Recently we quoted one of our larger customers to upgrade 25 of their workstations to Windows Vista and Office 2007.
After wading through the confusing Microsoft licencing options such as “Software Assurance” and “Volume Licencing” among other details we finally arrived at a quoteable price for the client. I was astounded, to say the least.
The price worked out to roughly R10 000 per desktop, or about $1100 depending on the exchange rate.
If the customer had decided on an FOSS solution for his workstations then we would have been happy to supply one for that kind of price!
Bear in mind that on top of the licencing cost that the client shelved out, he still has to pay labour for a group of techs from our company to physically reformat and re-install his pc’s. Then he has to pay for training of the staff to use Vista and Office 2007. And also there would be costs incurred in upgrading those machines incapable of running Vista satisfactorily.
All these considerations do not include paying for new versions of software that would not work with Vista, replacing printers who lack Vista drivers, and possibly any in-house software that has been developed and might not work with Vista. These are only probable expensis, and not as definite as the others I previously mentioned.
If I thumb suck a support/training package of R50 000 ($5500) excluding any upgrades to hardware we get a round figure of about R300 000 ($33 000) to migrate his office to essentially a whole new operating system and infrastructure.
For that kind of money we could have offered any or all of the following in various packages had he chosen a FOSS centric solution.
- An on-site technician that is there full-time to assist staff during the migration period.
- Up to date software, free of licensing costs.
- A developer to migrate their in-house software to a compatible format if need be.
- A dedicated technician on call during his business hours (this client does not work after hours)
Even given all that I believe there would have been a large saving on the side of the client with regards to IT costs – no pc upgrades for many years (linux is extremely kind to older hardware), regular updates to the latest versions (I would have gone for an Ubuntu solution), less security worries, and better control over what is happening on the infrastructure.
Now I readily concede that I am oversimplifying heavily, but I still fail to see how it can be cheaper to run Windows in a company compared to Linux if only the Microsoft licensing fees already work out more than a complete support structure for a FOSS centric solution.