As Data Grows, so Grows Linux

jzemlin's picture

IDC recently announced its numbers for 2011 Q4 servers sales: overall server revenues are up for the year 5.8 percent, and shipments are up 4.2 percent. As The Reg reports, these shipment numbers are back to pre-recession levels.

What’s more interesting, though, is the trends that emerge from the very latest reporting quarter, Q4. Linux was the only operating system that saw a revenue increase in servers Q4, with a 2.2 percent rise. Windows lost 1.5 percent and Unix 10.7 percent.

IDC attributes some of that Linux success to its role in what the analyst firm calls “density-optimized” machines, which are really just white box servers, and are responsible for a lot of the growth in the server market. These machines have gained popularity in a space still squeezed on budget and that continues to be commoditized. But there are other factors at play for Linux’s success over its rivals.

Coming out of the recession, Linux is in a very different position than it was 10 years ago when we emerged from the last bubble. Today it's mature, tried, tested and supported by a global community that makes up the largest collaborative development project in the history of computing.

Our latest survey of the world’s largest enterprise Linux users found that Total Cost of Ownership, technical superiority and security were the top three drivers for Linux adoption. These points support Linux’s maturity and recent success. Everyone is running their data centers with Linux. Stock exchanges, supercomputers, transportation systems and much more are using Linux for mission-critical workloads.

Also helping Linux’s success here is the accelerated pace by which companies are migrating to the cloud. Long a buzzword, the cloud is getting real, right now. While there is still work to do for Linux and the cloud, there is no denying its dominant role in today’s biggest cloud companies: Amazon and Google to name just two.

The mass migration to cloud computing has been quickened due, in part, to the rising level of data: both the amount of data enterprises are dealing with but the also how fast that data is growing. IDC this week predicted that the “Big Data” business will be worth $16.9B in three years. There is a huge opportunity here for Linux vendors. Our Linux Adoption Trends report, shows that 72 percent of the world’s largest Linux users are planning to add more Linux servers in the next 12 months to support the rising level of data in the enterprise. Only 36 percent said they would be adding more Windows servers to support this trend.

The enterprise server market is a strong area for Linux, but it’s an incredibly competitive market. Together we’ll continue to advance Linux to win here. In fact, we’ll be meeting at the NYSE offices in April at our Annual Linux Foundation Enterprise End User Summit where some of the world’s largest companies will talk in depth about exactly the things I’ve touched on here.

Yet again we are seeing market winners are born from collaboration. And we have the numbers to back it up.