How Fast Is Linux Growing in the Enterprise? Our New Report

amcpherson's picture

We’re pleased today to announce the results of a new publication from the Linux Foundation: a survey of enterprise users titled “Linux Adoption Trends: A Survey of Enterprise End Users.” We’re publishing it today at The Linux Foundation’s End User Summit.

Why did we create this report? It’s part of our mission to enable collaboration from users to community developers and vendors. It is difficult to find detailed data on Linux adoption trends and/or user behaviors, especially among the world’s largest companies. Analyst firms do a good job of giving us a baseline understanding, but because Linux is difficult to measure given it’s unique and free nature, there isn’t a clear understanding of how Linux is being adopted.

Thanks to our work with its End User Council and other channels, we were able to solicit meaningful information that can inform Linux vendors, developers and the overall industry on what we can do to continue to advance Linux.

While admittedly there is sample bias at work here, the report provides a variety of data points that tell us Linux is on the rise and growing — sometimes at the expense of Windows. It’s also being used for more mission critical workloads and growing in popularity with management. Here are a few data points that I wanted to surface that I hope can be useful during our discussions at The Linux Foundation End User Summit and to our developers and our members as they look towards 2011.

  • More people are reporting that their Linux deployments are migrations from Windows than any other platform, including Unix migrations. 66 percent of users surveyed say that their Linux deployments are brand new (“Greenfield”) deployments. This represents a major shift in user behavior, indicating that IT managers who have deployed Linux are not only staying with the platform but breaking away from legacy OSes when deploying new services. This bodes well for the future.
  • Few companies say they’re using the cloud today or plan on migrating in the next year to the cloud. While we’re happy to note that among the early adopters who are operating in cloud environments, 70.3 percent use Linux as their primary platform, it’s important to note the reality of cloud adoption. I think this may be due to the size and sophistication of the users in this survey but interesting none-the-less.
  • Drivers for Linux adoption extend beyond cost: technical superiority is the primary driver, followed by cost and then security. The Linux development community has set a high bar for technical superiority and it’s nice to see it paying off in adoption. While cost was the driver for the first Linux build out, I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen a shift now to technical features being the primary driver.

While we don’t think the people who filled this out are unbiased, we do know they represent very large companies who are early adopters of technology. In short, it’s a great time to be a Linux vendor. Please let us know your thoughts and reactions. Also keep an eye out for more data from the survey that we’ll surface over time.