11 Ways That Linux Contributes to Tech Innovation

By March 30, 2015Blog

We all know that Linux runs much of modern society – from data centers and mobile phones, to air traffic control and stock exchanges. But what are some of the ways that Linux continues to contribute to innovation in the tech industry?

Over the past six months I’ve asked new Linux Foundation corporate members on the cutting edge of technology to weigh in on what interesting or innovative trends they’re witnessing and the role that Linux plays in them. Here’s what engineers, CTOs, and other business leaders from companies including CoreOS, Rackspace, SanDisk, and more had to say.

The full interviews are part of The Companies That Support Linux series. For more on Linux Foundation corporate membership visit: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/join/corporate.

Brandon Philips, CTO at CoreOS

1. Scale-out computing and the rise of containers

“Companies are building internal platforms for running their businesses and shifting their thinking from how to divide compute resources into smaller units and towards a model where they treat infrastructure as a big pool of resources. Instead of managing individual VMs, resources are available via platforms and APIs to teams without the need to manage the operating system directly.

“In the server infrastructure space this shift has spawned new terms such as immutable infrastructure, launched new interest in Linux containers and Docker and seen the rise of new “behind the firewall” platform-as-a-service products.” – Brandon Philips, CTO at CoreOS.

Paul Voccio, Senior Director of Software Development at Rackspace.

2. Software-defined everything

“The move to software-defined infrastructure is a big shift. Customers already have access to virtualization platforms like Xen that allow them to define their infrastructure with software. Software-defined networking is quickly becoming more mature and scalable. However, customers want the ability to have a software defined datacenter at their fingertips. This may involve physical servers, virtual servers, and virtual networks that need high performance with flexible configurations. Many of the current technologies are designed to run on Linux due to technology already available in the kernel or userland frameworks provided by the community.” – Paul Voccio, Senior Director of Software Development at Rackspace.

Carlos Horowicz, CEO and co-founder of Planisys.

3. Transparency and usability in the cloud

“In the Latin American market, we are seeing that users are eager to adopt cloud-based standard technologies and are increasingly interested in the transparency and usefulness of cloud services, represented by its ease of use, understandable metrics and more intelligent monitoring alerts and logs.

“This is being made possible by Linux as a consistent platform underneath.” – Carlos Horowicz, CEO and co-founder of Planisys.

4. Flash in the data center 

“Storage is undergoing a dramatic transformation from the creation of more data at the edge to the Nithya Ruff, director of the SanDisk Open Source Strategy Officetransportation and eventual storage and use of the data. As a company that plays in all of the points of storage, we see a number of trends.

  • Proliferation of edge devices – mobile, wearable, Internet of Things – all capable of data generation and some storage.
  • Massive generation of data of all kinds that needs to be stored and ready for on-demand access.
  • Cloud is becoming a dominant media for the storage of data with object storage as a dominant means of storage.
  • Use of more open source and open standards based software in all aspects of the datacenter.
  • Need for faster and high-performance access from multiple devices and applications and hence more flash-transformed datacenters.
  • Need for more efficient storage of the data in datacenters – smaller footprint, less energy usage, less cooling etc.Eduardo Silva

-Nithya Ruff, director of the SanDisk Open Source Strategy Office.

5. Data storage and analytics

“The growth of data is increasing in unexpected ways, this comes hand-in-hand with the mobile market’s success in recent years. Without a reliable operating system for servers such as Linux, it would be almost impossible to collect, store and analyze data successfully as we are doing now.” – Eduardo Silva, an open source developer at Treasure Data.


Paul Gampe, CTO of IIX.

6. Creating the global public cloud

“Linux is the core of the global public clouds. Linux powers many of the world’s largest SaaS platforms. These two destinations, the global public clouds, and global SaaS platforms are the key destinations for the modern enterprise. Our global network and software-defined interconnection means the modern enterprise can quickly and securely get the best connection to these platforms.” – Paul Gampe, CTO of IIX. 

7. Open hardware in the data center

“The emergence of Linux as the control-plane of choice provides a consistent platform which allows us massive re-use of tooling and skills. New hardware platforms like OpenCompute and processor architectures like ARM just wouldn’t be making in-roads into the datacentre if we didn’t have the solid base of a common operating system and tools.” – Matt Jarvis, head of cloud computing at Steve Moyer, vice president of storage software engineering for Micron Technology.DataCentred.

8. Storage industry shift to SSDs

“The storage industry is undergoing a fundamental shift toward solid state drives (SSD) and emerging non-volatile memory (NVM) technologies. To fully exploit the capabilities of these technologies the operating system and its storage subsystems must continue to evolve. As the leading open source operating system Linux is well-positioned to play an important role in bringing the benefits of new memory technologies to end-users.” – Steve Moyer, vice president of storage software engineering for Micron Technology. 



Findlay Shearer, a senior manager of product marketing at Altera.

9. Advancing ARM-based architectures

“One innovative trend is the integration of ARM-based processors with FPGAs providing increased flexibility through hardware differentiation combined with the increased capabilities and flexibility of Linux results in a differentiated and successful products based on Altera’s SoCs. Another trend is the transition to ARM v8 architecture with virtualization extensions leveraging projects like KVM, Xen and Linux containers. Furthermore many of our customers are selecting Linux and at Altera, we enable choice for our customers.” – Findlay Shearer, a senior manager of product marketing at Altera.


Josh Lesavoy, Chief Information Officer at Nextiva.

10. Scalability and flexibility in the cloud

“We’re witnessing a tremendous move to cloud-based business communications, which is at the core of our business. Since the cloud requires scalability and flexibility, it is another reason why we chose Linux. Your system enables us to continuously innovate and provide businesses with the best communication solutions.” – Josh Lesavoy, Chief Information Officer at Nextiva.


11. Hybrid cloud computing

“We are looking now at the emergence of the hybrid cloud. Linux has a major role in this trend both being the cornerstone of the modern data center and being a base for many innovative technologies in this field. Other Dmitry Fleytman, CTO and co-founder of Daynix.interesting trends are software-defined networking and software-defined storage, both having strong roots in Linux.” – Dmitry Fleytman, CTO and co-founder of Daynix.