Windows to Linux Migration.

Essay by s.jeyapradhah November 2005

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For many companies, migrating from Windows to Linux makes sense. The reasons are compelling: greater stability and reliability, lower cost, access to application source code, greater security, and conformity with open standards, according to numerous independent studies and industry experts.

But for those charged with spearheading the actual migration, the project may seem difficult, unwieldy, or untenable. They may fear unanticipated technological roadblocks as well as employees reticent to give up the tools they are used to using.

Before launching into a migration, make sure your reasons for migrating are business-driven. "You'll fail if you start a migration from the ideological side instead," notes Stefan Werden, leader of the Linux architecture team for Novell SUSE for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

To make that decision, conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis, projected out several years, based on what it would take to migrate and what it would cost not to migrate--not only financial costs, but other costs, such as the amount of overall control you want over your organization's software requirements.

With a Windows-to-Linux migration, "nobody can force you to upgrade or deny you a security fix. You always call the shots, so you are guaranteed to save money and retain more control in the long run," says Nicholas Petreley, a Linux analyst at IT market intelligence firm Evans Data Corp. of Santa Cruz, Calif.

Of course, reducing costs can be another driving factor in the decision-making process. According to Forrester Research, 68% of companies in North America consider lowering overall operating costs a top priority, and Linux is one means to that end.

To achieve success in a Windows to Linux desktop migration, experts advise planning, planning, and more planning. Before starting, take these steps:

Get executive buy-in. This step is crucial. Without executive support, your project...