Enterprise Linux Log:
Linux growth tied to personnel issues March 10th, 2008 by Jan Stafford

This post was written by Megan Santosus, SearchEnterpriseLinux.com feature

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.

Posted: March 10th, 2008 under Uncategorized. 4 Comments »


What is a “server revenue”? Does that mean computers purchased
with an OS pre-installed?

If so, how many of them will have the OS replaced with Linux as soon
as the box is opened?

And in that case, do are IDC numbers worth a flying crap?

Comment by required — March 11, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

This is ridiculous. As a UNIX administrator with 24 years in this
business, I know the UNIX staff. No UNIX technical people are afraid
of Linux. Anywhere. Most run Linux on their desktop machines, when
the IT policies allow it. Most UNIX shops have dozens, if not
hundreds of Linux boxes, handling middleware, network infrastructure
and file sharing tasks.

The reluctance to deploy Linux comes from two places. The first is
management. These are like the management at my former employer, who
would rather run an application on a ten-year-old installation of
SCO Open Server than spend a week or two porting it to Linux.
efficeincy and reliability be damned, as long as I can renew my
support contract.

The other source of reluctance to move from UNIX to Linux is the
fact that Linux doesn’t scale as well. Small and middle-sized
apps, requiring a few processors do very well on Linux. Petabyte
databases, applications running into the millions of lines of code,
machines with more than eight processors all turn out to be less
reliable and often much slower under Linux than UNIX.

Comment by Danby — March 11, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

It is probably people who are holding up an adoption of Linux, but
it is absolutely a nonsensical conclusion to say that it is the UNIX
administrators who are dragging their feet. As has been pointed out
in other forums, any UNIX administrator has had to learn multiple
versions over his or her career. From that point of view, Linux is
just another in a long series with its own quirks. No big deal at

Microsoft Windows administrators, OTOH, face a completely different
OS with very little similarity to what they already know. In my
experience, they tend far more than their UNIX counterparts to cling
to the familiar at the expense of their employers’ true needs.

Comment by sgtrock — March 12, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

Indeed. Linux is just another variety of Unix. Solaris 10 is
actually nicer than it’s given credit for, and Red Hat doesn’t
run our apps nearly as well on the X4600s we have running Sol10 (we
tried). But I can’t think of a Solaris admin I know (and I know a
fair few) who wouldn’t happily deploy Linux anywhere it’s cost
and performance effective.

Comment by David Gerard — March 15, 2008 @ 10:00 am

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