Gartner: Linux continues drive into data centers

Around 40 percent of data centers use a combination of Linux, Unix and Windows on their servers, according to the research analyst.

A straw poll of attendees at Gartner's Data Center Conference in January revealed that 40 percent of them were running a combination of Linux or Unix and Windows. This shows that there is little sign that "Linux will 'hit a wall', the analysts suggested in a research note published this week.

The revelation comes on the heels of a statement by a senior executive of IBM in February that "40 percent of [IBM's] mainframe customers are on Linux on zSeries". Rich Lechner, IBM's vice-president of virtualization, said that "the greatest penetration [IBM] ever anticipated was 25 percent".

According to Gartner analyst George Weiss: "Nothing in this [latest] survey reveals any factors that would suggest the momentum in favour of Linux will 'hit a wall'." But Weiss also cautions that "the more complex Linux platform deployments become...the more likely it is that costs will approach, if not exceed, those of other [operating system] environments".

Gartner asked attendees of its Data Center Conference to say what the makeup of their major enterprise data center was. The largest section, 40 percent, said it comprised mainframes running Unix, Linux and Windows. Fourteen percent said they had a mainframe with just Unix and Windows, 4 percent were running Windows on a mainframe, and just 1 percent had a mainframe running Unix only.

According to the Gartner results, there was no separate section for a mainframe just running Linux without Windows.

The second largest group, 24 percent, said they were running with Unix, Linux and Windows but without a mainframe. Ten percent of the total group questioned were running Unix and Windows but not running any mainframe systems, 3 percent were using Windows and Linux in a mainframe-free environment, and only 4 percent were running Windows without mainframe hardware.

"For now, reported user experience with Linux continues to be positive," Weiss wrote, "which should prove beneficial for growth and adoption rates".

According to Weiss' note, 31 percent of those surveyed said that they were planning to increase their Linux expenditure rapidly, while 51 percent said it would grow moderately. Just three percent said that their spending on Linux would decrease moderately or strongly.

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