Security Innovation Finds Microsoft Windows Platform More Reliable Than Linux

BARCELONA, Spain — Nov. 16, 2005 — Today at the IT Forum 2005 event in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft Corp. announced findings from a report it commissioned from Security Innovation Inc. (SI), a leading independent provider of application security services, which concluded that as requirements evolved over time, the Microsoft® Windows® platform was more consistent, predictable and easier to manage than Linux. Microsoft also announced that industry-leading customers, including Teleflora and Tommy Hilfiger Corp., have cited reduced complexity and greater reliability as driving their decision to deploy the Microsoft Windows platform over Linux.

  • Teleflora. A leading provider of technology services to florists, Teleflora conducted a two-year study looking at all the various offerings from Linux and the IBM Linux stack. Citing scalability and better reliability, Teleflora rewrote the entire application using .NET deployed on the Windows platform.

  • Tommy Hilfiger. Citing better manageability and increased reliability, international retailer Tommy Hilfiger switched its e-commerce solution from Linux to the Windows platform.

“As they attempt to increase business capabilities over time, customers are telling us that they are hitting a wall with Linux, experiencing significant reliability issues resulting in higher total cost of ownership,” said Martin Taylor, general manager of Platform Strategy at Microsoft. “This study shows that IT administrators were better able to maintain the system while delivering new capabilities predictably and consistently on the Windows platform. We invite other vendors, including Novell, IBM and Red Hat, to repeat their own independent analysis based on Security Innovation’s methodology.”

Security Innovation Puts Reliability to the Test in Real-World Scenario

To compare reliability and manageability differences between Microsoft Windows- and Linux-based solutions, SI delved into the true extent that maintenance, patch application and system failures contribute to IT pain and cost as business requirements evolve over time. Simulating a real-world enterprise e-commerce environment over the course of a year, SI compared two teams of experienced IT administrators as they maintained and enhanced on Windows Server 2000 and Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux 8, then upgraded to Windows Server 2003 and Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux 9, respectively:

  • The Windows platform was more reliable as enterprise needs change over time.

    • The Linux administrators took 68 percent longer to implement new business requirements than their counterparts.

    • The Novell SLES solution experienced 14 critical breakages while the Windows Server solution experienced none.

    • The Novell SLES solution required 4.79 times the number of patches.

  • The Windows platform was more consistent and predictable.

    • Only one of the three experienced Linux IT administrators successfully met all business requirements, while all three Windows administrators succeeded in meeting requirements.

“Our research indicates that the primary methods of computing reliability as indicators of real IT pain are overly simplistic. For example, kernel uptime is commonly cited as a metric of overall platform reliability. However, the reliability of a single component, even one so central as the operating system kernel, is rarely the largest source of pain,” said Herbert H. Thompson, Ph.D., chief security strategist at Security Innovation. “Security Innovation designed this study to be repeatable, and we believe that the results are consistent with what customers are experiencing in the real world.”

The full report including the methodology employed can be accessed at

Customers Cite Greater Reliability on Windows Server 2003

“One of the things we love about the Microsoft solution is that it allows us to deploy a completely integrated solution set. Today with our Linux and SCO solutions, we’re having to piecemeal and bolt components together,” said Terry Byers, chief technical officer at Teleflora. “Despite what you hear about Linux being able to scale at higher transaction volumes, we’re running our entire Web portfolio on Windows Server 2003 and have the highest service levels we could have in terms of reliability.”

Eric Singleton, chief information officer at Tommy Hilfiger, said, “In a way, Linux is now perhaps turning the corner but it’s got to get the final tier of reliability and predictability that I’m going to bet a multibillion-dollar corporation’s future on. We expect that consolidation on the Microsoft Windows platform across the enterprise will deliver a significant reduction in IT costs. However, lower IT costs are only the start. The driving force behind all our efforts is an improved competitive advantage. We believe these new capabilities will result in an additional return on investment, such as compressing product design times and optimization of our supply chain.”

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