Back in March, IDC published a report that surprised many. The results of IDC's study - a survey of 400 Unix/RISC customers - showed that Windows Server was the leading platform (on a units basis) for Unix migrations. This result is counter to the popular thinking that the vast majority of IT shops migrate to Linux from Unix.

Today, I got an email about  a new study by Mercer Management Consulting (... and no, I've never heard of them either). The objective of the research was to understand why organizations choose to migrate away from Unix, how alternate platforms are selected, and what value companies have generated by migrating from Unix to Windows, Linux or other Unix variants. If you're strapped for time, you can read a summary of the findings on pgs. 2-3.

The two most interesting findings are (1) platform costs represent a small portion of Unix migration costs regardless of the workload; and (2) Linux traction has come primarily from more discreet Unix migrations.

Point #1 is an often-overlooked item because we all have a tendency to focus on the cool technology and the list price of the ones and zeros. Page 6 of the study is similar to other reports and studies that I've seen over the past 3-4 years. Bottom line, we all need to know the in-house skills in order to really understand IT costs.

Point #2 refers to smaller projects that Mercer calls "where the IT organization migrates a discrete set of servers without incurring broader organizational change...". Mercer found that these decisions are often done without financial rigor, but that senior IT execs would like to see more rigorous financial analysis done for these tactical migrations.

If you're evaluating a move off of Unix, be sure to see some of the resources posted to MS.com.

Patrick