Trustix Linux for Small Businesses

By Patricia Fusco | Posted May 19, 2003
Founded in 1997, Trustix is a Norwegian IBM independent software vendor of security and network management solutions for Linux. Recently, the company released its Small Office Server and Small Office Suite. The software bundle is designed for small business with up to 25 network users and is said to be so administrator-friendly that it can be setup and serving applications with little or no in-house Linux expertise.

Jo Uthus, VP of Product Marketing at Trustix, said when it comes to server systems, Linux is often misunderstood.

"Linux is perceived as being difficult to use and manage," Uthus said. "But Trustix Linux is extremely easy to use because we provide familiar Windows-like management tools for network administrators."

Uthus went on to say some small businesses that have never used Linux find Trustix easy to use straight out of the box. But why would a small business choose to change server systems if they already have a small network up and running?

According to Uthus, it's all about total cost of ownership. When comparing Trustix Linux-based solutions to Microsoft's Small Business Server, small businesses can save a small bundle.

"The Trustix Small Office Server provides a Web server, mail server, proxy server, and local area network (LAN) server all in one bundle," Uthus explained. "It's a bargain compared to equivalent Microsoft contracts and annual licenses."

According to a study prepared by Boston-based research firm Aberdeen Group, Trustix boasts significant cost-of-ownership advantages over comparable Windows-based solutions. Because there are no application license fees associated with open source systems like Linux, Apache and Samba there are no licensing fees for Trustix Secure Linux, the heart of the Trustix Small Business Server. In addition, there are no client attach license (CAL) fees for the open source applications.

CAL fees are a main factor in pushing cost of ownership of Microsoft Windows significantly higher than the cost of ownership for Trustix Linux Solutions. For example, the CAL for Microsoft Exchange 2000 is $67 per client. (Based on November 2002 pricing.) The cost of an Exchange Server license is $699, and the cost of a single Windows 2000 Server license is $1,199, including 10 CAL fees. For a small business with 100 users, the cost of licenses for a single Exchange Server is $7,928. A small business can install all five Trustix Linux Solutions — firewall, LAN, e-mail, proxy, and Web servers — with purchase fees of $2,000, $1,400, $1,400, $1,000, and $1,000, respectively, and with unlimited client access for under $6,800.

But the Trustix Small Business Server suite decreases the cost of ownership even further for smaller businesses — a 25-users bundle can be purchased for $1,950 or a 50-user suite can be purchased for $3,000. All a small business has to add is the hardware, if they don't happen to already have a server in place.

Bill Claybrook, Senior Analyst at Aberdeen Group said, "Trustix provides a comprehensive alternative for small business looking for a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution."

This doesn't mean an existing small business has to abandon familiar Microsoft applications already in use. Trustix Linux is completely compatible with Microsoft Windows management tools. This means administrators may know that the company is running Linux, but end users will see the same familiar Microsoft applications with which they've grown accustomed.

This is a distinct advantage for Trustix Small Office Server over proprietary alternatives from Microsoft or Novell. Having the ability to install and run separate server modules across multiple servers means that systems managers are not forced to install and run all server applications on a single piece of hardware.

As a result, Trustix Local Area Network Server is becoming increasingly popular as a replacement server for Microsoft Windows, Novell file/print and traditional UNIX and Linux file servers.

Linux-based operating systems are not hurt by the fact that Microsoft has a cumbersome history when it comes to network security. That's not to say that Linux or Apache are without security flaws — just far fewer defects have been found or exploited.

The components of the Small Office Suite include Professional versions of Trustix's Local Area Network Server, Proxy Server, Web Server and Mail Server applications. The Trustix Small Office Firewall is also available as a separate option to the Small Office Server.

In addition, Trustix Small Business Server supports 30-day versions of both RAV ANTIVIRUS anti-spam and anti-virus software and the NetVault backup and restore application from BakBone. All additional software is available to upgrade via Trustix and its channel partners.

The Trustix Small Office Server can be installed and configured either by a Trustix authorized partner or even by the customers themselves where appropriate. Trustix Small Office Server will be distributed though its existing channel of IBM xSeries distributors and resellers.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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