Cost of ownership OSX vs W2000 or NT

James Hendrickx

Couls anybody direct me to a comparison in cost of ownership between a NT or W2000 environment and Mac OS X server. I'm trying convince a coupla colleagues that mac os x server is a viable solution but i can't find any ammo. Thanx
You would have an easier time comparing Unix/Linux based servers in general with Windows NT/2000 servers. The primary long term cost that differs between the two is security and support. Windows (both desktop and server versions) has some pretty big security holes, and Microsoft usually waits for them to become a BIG issue before addressing any of them (and then they sometime don't even if they become a BIG issue, like the VBS problem, how much bigger can that get?). Also, Windows requires more human support than any other operating system. The last market share report I saw had them at 71%, but Windows-based IT is closer to 95%, which means that about 5% of the IT comunity is taking care of 29% of the computers. If taking care of Windows was as easy as other operating systems, then the numbers for IT professionals should mirror those of the market share, but they don't.

That, along with the down time that Windows servers have compared to the up times that other operating systems are able to get should be more than enough to convence anyone who has an open mind not to use Windows in any mission critial area.
Unfortunately, the issue is that our company is mainly Windows orientated, and even suggesting a different OS, even Unix, is regarded as sacriligious. OK, 1 out of 4 machines are DTP-Macs, and they are *only* used for the production of our core product, but the rest is all-PC, and NT servers to go (we're preparing an upgrade to W2000).
Because the Macs generate the most traffic (hi res images etc.) it would seem logical to use a Mac server. The typical reply i'll get on such a suggestion however is: COO of Mac is higher than NT. So i want ammo to wipe out that argument.
I doubt you'll find any official published reports on the subject, and people whose world revolves around Microsoft can't understand what "other OS" even means.

It's the old, "If it's so good, why isn't everyone else doing it?"

Remind you of Dilbert? It should.

People who administer Macs always report how much easier it is. I think in some recent news articles (that you can probably find on Apple's HotNews page) some schools and businesses were featured because the switched to Macs, and they reported how much money they saved doing it. That might be ammo for you.

There aren't any current TCO studies for MacOS X or 2000 ... neither has been in the marketplace long enough for any accurate data.

Generally speaking UNIX servers need less than half the amount of system admin time as NT server. The big win with UNIX though is that full remote administration is included out of the box, so you need less on site people. WTS is an additional cost for NT, but is included in a some form in Win2k.
The down time for UNIX boxes is usually MUCH lower as well ( ie hours per year versus days-weeks per year ).

On the desktop, you need about 1/4 the amount of desktop support people
for Macs versus NT. Generally speaking Mac hardware in a big deployment works out at about 1/3 cheaper over a 3 year life cycle than Wintel Hardware.
It works out better over a 5 year life cycle, which is usually viable on Macs if you buy the right hardware, but usually isn't viable on Wintel.

Your mileage will vary depending on what you are actually doing , and what your users do.

I would avoid Win2k for the server back end for Macintosh at the moment, there are some (major) bugs in their Networking and Thread Managment that make Win2k problematic for both file serving and authentication managment . They remain unfixed since the initial release of Win2k. There are other issues like ADS not playing good citizen with OpenLDAP etc, but that may or may not be an issue for you.

Having said that, MacOS X server is not much better right now, but at least
Apple has a strong incentive to fix their server issues. I'd wait until the 10.1 version of Server ships, and then evaluate it, or maybe do a pilot deployment with it late this year.
First, uroshnor's comment on waiting for 10.1 and then having a pilot project at work seems a smart move.

Next, there are important questions to be asking yourself, including:
* What file formats are in common use?
* Do you use windows messaging or standard POP3/IMAP/SMTP protocols for your e-mail?
* What sort of work is done one each platform?
* Are the tools available for the platform?
* After a personal evaluation which feels like the least work?
* How well does the OS work in a multi-platform environment?

There are other questions that can be asked, but the point is that you need to draw up a chart of requirements and then find out how each OS fits the requirements. By running a pilot project you will be able to see for yourself which is better suited.
I work with both Win 2000 server and Mac OS X server this puts me in a good position to judge(MD loves Mac's). Though we only use Windows as a database host and some FTP action. Macs are used for the webservers and FTP servers that are more critical as they last longer with out human interference.

IIS is easy to use but as a previous post mentioned has far to many security holes the recent code red is a good example and I get a security warning from microsoft on a weekly basis. Not good for mission critical system as they usally need a restart of the server to work.

The Mac OS X server has some problems but they can be solved with a little looking around for the answer. So far the only time the server has gone down was because the FTP services were running slow. But the server was back again in the time it usally takes a windows machine to shut down