Organizations focus on owning an effective computer network capable of solving all business problems effectively. In order to achieve this, companies use operating systems in their computers. By definition, an operating system is a software program that facilitates communication and operation between computer hardware and computer software. The selection of a particular operating system depends on the nature of work done in a company and the benefits it has over others. There are different operating systems used by companies, institutions and individuals today, with each system having its own benefits and shortcomings. The most commonly used operating systems are the Windows, Mac, Disk OS and Linux (Singh, 2008, p. 55). The following discussion aims at investigating the use of Linux operating system in terms of its feasibility in both server and workstation environments. The paper will compare and contrast Linux server and Linux workstation products between distinct Linux vendors. In addition, the paper will address issues associated with implementing Linux operating system in terms of cost, staff training, performance, reliability and availability.
The Linux operating system
Introduction to Linux
Linux is an operating system used in computers to enable applications and computer users’ access devices on the computer to do the desired operations. Linux is similar to other operating systems such as Windows, but it has some distinct characteristics. Linux was invented in 1991 and has continued to grow in the computer industry by powering powerful computer systems and mobile phones. Linux is an open operating system meaning no one company can claim to have developed it privately. Companies that manufacture Linux OS always share costs associated with research and development with their partners. Whereas Windows and Mac operating systems are commonly found in personal computing systems like desktops and laptops, Linux works well in commercial computers such as those used in companies. The OS is also applicable to other devices such as mobile phones and laptops. The company would have made the best decision choosing Linux as their operating system (Singh, 2008).
Linux OS has various servers and workstations that assist in all its operations. Distinct Linux vendors produce servers and workstations that have various differences and similarities. A Linux server is assists in handling various demanding needs of various business applications like the system administration, network administration, database management and web services. Linux serves are recommended because they are more stable, secure and flexible. The leading Linux serves today are Ubuntu, Red Hat, SUSE, Mandriva, Slack ware and Vyatta. On the other hand, a Linux workstation enables a computer store huge amounts of memory, processing power, and top-notch graphics capabilities for storage purposes (Workstations, 1998). Table 1 below shows three common Linux workstations with the roles and special features of each.
The three main Linux vendors that will be discussed are Eight Virtues, Emperor Linux and ZaReason.
Comparison of Linux server and Linux workstation products between vendors
The following three Linux vendors have some similarities as discussed below. Firstly, they all offer Linux server, Ubuntu to their customers. Eight Virtues is Georgia-based that offers customers a wide variety of choices like Ubuntu Linux and many others. This serve offer quality services to Linux users and has the ability to withstand most security threats introduced by computer viruses. In addition, Emperor Server offers a free Ubuntu trial for anyone who installs Linux Os in their computer systems as a way of gathering customer views (Torvalds, 1999).
Secondly, the three distinct Linux vendors form the world’s largest OS vendors and they offer support to their customers in a more efficient and convenient way. These vendors ensure their customers have full indemnification from other software vendors. This applies to all levels of support such as basic, network and premier. The amount of protection does not depend on the amount of cash a customer had produced to buy the operating system (Torvalds, 1999).
On the other hand, Eight Virtues, Emperor Linux and ZaReason have one thing in common when it comes to Linux workstation products. These companies provide customers with high level processors capable of storing huge amount of data and information in a more secure and reliable manner. Eight Virtues double boxes all its orders for maximum protection while the product is being shipped. Moreover, these vendors give free one year warranty to their customers as opposed to some vendors who only offer six months warranty. Once a customer purchases Linux server from any of these three vendors, the computer partition scheme and the operating system are customized so that one has the freedom to choose at no extra cost (Torvalds, 1999).
Finally, Eight Virtues, Emperor Linux and ZaReason offer similar Linux server systems in terms of database management and web services. They have almost similar computer interface and they work almost the same. A person using the Emperor Linux can easily use the zaReason system because they have similar operations. In additional, their workstation products are highly compatible which gives users an opportunity to interchange from one product to another without any problem. Moreover, they have validated configurations that are pre-tested and validated with software and hardware storage and other networking components. This enables Linux servers to offer guidance to customers in terms of what a computer should run as a full with either of the vendor’s product being on top of the operating system.
Contrasts of Linux server and Linux workstation products between vendors
The following three Linux vendors have distinct differences when it comes to Linux server and workstation products offered. Firstly, each of these vendors offers different prices for purchase and installation of the operating system. For instance, Eight Virtues prices are a bit lower than those of other Linux vendors although, the systems have similar operational characteristics. ZaReason also offers their products at different prices although; they differ depending on the quality of product and the effectiveness of the software. Emperor Linux offers the highest prices because it is the oldest vendor in the Linux computer business. In addition, for organizational computer installations, these vendors offer different discounts depending on the number of servers needed and the nature of work.
Secondly, these vendors offer different Linux servers and workstations. For instance, Eight Virtues offer Linux servers such as Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, and Linux Mint. On the other hand, Emperor Linux vendor offers servers such as Red Hat Enterprise, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED). Although, they also offer similar servers like open SUSE and Fedora but, they come with different features and characteristics that are distinct. ZaReason also offers a range of different Linux servers such as Ubuntu. Ubuntu is one of the best Linux servers that offer quality services especially to computers that are always on the internet.
Thirdly, these vendors differ in the type of workstation products they offer to their customers. Eight Virtues caters for customers who require less capable hardware. Their workstations are used in small business organizations and private users. These are businesses dealing with limited amount of data and information hence requires less storage space. On the other hand, Emperor Linux produces workstation products that are ideal for large organizations. They are capable of supplying an organization with enough computers and install the Linux operating system at an agreed cost. Computers produced by Emperor Linux as opposed to ZaReason and Eight Virtues vendors, have workstation products capable of supporting professional services such as office data sharing, information exchange and keeping private information. Emperor Linux offers a wide range of Linux installations in both personal and business computers with up to 64-bit operating system. In addition, they offer 32-bit for customers in need of this environment (Roebuck, 2012).
Finally, the three vendors differ on quality of Linux servers they offer to the market. This makes them have different demands from customers. Most companies prefer servers from Emperor Linux because it offers a wide range of products that are compatible to other operating systems. ZaReason produces servers that can only work with Linux operating system. Moreover, Eight Virtues provides customers with an opportunity to select any open operating system that can be installed together with the Linux OS at no additional cost. Emperor Linux incorporates its own scripting language and security stack while ZaReason uses languages incorporated by the server where the OS is installed. The security track enables users to optimize network constraints, and work independently on the network circuits, a phenomenon lacking on Eight Virtues Linux vendor users. Emperor Linux also has gateways for preventing other vendors from cracking the program codes while ZaReason and Eight Virtues has no gateways since they are applicable to smaller businesses and personal computers (Roebuck, 2012).
The specific issues of total cost of ownership, training, support, performance, reliability, and application availability
Planning and implementation are the key factors that determine the success of any proposed project. Installation of Linux operating system to all company computers would be the best plan that the management can adopt (Phillips & Ward, 2010). Currently, the organization is using Windows operating system that has shown a many inconveniences. In order to implement the above changes, the company should have knowledge of the total installation cost; cost of training staff; support; performance measures; reliability and application availability.
Cost of ownership
Many factors contribute the company’s adoption of any change in its operations. The increased use of the Linux operating system in many companies has increased the desire for others to demand services. Linux vendors do not usually use retailers to distribute their products. The cost of purchasing one Linux OS is less because one downloaded file can be used to make many duplicates that can be installed on multiple computers. The following factor has made many users adopt the Linux operating system because it is cheaper compared to Windows. Statistics show that by December 2008, Linux web browsers market share was at 2.12% while Microsoft Windows operating system had more than 90% of the market share. Linux market share kept increasing and in March 2009, there were around 29 million Linux users (Linux Counter, 2009).
On the other hand, Linux operating system is an Open Source Software that can be freely distributed, downloaded freely hence, its installation cost is very low. However, there are some versions that come with their own price lists but, they are cheaper than Windows. A single copy of Linux OS can cost between $30 and $100 depending on the version and the type of server. In addition, Linux support offers free threat detection software that eliminates all threats with the potential of harming a computer. Users are advised to post any type of threat detected in order for the support to come up with the necessary antivirus (Rehman & Paul, 2012).
Training and support
Linux operating system is more complicated and most computer users find difficulties operating it. The system contains many Graphic User Interface (GUI) applications, but most operations are conducted through a terminal that fixes any problem. In order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the proposed changes, the company requires setting aside classes where the staff can get more education on how to use Linux OS. These training programs will be associated with some extra cost, but this is justified because the company’s expenses will be minimized on issues of security and maintenance once Linux is installed. In November 2006, it was realized that most users could not operated computers installed with Linux OS because they were more familiar to Windows applications. Some of the features found in the Windows Os are very different from Linux OS, such as Microsoft office, Microsoft project and Photoshop. In support of this proposed change, company staff will be required to offer full coordination with the management (Rehman & Paul, 2012).
Performance, reliability, and application availability
In terms of performance, Linux offers the most efficient computer operating system. The system has dozens of different types of processors such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat, Android and many others. Windows operating system has limited number of processors that makes it unreliable when it comes to conducting heavy computer transactions. For business operations, Linux offers the best option with modern reliable data center performance. The system has more than enough processing power needed by any organization to meet most critical applications. In addition, the system is available in a variety of choices for businesses running critical applications. It has an increased infrastructure agility and offer provision of new resources when demanded in a virtual environment. With this provision, Linux users are in a position to respond to urgent business needs because it provides a basis for cloud-like service delivery.
The above discussion shows that if the company adopts the Linux operating system, all its operations will change and it will be in a position to deliver quality and effective services. Linux vendors offer a variety of Linux servers and Linux workstations that give users a variety of options to choose from depending on the amount of money one has, the size of the company, and the amount of data stored. Of all Linux servers, SUSE offers the best option due to its high performance, low cost and efficiency. In addition, looking at the three vendors discussed, Emperor Linux offers the best deals compared to others. The company management should consider renovating their operating systems for better future using Linux Operating System.
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