British Petroleum, Google.com, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill
Lynch: all have one thing in common. They have implemented
Linux for running mission critical applications.
But Indian enterprises still use proprietary Unix flavors
or Windows NT/2000, for running their mission critical
stuff. There are only a handful of organizations that
use Linux in the mission critical space. Asian Paints
has implemented certain SAP modules on Linux; IDBI Bank
runs its core banking applications on Linux. Indian
enterprises have used Linux mainly for file/print, messaging,
and Web-based applications.
With significant cost savings and other benefits that
Linux brings to an organization, its high time IT managers
give Linux a second look.
In today's crunch economy, when IT spending is under
intense scrutiny, IT managers are interested in making
the most penny-wise investment. Being an open source
OS, Linux is virtually free.
Linux has evolved over the yearsyou now have commercial
distributions of Linux that are tuned to manage specific
enterprise-level applications. Also, one does not have
to pay for additional licenses.
On the vendor side, industry heavyweights like Intel,
HP, Dell, IBM, CA, SAP, and Oracle are backing Linux
by offering products and services based on this platform.
Another reason to select Linux is its ability to run
on multiple server platforms. An IT manager can scale
his enterprise application from a low-end Lintel server
(Intel-based server running Linux) to say a mid-range
or mainframe-class machine to handle the increased capacity.
Also, since the entire source code for Linux is available,
the IS team can tweak or modify the OS to manage or
perform a specific task better.
What about support?
Support has been one of the key concerns when it comes
to adopting Linux for enterprise-class applications.
You now have Red Hat and SuSE offering support for Linux
implementations in India. IBM, a big supporter of Linux,
is offering Linux-based servers in almost all segmentsright
from low-end Intel-based servers to high-end mainframes.
Should you migrate?
This brings us to the moot question: Should you migrate
your existing mission critical applications to Linux?
This depends on many factors.
One needs to understand that Linux, like any other technology,
isn't for everyone. To deploy Linux it is essential
to have proficient technical
personnel. Otherwise you might end up spending thousands
on a technology consultant, thereby nullifying the cost
benefits of this free OS.
has definitely moved from the idealistic realm of geeks
to the penny-pinching, number-crunching corporate world.
Now it's up to Indian enterprises to identify the perfect
fit and adopt Linux.
Sandeep Ajgaonkar, Associate Editor firstname.lastname@example.org