Windows Thrashes SUSE Linux in Study

Linux bashing is nothing new for Microsoft, which has set up a dedicated Web site to detail why customers should choose Windows Server over the open source operating system. This week at the IT Forum, Microsoft announced the results of a new study that shows Windows as more reliable and easier to manage than Linux.

The report by Security Innovation was funded by Microsoft and examined the long-term usage of both Windows and Linux environments. Windows Server 2003 and 2003 were pitted against Novell SUSE Enterprise versions 8 and 9 in an e-commerce environment for the duration of one year.

"As they attempt to increase business capabilities over time, customers are telling us that they are hitting a wall with Linux, experiencing significant reliability issues resulting in higher total cost of ownership," said Microsoft's Platform Strategy general manager Martin Taylor.

"This study shows that IT administrators were better able to maintain the system while delivering new capabilities predictably and consistently on the Windows platform." Martin invited Linux vendors such as Novell, Red Hat and IBM to submit their own independent analysis based on Security Innovation's methodology.

Specifically, Linux administrators took 68 percent longer to implement new business requirements than their Windows counterparts, and the "Novell SLES solution experienced 14 critical breakages while the Windows Server solution experienced none," Microsoft said.

According to Microsoft, Novell's solution also required 4.79 times the number of patches, and only one of three Linux administrators met all of the requirements.

"Kernel uptime is commonly cited as a metric of overall platform reliability. However, the reliability of a single component, even one so central as the operating system kernel, is rarely the largest source of pain," explained Herbert Thompson, chief security strategist at Security Innovation.

While the study will undoubtedly have its detractors, Microsoft and Security Innovation are asking Linux vendors to ante up. "Security Innovation designed this study to be repeatable, and we believe that the results are consistent with what customers are experiencing in the real world," said Thompson.

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