Amazon cuts costs with Linux

If you have ever doubted that Linux could be a money-saving force in your enterprise network, check out Amazon.com Inc.

No, there's no new book on Amazon about how to save money with Linux, rather the online bookseller was able to cut 25 percent off its IT expenses (from US$71 million to $54 million last quarter) by swapping its Hewlett-Packard Co. Web servers for boxes running Red Hat Linux.

Amazon now uses Red Hat Linux and a derivative of the Apache Web Server to run its popular e-tailing business.

Thanks in part to the Linux move, the once high-flying, and now struggling dot-com trimmed its losses by 30 percent in the most recent quarter, and says it expects to be profitable by the end of the year. Other companies also could see savings by moving to Linux. According to research firm IDC, a 1,000-user network based on Linux servers would cost between 50 percent and 80 percent less to install than a similar network using Unix servers.

It's an old story by now: In the days when dot-coms were flush with cash, they bought nothing but the best - or at least, the most expensive - in terms of network infrastructure. Many dot-coms bought Cisco hardware and Web servers from the big three - Sun, IBM and HP. When the dot-coms crashed, a lot of their equipment went up for auction, and the Web businesses that were able to stay afloat scrambled to cut costs in order to save their businesses. It will be interesting to see what part Linux and other open source technologies will play in the move to save money.

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More about Amazon.comApacheHewlett-Packard AustraliaIBM AustraliaIDC AustraliaRed Hat

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