster, cheaper, better solution. I have yet to see that faster
cheaper or better solution. At least, not in the long run.
:4) The Win31/pcnfs to WinNT/SMB/Wins switch is probably also being
:made to cut support costs. We've seen as much as 2x decrease in the
:cost of client support in some customer environments with the move to
:Win95/WinNT from a Win31/nfs environment.
This is probably true. SMB networking is a lot easier to administer than
NFS. SMB is a lot cleaner and isn't based on a host based trust model.
I'm not aware of the support cost differences though so I won't comment.
However, I would like to bring up the added hardware costs associated with
upgrading to Win95/NT from a 3.1 machine.
:The bottom line is costs. If there is no compelling reason to
:stick with UNIX for a given application or service, then it's
:cheaper to switch to NT.
Not in every case it isn't. Especially when you're talking about long
term costs. NT has serious stability problems and supporting those in a
reasonably sized organization can add up quickly. Also, there are the
hardware upgrade costs, retraining costs and software costs.
:Of course, there is absolutely no technical reason why a strain
:of UNIX cannot be developed that would be just as easy to use
:and support as NT. But UNIX system vendors and system developers (a
Check out RedHat Linux 4.2. Of all the systems that I've administered
it's by far the easiest. It makes zero-administraton a reality.
Of couse, none of this really belongs on this list. :)
AppliedTheory Communications, Inc.