Migrate from Proprietary Software to Linux to Create Cost Savings

Amongst the top IT trends of the moment is the development of Linux Containers. Financial and technical investors, Linuxsoftware programmers and customers believe that Linux Containers will transform the way organisations manage their Linux environments from deployment to maintenance. A recent survey by Red Hat and Techvalidate says that 56% of the respondents plan to use Linux containers as vehicles for rolling out web and eCommerce over the next two years. The respondents included a number of Fortune 500 companies and public sector organisations. Any development in the world of e-Commerce is definitely worth taking a look.

“In 2012, UK retail eCommerce sales amounted to £38.48 billion and were projected to exceed £70 billion in 2017”, says research organisation Statista. Another report by Datamation says that ’75 Open Source replacements for eCommerce tools’ are now available on the market. Many of these tools are suitable for both small organisations with no IT development experience and for enterprises whose IT development teams need some highly technical tools to work with.

The opportunity is therefore hot for migrating from proprietary platforms to Linux. Red Hat Solutions helped “Ice.com [to] shine by saving hundreds of thousands of dollars through more nimble business control’ in 2014. “We are saving close to $250,000 annually because of our move to Open Source applications and the Cloud”, says Jason Ordway – COO AND CIO at Ice.com.

The online jewellery store replaced its eCommerce solution with a Cloud-based Open Source solution by deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux® and JBoss® Enterprise Application Platform with Amazon Web Services (AWS). As well as reducing costs, the organisation gained the ability to respond more quickly and efficiently than it could do with its former on-premise proprietary system.

Linux migrations aren’t new. Amazon did it in 2001 and the eCommerce giant saved $500 on software for each server at the time. The real driver went beyond cost because Amazon could use commodity X86 servers rather than proprietary UNIX ones. This saved the firm $50,000 per server. Nowadays the running of Linux servers has become the norm, but virtualisation and Cloud technologies have become increasingly common in comparison to the beginning of the century.

Yet a number of organisations are still running their eCommerce platforms on UNIX or Windows systems. They feel that Linux migrations could pose a lot unwanted effort and risk. Moving away from UNIX hasn’t harmed Ice.com and Amazon wasn’t damaged either. There are UNIX to Linux migration tools that can simplify the process and make it relatively risk-free and expedient to achieve.

How Linux cuts costs

So how can Linux can cut eCommerce costs? The first thing to do is to establish where your money is being spent at the moment with your existing UNIX or Windows systems. A thorough audit is a prerequisite in order to create an informed assessment of what needs to change.

For example, the following are some of the crucial questions to ask your teams:

  • Are your developers constantly tinkering to keep an old system going?
  • Is the operations team always adding new bits of hardware and changing the way things work to accommodate more customers and a wide range of services?
  • Is the whole system increasingly unstable, and potentially costing you sales?

Then the next step is to develop a roadmap, which is exactly what Linux systems management consultancy LinuxIT did for NetPlayTV: the UK’s largest interactive TV gaming organisation which develops interactive products that people can play on TV, online and on their smartphones. A solution was therefore developed to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their systems and to improve their return on investment (ROI).

As part of the transformation, LinuxIT built Puppet recipes and then set about proving that it works by installing some replica estates into two new datacentres. LinuxIT also implemented a range of systems management tools, giving NetPlayTV control of its patch management. The implementation reduced risk while freeing up the time employee’s usually spent on firefighting. This gave them the ability to focus on improving operations and growing the organisation with help and support of LinuxIT working as an integral member of NetPlayTV’s team.

So the future of e-Commerce is promising, and there are a number of examples of organisations using Linux-based e-Commerce systems. Apart from cost savings, migration can bring ROI, expansion, reliability and future proofing, enabling the use of innovation to help attain or maintain competitive advantage. In comparison a Linux alternative can also be more easily customised to deliver a more effective e-Commerce platform. Linux is the future of e-Commerce platforms, and with the help of LinuxIT your systems can grow with your firm.


  • UNIX to Linux migrations offer more benefits than risks
  • Risks can be reduced or eliminated by working with an Open Source and Linux consultancy such as LinuxIT.
  • There is an increasing number of Open Source tools available for eCommerce, and Linux containers will play their part too.
  • To determine where costs can be cut by Linux migration, organisations should audit and assess their existing systems first.
  • Organisations such as Ice.com, Amazon and NetPlayTV have proven that a UNIX to Linux migration can cut costs significantly.

Discover more about the benefits of Linux migrations: read this guide on moving from UNIX to Linux easily. 

This post first appeared on the LinuxIT blog