In a presentation at the Sydney Linux World Conference and Expo yesterday, Hewlett Packard’s Linux vice-president, Martin Fink, said businesses deploying Linux should be driven by long-term planning rather than “doing it because they can”.

He said “lifecycle management is the holy grail”. The ability to manage the introduction of Linux and open source systems in a way that would fit the company’s existing hardware and software upgrade cycle would give business a more realistic and cost-effective way to enter the field.

Fink suggested that Web server, DNS and e-mail infrastructure were specific starting points for deploying Linux in an enterprise. He said, “Get some small successes — some small wins … start small instead of saying, ‘we’re going to redo our entire IT’.”

“Don’t try to take the biggest and most risky business project in your entire enterprise and say, ‘we’re going to go and do this huge migration’.”

He went on to say that IT managers should look for “natural triggers” to initiate the introduction of open source technology. He said that while open source adoption was accelerating across the enterprise, “Linux and open source isn’t as developed as Unix and mainframes in terms of lifecycle,” so introduction had to be a gradual, planned process.

“Don’t take something that’s working fine and change it because you can … Look for things where there’s a new technology or business system … Look for what are the things that are happening and what’s causing them and then bring in Linux and open source.”