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IT Cost Optimization Through Open Source Software

iXsystems is a company based in California. They offer installation and support of GNU-Linux and FreeBSD servers for their clients. They use open source software for their operations and invite their clients to do the same. They released a cost analysis to move to a completely proprietary solution. Here are their conclusions.

Open Source Software

In the past, organizations who were looking for stable applications had to opt for proprietary software. Open source solutions were not yet used enough to inspire confidence among businesses and governments. Today, things are changing, some open source software have a utilization rate higher than the proprietary equivalents. Especially for Internet servers. The Apache web server is used by 55% of websites. 68% of emails are sent with Sendmail, Exim or Postfix. 79% of the Internet’s DNS service is provided by BIND. Beyond servers, some applications are also gaining in popularity. The web browser Firefox is now used by 46% of users of the site For many open source software, it is impossible to know the number of users. We know that OpenOffice is downloaded 1.2 million times a week.

Reliability and Performance

In recent years, some open source software projects have become mature due to the increasing the number of users. These new users can participate in software development by identifying errors and even helping to fix them. It’s a cycle: increased adoption leads to improving the quality of open source software and the increase in quality leads to increased adoption. The emerging markets for services and support for open source software allows a company to have confidence in the reliability of open source software for their operations.

The numbers

The company uses only open source software for their operations since 2002. To function, they must have: 65 workstations and 30 servers. The obvious costs to change to a proprietary solution is the cost of licenses for software acquisition.

Here are the estimates

  • 10 000$ for the workstations operating system;
  • 34 000$ for the office suite;
  • 140 000$ for graphic and development tools;
  • 1 823 000$ for the server operating system and software;
  • 69 000$ for enterprise management software (CRM, ERP);
  • 180 000$ for data archiving software.

The price for the acquisition of all open source software required is estimated at $ 500. This is a significant difference and considerable, especially for a new business.

In addition to the initial price of operating systems and software, the company must provide support and administration of these systems. The cost of support contracts for proprietary solutions is estimated at 350 000$ per year. The price for supporting the open source software they use is 50 000$ per year. Administration costs of proprietary software are higher as they require more specific expertise to each software, so more staff. They believe they would need five administrators ($ 400,000 per year) for proprietary software and they work with only one ($ 100,000 per year) for open source software.

Another thing to consider is the life cycle of software. The price to update all proprietary software is estimated at 1.3 million dollars every 5 years. With open source software the price is negligible, giving you the advantage to stay up to date with new versions all the time. The result is improved software, increasing security and reliability at reduced cost.

In conclusion, they add that the use of open source operating systems and software has greatly contributed to the financial success of the company. The cost to use proprietary software is too high and no longer justifiable in today’s IT market. Open source solutions now offer the same functionality as proprietary software. Selecting Quality Open Source Software

Appendix 1 is a list of factors to consider when choosing among the vast quantities of open source software available on the Internet.

  • The reputation of the software in the user community;
  • The software is actively developed and errors are corrected within a reasonable time;
  • The software is compatible with others used by the company and international standards;
  • Support is available on the Internet or with a local company;
  • New versions continue to be created and correct errors;
  • Documentation is available for administration, utilization and development of the software.
  • Do you have the necessary knowledge? Is this knowledge is available?
  • In which direction is the development of software?
  • Is the software license appropriate for what you want to do?

iXsystems (2010). IT Cost Optimization through Open Source Software : Reducing Information Technology Overhead for the Modern Enterprise

smellems Solutions

smellems Solutions wants to assist you with installing open source operating systems and software for your business. We analyze your environment to advise you on the best open source software for your needs. We are also your contact point for communities of users and developers of open source software.