Gartner Research

The Pros and Cons of an All-Windows Infrastructure

Published: 16 October 2009

ID: G00171737

Analyst(s): Carl Claunch


There are many advantages to building your infrastructure with only the Windows Server operating system, but also as many disadvantages. To adopt or reject this strategy, these factors must be understood well.

Table Of Contents
  • Overview
  • Decision: Only Windows Server in the Data Center?
  • Advantages of All-Windows Environments
    • Able to Use Lower-Cost Commoditized, Standardized Hardware
    • Reduced Training Costs
    • Reduced Costs Due to Flexibility and Productivity Improvements
    • Lower Salaries, on Average, for Windows Administrators Than for Other OS Types
    • Less Downtime Due to Fewer Human Errors Induced by Complexity
    • No Need to Buy Gateway and Bridge Products to Interface Different OS Types
    • Reduced Testing Costs and Complexity
    • Less Risk of Incompatibilities Caused by Development Teams From Different companies
    • Access to Incremental Functionality Provided in an All-Windows Environment
    • Future Innovations May Be Brought to Market Earlier in a One-Vendor Environment
    • Security Can Be Better
    • Disaster Recovery Plans and Methods May Be Easier
    • Need to Hold Meetings With and Manage Fewer Vendors
    • Less Potential for Finger Pointing During Complex Problems
    • Eligibility for Significant License Discounts Due to Volume With a Single Vendor
  • Disadvantages of All-Windows Environments
    • Unable to Adopt Best of Breed for Particular Functions and Roles
    • Less Negotiating Leverage Due to Public Commitment to a single-OS environment
    • May Not Have Access to Software Titles That Are Only Available on Other Platforms
    • Future Directions and Product Priorities May Become Out of Sync With Needs
    • New Hardware Features or Products May Not (Yet) Be Supported in Windows
    • More Challenging to Address Very-High-Availability Requirements (More Than 99.9% Uptime for Applications)
    • Harder to Reach High-End, Single-System (Scale-Up) Performance
    • Risks of Unexpected and Unbudgeted Shifts in License Fees and Conditions
    • Microsoft May Miss a Major Technology Shift and Be Late to Address It
    • Shorter Hardware Obsolescence Period Leads to More-Frequent Upgrades
    • Microsoft Has to Consider the Impact on Huge Installed Bases When Considering Radical Innovation
    • Migration Costs if Moving From Multiple OS Types to All-Windows
    • Unable to Use Non-Windows Server for Some Services to Reduce the Number of Client Access Licenses
    • License Costs Can Be Much Higher, Especially Against Open-Source Alternatives
    • Security Can Be Weakened Since a Common Defect Can Be Exploited to Attack All Servers
  • What Is the Market Trend for Windows?
  • Making the Choice Depends on Your Context

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