Survey: SMBs Prefer Debian on File Servers, Seek Cloud Backup Options

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Small and medium-sized businesses prefer Debian over Red Hat and CentOS for operating their file servers, according to a survey released Monday by cloud storage network provider Symform.

Small and medium-sized businesses prefer Debian over Red Hat and CentOS for operating their file servers, according to a survey released Monday by cloud storage network provider Symform.

The survey of 100 companies with Linux file servers found that 67 percent used a Debian chain distribution compared with 54 percent on Red Hat and 5 percent on SUSE. But there was also little purity of deployment. Half of companies that prefer Debian also reported running Red Hat. And two thirds of those running primarily Red Hat, also use Debian.

Debian dominated especially when it came to storage volumes – 63 percent of Debian/ Ubuntu users had at least 1 Terabyte of data stored on file servers versus 46 percent who reported the same data volume on Red Hat servers.

These survey results are similar to a January study by W3Techs that found Debian the OS of choice for web servers. 

It was enlightening for Symform, which will soon roll out backup data support for Linux devices based on the survey results. Their services can’t come soon enough.

The results suggest SMB’s are already overrun with data, and the problem will only be magnified in the coming year with some companies predicting up to a 40 percent increase in data volumes. At the same time, 20 percent reported having no secondary backup services at all.

“A large number of folks are really betting against the gods in terms of having no backup,” said Mason White, director of product marketing at Symform. “And that’s found up and down the organizational level of small, medium or large amounts of data. It’s frightening.”

An earlier Symform study, released in March, found cost was the No. 1 reason companies were not taking their data to the cloud. Mid-sized businesses with between 25 and 1,000 employees, especially, are caught between mounting data volumes and budget constraints for backup solutions, according to the study.

Many large commercial vendors don’t offer technical support for Linux file servers or they offer a workaround in which Linux devices backup to Windows servers, White said. And with services that run 25 to 50 cents per megabyte, the cost of personal cloud storage options such as SpiderOak and DropBox become unaffordable for businesses, White said.

This gap in affordable storage options creates an opportunity for companies that offer commercial file storage on the cloud. Symform aims to fill that need. 

“The survey results indicate that a large percentage would use a cloud backup solution if it supported the right Linux distribution and security requirements,” White said.

Symform claims to have a cheaper co-operative data storage solution. Customers contribute space on their own local devices for encrypted file fragments from others on the network in exchange for lower cost storage on the network. Symform manages resource allocation with its own proprietary management software similar to a hypervisor for Web servers.