UNIX®: Lowering the Total Cost of Ownership

By The Open Group

The value of UNIX, as a technology and as a standard, has clearly been significant over its 45-year history as a technology and its 20-years as an open standard leading to tremendous innovation across numerous industries.  Developers, integrators and customers have benefited from its origins as open development platform to becoming an open standard. Recent blog articles have showcased how UNIX makes software development easier[1], is highly available[2], more secure[3] and scalable.  Total cost of ownership (TCO) is another area that has benefited from the UNIX standard and the operating systems that are UNIX certified.  For this article, TCO is primarily defined as the cost of acquisition, maintenance, and updating of a solution.

UNIX, an Open Group standard, enables customers’ choices in the building blocks for their desired solution. The choices come from the numerous UNIX certified operating systems on the market today – IBM AIX, HPE HP-UX, Inspur K-UX and Oracle Solaris to name a few.  The acquisition cost, as a part of the total cost of ownership, is also lower because of the compatibility and interoperability benefits of the UNIX standard.  IT organizations do not have to spend time fighting integration interoperability and incompatibility issues often found in non-certified operating systems.  Bottom line is that there is greater choice with less integration overhead leading to lower cost of acquisition.

The UNIX standard benefits the maintenance component of TCO ensuring there is compatibility and interoperability at the level of the operating system (OS) and the software dependencies on that OS. A UNIX certified OS also provides assurance of a level of quality with more than 45,000 functional tests having been passed to achieve certification. Of course, the other benefit of the UNIX standard is that it provides consistent system commands regardless of what UNIX OS is running in your data center so you don’t need train administrators on multiple operating systems or even have different administrators for different operating systems. An estimated 49% of system downtime is caused by human error, which should be mitigated by having custom ways to manage systems. UNIX provides greater determinism, which helps reduce maintenance component of TCO.[4]

The UNIX standard improves cost for system updates. While most OS vendors have their own method of doing system updates, there is greater confidence with UNIX compliant OS that regardless of how the update occurs the software and overall solution can rely on the continued assurance of consistent APIs, behavior, etc.  This turns out to be important as solutions get bigger and more complex the need to ensure continuity becomes particularly critical. Having standards in place help ensure that continuity in an ever changing solution.

TCO is greatly reduced because a UNIX certified operating system lowers the acquisition, maintenance and updating costs. The benefits of UNIX mentioned above also hint at reduced administrative, training and operational costs which also reduces the total cost of ownership which also should be consider in evaluating solution cost. IT decision makers should consider how choosing an operating system that is UNIX certified will benefit the TCO profile of their solution(s). This is especially true because making standards a requirement, during acquisition, costs so little yet can have such substantial benefits to TCO, enabling accelerated innovation and demonstrating good IT governance.

Cost of Ownership Price Tag Good Value Investment ROI

Get more information on UNIX with new tools and resources available at www.opengroup.org/UNIX or review some selected resources below:

[1] https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/03/11/unix-allowing-engineers-to-engineer

[2] https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/04/18/unix-the-always-on-os/

[3] https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/03/24/o-armor-unix-armor/

[4] https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/04/18/unix-the-always-on-os/