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Commercial Linux Support Showdown - page 2

Can't Buy Me Love

  • February 25, 2009
  • By Kenneth Hess

Canonical is the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu Linux. Sponsorship includes development, ongoing support and a pledge to keep Ubuntu Linux free to use for any purpose. Canonical is a commercial, for-profit company that provides engineering and development services, 24x7 support for Ubuntu Linux, training, hardware certification and application packaging.

Canonical's Standard support offering is 9x5 ��� covering your local business hours only ��� a deviation from the "norm" of 12x5 support from the other two companies. Its Priority support is far more expensive than the competition, which is sure to be a deterrent to many would-be Ubuntu users.

Novell

Novell owns, develops and supports SUSE Linux, which took the place of its own NetWare operating system. Novell offers SUSE Linux in two basic flavors: SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). Novell has a long history of first-rate support and some of the best technical folks in the business.

Novell opts for a somewhat conservative stance concerning its flagship operating system in favor of stability over leading-edge features. Competitive support pricing for both Standard and Priority options and Novell's rock-solid stability make it a palatable business choice.

Red Hat

Red Hat Linux is the world's most popular commercial Linux distribution. Known to be a true open source success story, Red Hat, the company, is the standard by which all other Linux companies are measured. Excellent support, training and the industry's most sought-after technical certification (the RHCE), make Red Hat a competitor that's hard to beat.

A quick call to Red Hat's Sales Department gives you the lowdown on its Desktop Support options. Apparently, the company views the corporate Desktop as non-critical, since your best support option buys you 12x5 phone support and web support.

Support Pricing Matrix
Desktop
Standard
Desktop
24x7
Server
Standard
Server
24x7
Canonical $250 $900 $750 $2,750
Novell $120 $220 $799 $1,499
Red Hat $80* $299** $799 $1,299
*Red Hat's Standard Corporate Desktop Support Option.
**Red Hat's Standard Corporate Workstation Support Option.

Based on support option pricing and coverage, Red Hat is the clear winner of the server support shootout. For corporate desktop coverage, Novell takes the prize. The overall winner of the comparison goes to Red Hat for its inexpensive ($80 per computer per year) desktop support and 24x7 ($1,299 per server per year) server support. This combination makes the most economical sense for enterprises that want to maximize support bang for the least amount of bucks.

Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases, and virtualization. You may reach him through his web site at http://www.kenhess.com.

Article courtesy of ServerWatch

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