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1 Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA USA P F W H I T E P A P E R R e d H a t E n t e r p r i s e L i n u x i n U s e : S e r v i c e s C o m p a n y H e l p s A i r l i n e s T a k e O f f U s i n g L i n u x Sponsored by: Red Hat Al Gillen November 2012 I D C O P I N I O N Linux has moved a long distance from that of a fringe technology in the 1990s to a mainstream position today as one of two operating systems expected to be fundamental building blocks for the next generation of computing on x86 servers. Additionally: IDC research commonly finds that a more consistent and standardized environment returns operational efficiency and better uptime. Conversely, an environment that has considerable variability in its deployed systems is inherently more expensive to maintain because of the "one-off" nature of the configuration of individual machines. Operating system standardization includes having a limited number of brands and using a limited number of variations of configurations for each brand across the datacenter. Standardization also mandates using a common support infrastructure including a consistent commercial support provider. The case study presented in this IDC White Paper typifies an organization that has made a broad commitment to Linux and has adopted best practices to optimize that environment. Because the company is an IT service provider to both its parent company and external customers, availability and customer service are paramount to the company's success. This customer is on an aggressive program to standardize its Linux environment into a virtualized deployment using modern tools and procedures. The customer is realizing benefits from this approach and has a mandate in place to continue a Unix-to-Linux migration using standardized Linux deployments. With over 2,000 Linux instances to support on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis, this shop has a huge commitment to its customers, which depend on the availability of these server instances. Although the company recognizes that Linux on x86 does not compare precisely with traditional RISC/Unix servers in terms of availability, the company has engineered solutions that bring Linux availability into synch with its business requirements.

2 M E T H O D O L O G Y This IDC White Paper summarizes two research efforts. The first is an in-depth interview conducted in 2012 with a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) customer. This in-depth case study is one of four interviews that IDC conducted with large RHEL customers. The interviews typically took minutes and covered a wide range of topics including the organization's server mix, the operational procedures used, the range of ages of the organization's RHEL installations, and more. This customer interview helps bring to life a separate research effort (briefly summarized in the ROI Study Recap section of this White Paper) covering a formal return-on-investment (ROI) study conducted by IDC in April 2011, comparing shops that were highly standardized on a single, supported distribution of Linux (RHEL) with organizations that had considerable variation in their Linux installations. In the ROI study, IDC identified, screened, and qualified multiple end-user organizations and used their experiences as a representative model of the effect of acquiring and deploying Linux. This research effort included organizations that are highly standardized on using RHEL and its associated subscription support on over 70% of their Linux servers and organizations that primarily use nonpaid Linux distributions on at least 70% of their Linux servers. In addition, IDC interviewed a number of organizations that had a more heterogeneous collection of Linux operating system solutions in place (categorized as mixed). As part of the ROI study, IDC captured operational characteristics of customer environments; the size and nature of deployments; the mix of Linux operating systems in use; the frequency of system and end-user problems, system outages, and help desk calls; and the time spent by IT professionals to support end users within the organization who are accessing applications deployed on servers running Linux. This information is used to create an ROI comparison between organizations that are using commercially supported Linux deployments relying on RHEL and an RHEL support subscription and organizations that are using primarily nonpaid Linux solutions. For more details on IDC's methodology, see Understanding Linux Deployment Strategies: The Business Case for Standardizing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (IDC #227903, April 2011). C A S E S T U D Y S t u d y S n a p s h o t Industry: Service provider to airline and financial services customers Objective: Migrate from Unix to Linux; standardize on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Current status: Logical server mix is currently 40% Linux, 10% Unix, and 50% Windows; Linux/Unix mix of 40%/10% has grown from roughly a 25%/25% mix three years ago RHEL usage: Linux first deployed before 2002; currently, 95% of Linux is RHEL; Linux categorized as a strategic platform 2 # IDC

3 H e l p i n g A i r l i n e s T a k e O f f U s i n g L i n u x The airline industry can be a volatile, competitive market. IT suppliers to airline companies recognize the need to be competitive and address that need by driving a standardized approach to computing. This case study is about an IT services company with 3,200 employees, which is wholly owned by an individual airline but generates 40% of its business by delivering IT compute services to a variety of airline companies as well as companies in other vertical markets such as financial services. The balance of the business is conducted with the parent company. The Challenge This company made a simple decision to replace its Unix solutions with Linux as quickly as possible. As a result, the IT team responsible for applications and infrastructure has been proactively replacing Unix with Linux. As recently as three years ago, Unix made up roughly 25% of the server mix, but today Unix servers account for only 10% of the total. All of the workloads decommissioned from the Unix servers were moved to Linux. IDC interviewed the Linux platform manager, whose Linux platform team is part of the larger infrastructure department. The IT staff in the Linux platform group includes a total of about 25 people in engineering and 35 more in operations, supporting 24 x 7 operations. Today, Linux accounts for 40% of the overall server instances, with Windows accounting for 50% and Unix making up the remaining 10%. The Linux platform team is running more than 2,000 Linux instances on virtual machines or on physical hardware. Besides supporting Linux operating systems, the group also delivers some services based on Linux, such as Apache Tomcat and MySQL database. Linux accounts for 40% of the overall server instances, with Windows accounting for 50% and Unix making up the remaining 10%. L i n u x a s a S t r a t e g i c R e p l a c e m e n t The company has been aggressively moving workloads from Unix servers to Linux. According to the Linux platform manager, "That is a strategic approach, [and] we do not wait for Unix to die." The company's Windows infrastructure is also growing, and the choice of Linux or Windows is heavily influenced by the preference of the application or the application ISV. Over the next several years, new investments in Linux and Windows are expected to grow at roughly equal rates. Underscoring the commitment to displace Unix with Linux is the dissolution of the organization's Unix engineering department, which is no longer needed because the company does not set up new Solaris servers anymore. The company does maintain a limited number of IBM AIX Unix servers to address application products that require an AIX foundation. At this point, many key workloads, including Oracle databases, have moved over to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Underscoring the commitment to displace Unix with Linux is the dissolution of the organization's Unix engineering department IDC #

4 Using a Best-of-Breed Strategy Like many other large companies today, this IT services firm has standardized on a virtualized infrastructure as the baseline for its deployments, a decision that was put into place less than four years ago. As a result, older solutions, such as RHEL 3, are not currently virtualized. New deployments, on the other hand, are virtualized wherever possible. The company has taken the atypical approach of standardizing on two different hypervisors: VMware for Linux servers and Hyper-V for Windows servers. Today, the organization has a total of 500 physical servers, including both dedicated hosts and virtualized hosts. On the Linux platform, the company has configured a large pool of servers, with a number of smaller pools built around it. The large pool contains virtually all the Linux instances, allowing them to access the same shared storage. By comparison, the Hyper-V/Windows servers are configured in four-node clusters that also serve as local storage clusters for the Windows guest instances. The company has built a private internal cloud, which is spread across three datacenters located in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. This cloud is used to support infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) deployments, which are resold to financial services and airline industry customers. End customers are responsible for maintaining the software running on those IaaS instances on their own. The company uses Red Hat Network Satellite for Linux systems management (both for installations and for patch management) and for monitoring and backup. The Linux platform manager says most of his Linux systems management is satisfactory. However, he has a set of servers that process credit card data and are used for crew scheduling. Those servers have higher security requirements. He adds, "Here, I am always looking for new fully integrated tools, but I have not been successful yet." R e d H a t G e t s a F i r s t - C l a s s S e a t The company started using Linux over 10 years ago and today is primarily using RHEL 5.x and RHEL 6.x. The Linux server instances are over 95% RHEL, with the balance mainly SUSE Linux, which today is categorized as a legacy solution that will be replaced by RHEL at the end of its life cycle. The company has no other Linux distributions in use. The Linux server instances are over 95% RHEL. The company classified Linux as a strategic platform when it felt that Linux was enterprise ready, given the availability of enterprise-grade support services. A selfdescribed fast follower, the company was also attracted to Linux because it was a less expensive replacement for Unix. "Of course, it took a few years for people to trust Linux," notes the Linux platform manager. The Linux platform manager compared Linux and Unix before making the decision to migrate critical applications. "We discovered that Linux is slightly below the availability of Unix, not because of Linux itself, but because of the cheaper hardware under it," he says. "A big IBM [server] just doesn't break. The big problem in the Linux environment 4 # IDC

5 was the cluster technology; it was not as enterprise as Unix was. But virtualization helped us and has eliminated the need for cluster in most applications." Today, the Linux infrastructure team has three principal guidelines: Unix-to-Linux migration, virtualizing Linux at deployment, and deploying in a standardized manner. "We did a lot on standardizing in the last two to three years, [and] our systems are installed in a standardized way. But there is always more you can do add monitoring, backup, etc." Today, the infrastructure team has three principal guidelines: Unix-to- Linux migration, virtualizing Linux at deployment, and deploying in a standardized manner. Conclusions "I could recommend RHEL as a platform to start with," concludes the Linux platform manager. He is firmly convinced that standardization is the right approach. "I would recommend to try, from the very beginning, to provide a highly standardized environment. It pays off in the long term," he explains. "You can decrease your operational costs over time. We have 35 guys operating over 2,000 Linux instances 24 x 7. You can't do that if you have 1,000 different ways of setting up a cluster and 2,000 different ways of setting up a backup." C a s e S t u d y T a k e a w a y s Best practices: Minimal number of RHEL variations (RHEL 5, RHEL 6) Corporate mandate for standardized, virtualized deployments of new Linux instances Forced migrations of Unix to Linux to achieve cost savings, operational benefits Use of Red Hat Network for systems management Able to meet availability requirements using Linux and x86 servers Opportunities: Elimination of small number of competitive Linux distributions in use Company still looking for better management tools for secure servers holding credit card data R O I S T U D Y R E C A P In the ROI study that IDC conducted in April 2011, we compared organizations using a commercial Linux subscription from Red Hat to support the vast majority of their Linux servers with organizations that are using a mixed environment of both commercially supported and nonpaid Linux distributions and with organizations that are primarily using nonpaid Linux distributions aboard their servers IDC #

6 IDC's ROI study found that organizations that have standardized on Red Hat Enterprise Linux typically recover up-front subscription costs through more efficient operations, higher ratios of servers and users per administrator, and a significantly lower annual downtime cost compared with organizations that maintain a Linux server infrastructure that is either mixed or primarily nonpaid. Specific observations include: Organizations standardized on RHEL have more efficient IT staffs. Shops standardized on RHEL average 174 servers per administrator, while mixed shops average 115 servers per administrator and primarily nonpaid shops average only 97 servers per administrator. In terms of end users per administrator, shops standardized on RHEL average 422 users per administrator compared with 373 users per administrator in mixed shops and 358 users per administrator in primarily nonpaid shops. This efficiency, combined with lower downtime and fewer help desk issues, means that RHEL shops incur $18,960 in annual IT labor costs per 100 users, while primarily nonpaid shops experience annual IT labor costs of $37,099 per 100 users. Downtime was another differentiator. Shops standardized on RHEL average 0.4 hours per year per user, or about one-fifth the amount of downtime experienced by shops that are mixed and slightly less for shops using primarily nonpaid Linux distributions on their Linux servers. Hardware and management software savings were also noted. The combination of more end users per server and more standardized maintenance operations, together with a longer useful life cycle (i.e., less frequent replacement), resulted in lower hardware costs. Hardware savings, combined with less need for management software tools, means shops standardized on RHEL spend $12,029 per year per 100 users, while mixed shops spend $19,201 per year per 100 users and primarily nonpaid shops spend $25,206 per year per 100 users. Our findings indicate that organizations that heavily use nonpaid Linux end up with higher total operational costs of $62,305 per year per 100 users compared with $37,494 per year per 100 users for shops standardized on RHEL, with the up-front subscription cost for RHEL being recovered through lower operational costs in as little as seven months. C O N C L U S I O N The customer portrayed in this case study is proactively forcing a standardized deployment of RHEL. IDC makes the following observations of this customer's environment: The effective use of standardization is producing returns that this customer can see through metrics such as staff scalability and reliability/availability of its compute resource. 6 # IDC

7 This organization is in the business of delivering IT services, and failure to deliver high levels of service would be a formula for disaster and could have ripplethrough impacts on the company's airline industry clients. The company has standardized on two key operating systems vendors (Red Hat and Microsoft) and on one key hardware architecture (x86), reducing the support matrix for the IT staff. We see this customer as a good example of a forward-looking shop that is pragmatically adopting modern solutions to address IT challenges yet also lower overall capex and opex obligations. C o p y r i g h t N o t i c e External Publication of IDC Information and Data Any IDC information that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from the appropriate IDC Vice President or Country Manager. A draft of the proposed document should accompany any such request. IDC reserves the right to deny approval of external usage for any reason. Copyright 2012 IDC. Reproduction without written permission is completely forbidden IDC #

Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA P.508.872.8200 F.508.935.4015 www.idc.com

Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA P.508.872.8200 F.508.935.4015 www.idc.com Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA P.508.872.8200 F.508.935.4015 www.idc.com W H I T E P A P E R R e d H a t E n t e r p r i s e L i n u x i n U s e : C o s t - C o n s c i o

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