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Notes on tech

Notes on technology, business, enterpreneurship, economy, markets along with interesting general tidbits.

Linux TCO

5/25/2005 07:59:00 PM, posted by anand

As many of you might already know that I host this site on my home server that runs a popular Linux distro along with a bunch of other Open Source Software. Its been 2 years since I first installed Linux on my server and have been cruising along with some minor bumps on the way. The whole point of setting up this server was to experiment with the total cost of ownership (TCO), as an individual user. So what if the Operating System is free. There are still some some tasks, like backup-recovery, virus checking (yes, linux can have viruses too) that you need to spend time and money on.

Since I am a power user (or atleast I think I am), when I first setup the box, I wrote a whole bunch of scripts to automate backups, virus checking as well as log reporting tasks. Every night the server runs various reports on some log files and sends me an email summarizing the stuff found in the log files. About two weeks ago, my email reports started complaining about read/write errors on a hard disk. I spent around 15 hours across 5-6 days to figure out the issue and fix it. So, to run a server efficiently I sometimes need to wear the IT hat and spend time debugging/fixing problems. This adds to the TCO of a system. I am not saying that these issues dont happen with a Windows or Apple machine.

The point I am trying to make is that Open Source Software is not the panacea for all problems. A free OS like Linux doesnt mean it wont cost you anything. For a business to setup a similar server, they would need to consider the costs involved in maintaining the server, taking backups of their data, restoring it etc. What if there existed a service that stores all your data on a central server hosted by someone else. Those guys take automated daily backups and also provide access to all your data from any browser anywhere, with proper security. Then the business owner can just focus on the business problems and not worry about the servers.
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