Archive for April, 2009

Why I chose Microsoft over UNIX for ERP

My organization is in the process of researching a new ERP solution. Due to many factors our current solution is outdated. Because of our system being so outdated the current version is well beyond its EOL. The first major battle of choosing a new ERP solution has been won, upper management has agreed it’s necessary.

I am not directly involved in this project. My only involvement is to insure whatever solution we finalize can be monitored (implementing true end-to-end application monitoring is another project I am working on). The other indirect involvement I have this with this was the IT department’s decision to make Microsoft our platform of choice. All of us in IT Infrastructure, including myself, agreed this was the best direction for our company.

 Like many older ERP solutions this is built upon an AIX platform. I have nothing bad to say about the AIX platform directly. As an old UNIX admin I welcome the opportunity to resurrect CLI skills that have not often been used in the last few years.  However, that is the problem with having our ERP solution housed within a UNIX environment.

Our whole IT department is only comprised of about a dozen members. Of that dozen only two of us have UNIX experience in the real world. Conversely about half of the IT staff has experience deploying, managing, and troubleshooting Microsoft Platforms (the rest of the staff is either programmers or helpdesk).  This is the very reason we chose to become as exclusively a Microsoft shop as possible. There will always be a one-off application here and there that requires LINUX. But UNIX and LINUX systems will be the exception, instead of the rule.

By utilizing Microsoft for our ERP platform we can utilize a greater amount of in-house knowledge and skill-sets. There are also more outside vendor possibilities for support. There are definitely vendors out there that support UNIX platforms. However, there is a greater number of vendors to choose from for Microsoft support. Availability of support is a key indicator of which path should be chosen.

This does not mean that Microsoft solutions are superior to UNIX solutions. I actually believe the opposite to be true. I think my decision to back the “less technically superior” solution to be consistent with modern IT business practice. Modern IT professionals need to get the “Best of breed” mentality out of their head, and instead look at the best solution for any given scenario. By looking at what resources are available and are likely to be available IT professionals may find themselves backing products that compete with their favorites.

Because of this solution driven mentality our new ERP solution will sit upon a Microsoft platform. The in-house and vendor options are greater with this path. This also coincides with our new initiative to become a Microsoft shop.

Categories: Microsoft, UNIX