Replacing high-end Unix with enterprise Linux? Not necessarily.

It is less of a no-brainer than we've been led to think.

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Migrating from high-end Unix-based systems to commodity x86/Linux platforms has been a popular idea for the last few years, at least in theory.

But it turns out that not everyone thinks going full-on with Linux is the best solution -- at least not yet.

Dan Blanchard , vice president of enterprise operations at hotel chain Marriott International Inc. , is serious about Linux.

He says his company's transition from HP-UX and IBM AIX is ongoing -- and inevitable. "We're migrating and we have a strategy to continue deployment of Linux," he says. "A 100% transition will take place over several years and will be completed as technology is refreshed and as other opportunities arise."

Tony Iams hears that refrain from IT executives frequently. "Companies have had a long-term goal of consolidating all of their Unix systems onto Linux," says Iams, senior analyst with Ideas International, Inc. The most oft-stated goal is to adopt industry-standard technology across the board, and that usually means Linux running on x86 hardware.

But Norm Fjeldheim, CIO at Qualcomm, the wireless telecoms R&D company, decided to take a pass a Solaris to Linux migration.

The company does use Linux for some applications, but Fjeldheim's IT team concluded that migrating its industrial-grade Solaris systems to Linux was a dubious business proposition. "We're not moving from Sun to Linux. We haven't been able to make the economic case for it," he says.

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