Q&A: Mercer Management Consulting on Driving Lower TCO and Rapid ROI Through UNIX Migrations

Posted by bink on September 25 2006, 9:56 PM. Posted in Unix.

A new study finds Microsoft Windows the preferred choice for UNIX migration when IT organizations migrate servers as part of a focused effort to improve business processes, deploy critical applications or restructure their IT architecture.

In order to remain competitive, companies are increasingly weighing the cost advantages of migrating their existing UNIX server infrastructure to Microsoft Windows Server.

According to research firm IDC, Windows has captured 45 percent of UNIX migrations, making it the leading platform for UNIX migration overall (“Understanding UNIX Migration: A Demand-Side View,” January 2006, IDC). This was a factor contributing to the recent announcement from IDC that in 2005 worldwide revenues for Windows servers surpassed UNIX server revenues for the first time ever (IDC Press Release, “Worldwide Server Market Slows in 4th Quarter but Grows to $51.3 Billion in 2005, Highest Revenue in 5 Years, According to IDC,” February 22, 2006).

Now a new study by Mercer Management Consulting sheds light on what is driving this trend. Titled “Driving Lower TCO and Rapid ROI through UNIX Migrations,” the Microsoft-sponsored study finds that IT organizations are choosing Windows over Linux and other flavors of UNIX when migrating from UNIX servers as part of an effort to improve key business processes.

For more insight into the study and its findings, PressPass spoke with 12-year Mercer veteran John Wenstrup, a high-tech strategy consultant to the computing, storage, networking and IT services industries.

PressPass: Could you please provide some background on UNIX migration. What have been the industry trends in that space?

John Wenstrup, Mercer Management Consulting
John Wenstrup, Mercer Management Consulting

Wenstrup: In the mid-1990s, UNIX grew to become the dominant server operating system for business computing. It led in both market share and server revenue. The UNIX market still has a huge footprint today with more than 3.5 million servers installed and in use by customers worldwide. However, other platforms have been chipping away at that number pretty consistently. In fact, most estimates concur that as many as 40 percent of those UNIX installations will be moved to new platforms over the next two or three years. IT executives and industry pundits tend to converge on four main drivers of this transition:


Cost vs. Performance . Competing platforms have made remarkable strides in performance against UNIX, such that many believe platforms such as Windows Server have essentially caught up with UNIX performance. Given the fact that UNIX is still much more expensive than competing platforms to purchase and manage over time, UNIX appears to offer a poor trade-off of cost versus performance for most application implementations in the marketplace today.


UNIX End of Life/End of Support. Many UNIX vendors are ending support for older, legacy UNIX platforms, which has spurred organizations to consider a wider range of options in the marketplace. As one executive commented, “since the vendor essentially forced me to re-platform anyway, I took the opportunity to look broadly and chose Windows instead.”


Intel-Based Server Success . UNIX vendors who have been pushing RISC-based UNIX servers for a long time have begun to support Intel platforms, particularly given the promise of robust 64-bit computing. As a result, IT executives have become even more convinced of the potential of competing platforms on Intel architecture.


Improved Tools to Ease Migration Process . Conventional wisdom used to say that migrating away from UNIX would be time-consuming, complex, and costly. In fact, most companies report that migrations have gone far more smoothly over the past three years than in the past, due to better migration tools and processes. The result has been faster and cheaper migrations.

For these reasons, UNIX migration continues unabated and looks like it may even be accelerating in some areas. Continue At Source