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Old 04-28-2006, 06:26 AM   #1
rolandw
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Help me win my $100K Linux v Windows server bet


I am CIO of an enterprise with 750 users spread over Europe and North America (approximately 40 locations, ranging from 200 staff down to 3). In 2001 I had a bet with my system admins that we wouldn't implement the next version of Windows on either the dekstop or server (we were then rolling out Windows 2000). Since then we have installed a number of Linux servers (around 8 of them in total) and produce all our enterprise data off Linux. However it looks like I am about to loose our bet.

I have two problems: replacing the Windows 2000 servers running on an NT Domain with File and Print; and replacing Exchange 5.5. We need to loose the NT domain and we need to loose Exchange 5.5.

I nearly won the replace Exchange battle last autumn but we backed away at the last minute (long story, IBM involved).

My sys admins are both MCSE's and RH Linux Sys Admins. But they argue that we should implement AD2003 rather than anything else. They also want to implement Exchange 2003 "because it is so easy with AD2003 and no-one needs to learn another tool".

Their arguments centre around ease of management (with AD2003 they can manage both server and exchange accounts from one place) and control (with policies for the vast majority of users who are running Windows 2000 on their desktops and laptops.

Now I would want to argue that we should implement SAMBA file sharing, LDAP authentication and some alternate collaboration software and that we would be able to do all that we could with a significant investment in Microsoft ($100K's worth) without the bill and with a whole pile more speed and flexibility.

Others out there must have similar situations: Windows on the dekstop, Linux on servers; an alternate to AD complete with single source account management and machine/user policy management. I'm not really looking for recommendations for alternate collaboration software systems as I'm well aware that we could use Gordano or Zimbra or whatever. I really need to win on the domain and policy management issue.

My guys are getting quotes from Microsoft so I need good arguments and quick.

Can you help me win my bet?
 
Old 04-28-2006, 08:01 AM   #2
dbogdan
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Why not have a look at Novell's offerings. You can run eDirectory on your Redhat servers (or suse or AIX or solaris or win)for authentication and user mgmt,print/file etc.. use LDAP enabled groupwise for mail. Zen for workstation management/inventory/Dynamic Local User...plus a whole lot more. Can you say true single signon?

The management tools are mature and work well but if your technical staff is has already sold themselves on MAD then you have a tough battle. Contact Novell and have them give you a dog and pony show, it may just be exactly what you need to elate your staff.

The company I work for uses Novell products extensively, 30k users, about 400 servers (Netware/Linux) 90 sites worldwide. Personally, I can't even imagine maintaining this environment using MAD with the limited staffing we have. (although we DO sync an AD domain to eDir via IDM)

Then there's the whole security (or lack of) and patch management argument...

Good luck
 
Old 04-30-2006, 02:06 AM   #3
williamwbishop
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Second that Novell network. It's fast, stable, mature....and not microsoft. Plus, it's now linux based!
 
Old 05-04-2006, 01:20 PM   #4
rodeoclown
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Ok wait, you have sysadmins that are both MSCE and RHCE? And they want to implement AD over anything used in Linux? Here's how you solve that problem, fire them and hire real admins. I'm not joking either. They aren't real sysadmins if they know both and just don't want to implement something so they don't have to change tools or learn new tools. I know being a sysadmin, it's good to be lazy but that's just too lazy.
 
Old 05-06-2006, 06:15 PM   #5
msound
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I was ready to roll out a samba based domain, then we hired a windows admin and purchased a win2003 server. So instead of the samba PDC we have a win 2003 PDC. Aside from crashing or requiring profiles to rejoin the domain every couple of weeks, the win2003 domain controller doesn't offer anyhting useful over my proposed samba domain controller. All we really needed some centralized authentication and logon/logoff scripts to backup our users' data with our server. I understand that using a windows domain controller offers other policy/security features that the samba PDC can't offer, but my firewall/proxy server gives our lan all the security it needs. IMHO, the win2003 PDC was a complete waste of time and money. Samba could of offered all of the domain features that we really needed.

As for the Exchange replacement... I'm very satisfied with my Postfix/Squirellmail/ Spam Assassin e-mail solution. Postfix has awesome built in spam fighting features: body checks and header checks, just to name a few. In conjunction with spam assassin our server eliminates about 95% percent of our company's spam quite easily. And our users (who are complete computer n00bs) seem to really like squirellmail (which is re-branded as our company's webmail). The built in, and add-on (plug-in), functionality is great.

I honestly don't see why companies spend thousands of dollars on products like active directory, and ms ISA. Linux is the way to go.
 
Old 05-31-2006, 03:57 AM   #6
trey85stang
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolandw@mac.com
I am CIO of an enterprise with 750 users spread over Europe and North America (approximately 40 locations, ranging from 200 staff down to 3). In 2001 I had a bet with my system admins that we wouldn't implement the next version of Windows on either the dekstop or server (we were then rolling out Windows 2000). Since then we have installed a number of Linux servers (around 8 of them in total) and produce all our enterprise data off Linux. However it looks like I am about to loose our bet.

I have two problems: replacing the Windows 2000 servers running on an NT Domain with File and Print; and replacing Exchange 5.5. We need to loose the NT domain and we need to loose Exchange 5.5.

I nearly won the replace Exchange battle last autumn but we backed away at the last minute (long story, IBM involved).

My sys admins are both MCSE's and RH Linux Sys Admins. But they argue that we should implement AD2003 rather than anything else. They also want to implement Exchange 2003 "because it is so easy with AD2003 and no-one needs to learn another tool".

Their arguments centre around ease of management (with AD2003 they can manage both server and exchange accounts from one place) and control (with policies for the vast majority of users who are running Windows 2000 on their desktops and laptops.

Now I would want to argue that we should implement SAMBA file sharing, LDAP authentication and some alternate collaboration software and that we would be able to do all that we could with a significant investment in Microsoft ($100K's worth) without the bill and with a whole pile more speed and flexibility.

Others out there must have similar situations: Windows on the dekstop, Linux on servers; an alternate to AD complete with single source account management and machine/user policy management. I'm not really looking for recommendations for alternate collaboration software systems as I'm well aware that we could use Gordano or Zimbra or whatever. I really need to win on the domain and policy management issue.

My guys are getting quotes from Microsoft so I need good arguments and quick.

Can you help me win my bet?
You're the CIO, tell them do things the way you want. You are paying their paycheck.
 
Old 06-01-2006, 07:42 AM   #7
haochela
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Registered: Jan 2006
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First the anectode: In my own experience by far the most system events generated for system issues affecting hundreds of users have been for problems with e-mail services failing to function properly. Of the environments where these events occurred, the shops hosting Exchange servers have always had far more problems with uptime than other mail servers. The biggest problems were disk space issues and spam but viruses on exchange servers are always a problem for which no ubiquitous solution seems to exist.

Ease of management sounds like short hand for convenience and that seems like a weak argument because it presupposes that your business will not grow and that your IT department will continue to manage everything as one business unit. My own experience is that as a business grows, the IT department that supports it starts to spin off into separate units. When this happens the ease of management that was so important earlier becomes a moot point after Exchange and AD administration have been split into different areas of support.

You should take these two points together as one and back them up with the current costs of support for your organization combined with the costs to your user base when they can't get to stuff. To sum up, any benefits that your system administrators experience from being able to administer Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange from the same tools are obviated both by the costs of supporting a messaging infrastructure that fails to deliver on a consistent basis and by the costs of that inconsistency to your internal customer base. Moreover that utility is illusory in that it presupposes that you will continue to do business in the same fashion for the foreseeable future. If you want to appear objective, do a cross-comparison of the same numbers for a samba/sendmail/postfix solution making sure to subtract out the costs of downtime from those numbers as well as the costs of training for those of your system administrators who are not versed in linux/unix tools. My guess is that even with these numbers properly accounted for, your total cost will be far more favorable without Exchange/AD than with it.
 
  


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