Four enterprise customers migrating away from proprietary UNIX systems and standardizing on x86 servers running SUSE Linux Enterprise found an average savings of 80 percent for each new server purchased, according to a recent Total Economic Impact study conducted by Forrester Consulting. Commissioned by enterprise Linux provider SUSE®, the study is based on recent interviews with four SUSE customers whose responses were synthesized to represent a single composite organization that realized benefits of more than $23.4 million versus costs of nearly $15 million, adding up to a net present value of more than $8.4 million.
"We had to be faster to provide solutions to our business in less time," said the IT director of a global energy provider. "Standardization allowed us to reduce this time. Shrinking the time to market is the main goal that we have achieved."
The composite customer represents an organization with 3,000 physical and virtual servers across the globe; 1 petabyte of data, half of which is actively used in databases with the rest being primarily archival data; 100 employees who architect, plan and manage the servers, storage, databases and middleware; and 150 applications with active databases, although the primary enterprise applications (finance, for example) are SAP products.
Forrester examined four fundamental elements of economic impact in its research: benefits, costs, flexibility and risks. The composite SUSE customer—represented by the interviewed companies—was facing rising costs in capital expenditures for servers and their operating expenses along with increasing complexity in hiring staff required to maintain the UNIX systems from various hardware vendors. It was also preparing to leverage cloud solutions by standardizing the organization's server environment.
The composite customer realized benefits from migrating to SUSE Linux Enterprise including:
- Reduced capital expenditures for servers. Standardizing on x86 servers reduced capital expenditures for the composite organization by 80 percent for a total risk-adjusted savings of $6.4 million per year and, over three years, more than $19.4 million. Some of the interviewed companies also made significant reductions in the number of servers required to handle the processing workload.
- Reduced maintenance costs for servers. Cost savings for hardware maintenance based on purchasing lower-priced servers is more than $3 million per year for a total of more than $9.2 million over three years. When a company is using 3,000 servers, the savings in maintenance costs becomes significant.
- Reduced the time to respond to changing business requirements from months to minutes. Because the composite organization is able to procure servers in a few days rather than weeks and has the ability to anticipate business needs by keeping a handful of extra servers in stock, the organization has assets available more quickly. In addition, using standard server templates, cloud services and virtual servers enables the IT organization to literally respond in minutes, when business needs justify the effort.
The director of technology for an international bank said, "Our savings in servers is amazing. Our savings is a 1 to 6 ratio, which means that we used to have six servers, now we can cover it using one server."
Unquantifiable benefits experienced by these customers include improved response time to changing business needs, increased ability to hire and retain system administrators, and enhanced disaster recovery and business continuity. The IT director at the global banking company told Forrester, "We saw improvements in disaster recovery and the continuity of business as the Linux platform is very stable. We were able to architect this from a design perspective and adopt a higher level disaster control system."
About the Customers
For this study, Forrester interviewed a national government agency in Europe with more than 100,000 employees and 2,000 branch locations. This agency provides services to citizens and has more than 5,000 servers, 900 terabytes of storage, and more than 100 applications with dedicated databases. Also interviewed was an international bank headquartered in Asia with more than 10,000 branches located across the globe. The technical division maintains 2,000 to 3,000 servers, 300 terabytes of data, and more than 200 applications. The third customer is a global energy provider with headquarters in Europe and operations in nearly 100 countries, employing more than 75,000 people and running 5,000 servers, 8 petabytes of storage and 100 enterprise applications. The final customer is a global automobile parts distributor with more than 200 servers running its suite of SAP applications and another 1,000 servers with more than 2 petabytes of storage.
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