[Gllug] Linux migration in small businesses

James Roberts jr at stabilys.com
Mon Sep 1 14:59:47 UTC 2008

Garry Heaton wrote:
> How easy is it to get small businesses (eg. 5-30 users) to switch from 
> slow/failing Windows/SBS/Exchange servers to Linux SAMBA/Postfix 
> equivalents? Anyone had much success in generating this kind of business? 
> I'm referring just to the servers, ie. running Windows XP with Linux/SAMBA 
> either within a workgroup or a domain.

Taking them in order:

- varies between feasible and infeasible. When feasible usually easy.

(I'm sorry though to demur from the assumed problem with Exchange 
slowness etc. Yes that is often the case but usually because it is 
under-resourced. Yes it needs too many resources. Nonetheless it is 
still (very regrettably) the best option for many SMB/SME clients - and 
yes we have looked at many alternatives that suck almost as badly as 
Windows does)

- "Success" in the business side is more of an issue. Where it fits, you 
can expect a *reduction* in income from the client. This is because 
Linux configured properly does not often go wrong. We have seen a 50-80% 
reduction in routine maintenance costs (and billing).

Of course, one way to look at this is to develop more of a consultancy 
relation with the client so that instead of firefighting one is 
fostering benefits for their business and helping them to make more 
income, some of which they pay to you :)

- Yes, just the servers. Linux on the desktop is a longterm aim.

As to "where feasible", this depends on what vertical applications that 
only run on Windows are business-critical. Sometimes there are none and 
it is very feasible.

We have about 35% of our clients running Linux servers, 65% Windows. One 
had to move back from Linux to Windows SBS (application dependency), 
rest have been stable for years...


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