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Old 09-13-2002, 08:16 AM   #1
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Arrow Linux for small and medium sized companies

Microsoft tries to get a big grip on the market. I know that some companies are pointing their focus into the direction of Linux and free/low cost solutions.

The biggest problem for companies like mine is the knowledge that is needed for running a secure, safe and reliable server.

The company for which I work (a small logistics company) has a Novell based network with primarilly win98 and win95 computers (yes we are finally upgrading). Money must be invested in the right maner in a company like this, so linux is used to decrease the it costs a little.

We are using linux for Webservices and our company database (which quiet is big). We are also planning to use openoffice as our primary office suite.

Maybe someone can provide me with his view on the following question :
Is linux an option for a medium sized companies.

My personal opinion is yes the problem is ho to organize it

<For Dutch readers>
I would like to come into contact with people who are in the same position.
To maybe share some knowledge.
</For Dutch readers>
Old 09-13-2002, 11:26 AM   #2
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Well I would say yes also for the server work at least. But for the end users it might be a bit less comfortable and like everything new it would need a bit of time to get them started with it ...

Regarding the help, there are quite a lot of howto's, man pages, tutorials, etc to almost every aspect
Old 09-13-2002, 01:42 PM   #3
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Basic management (ok, shortcuts) learns us:
- assess requirements/budget/goals
- make proposal/pilot/planning
- (produce) roll out

Before you touch these subjects there is one important thing that has often been forgotten: support. Gather support. From anyone interested to listen. Management will *need* to show it's support in words, writing and action. Ppl on the workfloor don't need to be attacked with another-something-new-look-what-mgmnt/IT-brought-in. Listen to their needs. Show interest. Show what Linux would make their task easier to fulfill/faster/better etc etc. in other words: Linux Advocacy to the max.

Wot requirements?
IMNSHO I wouldn't give the marketing guys a Linux box. Nor the presidents secretary. Meaning? For everyone who has his/her head elsewhere (job wise, that is) and has to fulfill tasks in an instant w/o hesitation using tools they're used to for yrs will have a hard time adjusting. (For marketing there are other rules, involving upgrading of brain, downgrading of mouth and a severe lashing with the phone and gas expenses ledger to make 'em see "sense" doesn't mean "I'll sell 'em sense" but more like in "I need common sense").
OTOH, the peeps in the cellar marked "webfarm" would prolly have less probs with it due to technical prowess and background, even familiarity with it. In fact, anyone who is interested and willing to try should be a tester.
So what you could do is setup a pilot project. Let's have some volunteers test the waters. Troubleshooting/noting down what they haven't got a solution for will get you part of your user requirements.

Evaluate your budget and goals.
Why would you (be forced to) use Linux? If it's only presented as lower TCO aka budget slashing, forget it. For instance part of the money you save in licensing and 3rd party servicing will have to flow back into education ppl using Linux and education of admin staff. If it's presented as higher ROI, think again. It's not the investment you make in hardware and software, but what you *achieve* in comparison to another setup. In other words, does it make your business more responsive to changes in the market? Does it make your computing needs manageable, modular, flexible to cope with expansion of people, offices etc etc?
And does it affect the quality (control) of your product(s) easier to reach, better manageable?
So, what goals has the company set that Linux can excell in and so help you excell at your job?

After you evaluate, present and evaluate again, draw up a proposal, make a planning and you're good to go.

Just my ^[ ]\{2\}.* amounts of jargon editing

*Of course basic mgmnt learns us it won't go down easy this way in Real Life, but the basic circle is right: assess, evaluate, plan, produce, etc

Last edited by unSpawn; 09-13-2002 at 01:45 PM.
Old 09-13-2002, 04:32 PM   #4
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my view

Thanks unSpawn and markus1982 for your quick reply,

Its nice to see another view on the subject. I do agree in most issues.

One detail in my case is that the management brought in the idea on using linux (because it looks cheap).

I hear sounds of more and more companies which are so fed up with the licensing policies of microsoft that they do consider Linux as an serious alternative. It is cheaper for a small company to bring in a linux expert and take the risk of going down for themselves. Although that is what i have been told.

I think that there was a decision in the case of my company in which the management and the IT department dit not put the use of Linux against the requirements. There has been decided to use linux without actually testing it. I was brought in a half year after this decision had been taken. My biggest concern is that there is not someone in the entire IT department with linux knowledge (The only guy known with linux has retired). So at this moment i'm the only person with serious linux experience.

The webserver can at this moment not be seen as an critical system.
I proposed to split the database from the fileserver because of performance issues in novell. My first choice goes out to a linux based platform because of the stabillity of our database on an linux platform. This database is surely a critical system. I agree with you that building a pilot case could be a wise decision. Its also wise to no build it myself and let it be build by my collegues so i can instruct them in the use of linux.

Slowing things a bit down and bringing knowledge up to standard is to my opinion the best course of action now.


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