This post was written by Megan Santosus, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com feature writer.
Linux has outpaced Windows and Unix in corporate adoption rates, according to research firm IDC’s 2007 server market numbers. The pace of Linux’s future adoption could partly depend upon whether certain people choose early retirement, another researcher says.
According to IDC, Windows is still the dominant player, responsible for 36.6% of server revenues for the fourth quarter of 2007. (Quarterly Windows revenues totaled $5.7 billion—a new quarterly record.) Unix servers took in 33.3% of quarterly revenues. And Linux servers—which reached a milestone of $2 billion for a single quarter—made up 12.7% of revenues for the quarter.
While Linux still lags its rivals, it’s growing at the fastest clip. IDC pegged Linux year-over-year revenue growth from 2006 to 2007 at 11.6%. By comparison, Windows revenues grew 6.9%, and Unix a paltry 1.5%.
Richard Jones, vice president and service director for Data Center Strategies at IT research and advisory firm The Burton Group, sees a shift in sentiment among CIOs he talks to that mirrors what’s going on in the market. “CIOs that haven’t moved to Linux yet are planning to do so soon,” Jones said.
Certainly, Linux is gaining a track record for reliability, Jones said, and costs—at least for initial software licenses and maintenance—are lowest for Linux compared to Unix and Windows. And Jones cited Oracle Corp.’s decision to release its 11g database first on Linux as further evidence that the market is shifting irretrievably.
With all the momentum behind Linux, an interesting question emerges: Why isn’t every shop that is able from a workload standpoint to migrate to Linux doing so?
Jones however sees a good reason for the hesitancy: skills. Unix shops in particular remain set in their server ways. Most have veteran Unix experts running their IT systems. “Many shops today have Unix engineers and administrators,” he said. “Once those people start to retire in droves, that’s when many CIOs will make the move to Linux.”
It sounds downright bizarre to buck the trend toward running apps on commodity servers, especially considering that enterprise applications like Oracle and SAP run on commodity-based x86 boxes running Linux.
In this case, it’s not the technology after all. It’s the people.