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CIOs Bring Linux into the Enterprise

Posted by iMark - 2005-11-10

Today, CIOs are more comfortable with creating heterogeneous environments that include open source and Linux, according to several high-level speakers at a recent conference.
At a panel discussion held at the Open Source Business Conference, CIOs talked about their use of Linux and discussed areas that could be improved in the future.

Executives from companies like Priceline.com, CitiStreet, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. spoke about how they had brought Linux deeper into their enterprises, but did not use open source for mission-critical applications yet.

In the Enterprise

A notable example from the panel was Don Haile, a venture partner at Fidelity Ventures and former CIO of Fidelity Investments.

When his company began to integrate Linux into its I.T. mix, the primary driver was cost, Haile noted. But, since then, Fidelity Ventures has appreciated Linux's performance enough to migrate its Solaris applications to the system.

Haile admitted that, although Linux is well represented at Fidelity, he is not prepared to migrate his Oracle and IBM DB2 databases to Linux or other open-source software.

This type of hesitation was common in the panel discussion, illustrating how far Linux and open source have come in terms of corporate adoption, but also highlighting how far it has yet to go before it is completely trusted.

Realistic Expectations

In the past, there were several discussions about the cost of Linux, and how it significantly trumped proprietary software, especially those applications that came with steep licensing fees.

As many companies have found, total cost of ownership involves more than licensing, and the result has been the erasure of some misperceptions about Linux's effect on an I.T. budget.

"In many implementations, reality came after Linux was put in place," said Gartner analyst Andrea Di Maio. "But now we're seeing more focus on TCO, and companies are more aware of the way that Linux impacts their operations, not just their budgets."

As companies develop a more mature perspective on Linux, it is likely that more CIOs will follow the lead of those at the conference and integrate Linux or other open-source options into their environments, Di Maio noted.

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