Open Source or a commercial offering?

Akshay Lamba akshay at
Thu Aug 16 23:19:48 UTC 2007

>I've put in many hours trying to get it to work the way I want, (granted I have spent a lot of >those hours learning and >documenting along the way) and I'm happy with the results 

Well there's one right there for you...u're happy with the results. In a closed box solution other than end user experience, would you really even know what (or how) it is doing something for you? 

>Let's say that after benefits and everything, someone in IT is paid $25 an hour and spends 20 total hours getting a Linux server >setup for the functionality above.  That's $500 worth of work.  Now compared to a commercial offering such as the SonicWall >TZ 180 TotalSecure 10 priced at $480 that does all of the above, what is the benefit of running a free, open source solution?  

Yours is a genuine question, I've faced a number of clients with the same question and it comes down to something called Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Now i'm no expert in financial matters, but a quick google will show you a number of claims by MS stating lower TCO for the same reason that you've addressed in your argument. 

However, I guide my clients to view TCO over a medium term period (3-5 yrs) rather than a short term period specifically for enterprise solutions. Once you do that, given the amount of intellectual property developed in-house while implementing open source systems, the TCO for OSS systems becomes marginal since you no longer spend on licences, upgrades, support, consultants (this is where I start kicking myself in the ba***), etc. Ofcourse, this calculation varies for each enterprise solution however if you run these numbers for yourself you'll realise the impact on bottomline, post that, put in an indicative figure for the IP built in the organization and you'll see the TCO numbers changing drastically. 

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