Re: Hotel California
In 2004, I started working in a Kent based Grammar school and the state of the IT was not good. There was a single server for the network, an RM box running the admin side, another box running exchange on NT4 and a CD server that was on its last legs and would cost £1800 to replace for some reason. Our total budget for all IT, desktops, servers, printing, software and anything else computer linked was £30,000 a year. Since then, it's been £30,000 a year bar two years when we got 40,000 and 50,000. We run 500 machines for 1000 users.
Within a year of joining, the CD server had been replaced with a Mandriva Linux box, the old NT DC had been migrated to Samba 3 and Exchange was booted and replaced with Postfix and Squirrelmail as no-one was using the additional features of Exchange anyway. Printing was through Samba with Pykota for management. All web based activities were pulled into the school and rather than pay external providers, we put everything on Apache/PHP with Wordpress/Joomla and Moodle for the VLE. As you say, you still need Windows for some things and for us it was SIMS and the FMS financial management package so we had server 2003 on one box for that.
When the new licencing came in the cost of deploying Windows and Office dropped for £25,000 a year to £3,000 and we switched to domain control Server 2008R2 but with Linux fileservers and Synology NAS boxes and all of our web servers run Ubuntu/LAMP. For a short period of time, we tried LibreOffice but whining teachers killed that off. For a group of people who are supposed to be teaching people the joy of learning, that joy doesn't seem to stretch to some of them.
To defend against future price rises, we are keeping out of the cloud bar running Owncloud and our our own mail/groupware from our server room. Microsoft have tried talking us into taking up the crippleware free version of Office 365 and we have decided against because there's no guarantee that it's going to stay free beyond the end of the annual licence. You never own licenced proprietary software so we won't switch fully to Google either as whatever they say, we have no way of knowing whether the free services may disappear in the future leaving us the hassle of migration or coughing up.
A further guarantee is that all of our DCs have been set up at a level that means we can switch to Samba 4 if Microsoft decide to up the licence in future and Kolab or Egroupware provide enough to provide for calendaring and note sharing so exchange is still off the cards. If MS Office goes up to the old pricing again. LibreOffice will get another look in and if any department insists on MS Office, they can pay for it out of their budget. As for desktop licences, we use refurbs that all have Win 7 licences so were fine until that becomes obsolete.
The mistake made during the new labour years was that people used threats of dropping Microsoft as a crowbar to drop licencing costs and in the end, that was all it became and MS knew it.