Windows Makes Strides Versus the Penguin in Government Accounts
Published: October 30, 2007
by Alex Woodie
In the ongoing public relations tug-of-war between Windows and Linux, governmental agencies, for some reason, tend to play a major role in gauging which side is winning. When an agency dumps one OS and adopts the other, it's seen as a strong indicator that the OS has gained support, and that the other has lost ground. Last week, Microsoft touted the Windows wins it has made in the IT departments of the state of Illinois and the city of Indianapolis.
The story of the Indianapolis' IT department sounds very much like what's happening at many businesses around the world. The city was running a mix of server platforms--everything from Sun Solaris and Red Hat Linux to Novell NetWare-- and it needed to boost the efficiency of its IT assets while lowering the cost. At the same time, it couldn't interrupt IT services for its 5,700 employees spread out across 60 city departments. and nearly 2,000 other contractors and community partners.
"It was a deployment and support nightmare made worse by the inevitable aging of the technology over time," says Shital Patel, chief information officer, in a PressPass Q&A on Microsoft's Web site. "We looked at all of our choices for standardizing on one set of technologies. In the end, the city chose to implement Microsoft technologies because of the power and interoperability of the Microsoft .NET Framework, the opportunity to streamline management, and the likelihood for a lower total cost of ownership."
A similar ordeal was experienced in the Illinois' office, according to Doug Kasamis, its deputy director of IT, who shared his story with Microsoft. According to Kasamis, the office was running various flavors of Linux and Windows operating systems, where a mix of IBM Lotus Notes, Novell GroupWise, and Exchange Server e-mail infrastructures kept things in a continuous state of disarray. In many instances, state employees had to resort to guessing e-mail addresses if they wanted to communicate. Not surprisingly, productivity suffered.
In the end, the department elected to go with the Windows messaging stack, including Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003, and Active Directory, which offered the best scale, security and stability Kasamis says. Linux was avoided "because we considered the risk in implementation and operations too great for the state's needs," he says. Overall, the state has saved $10.5 million over five years in software costs, he claims.
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