IDC: Downturn to drive Linux adoption

IT decision-makers are planning to increase the use of server and client-side Linux due to the economic climate, analyst firm IDC has found

The current economic downturn is set to drive Linux adoption, according to a white paper by research organisation IDC.

In a survey of 330 organisations with 100 or more employees, IDC found that 53 percent were planning to increase adoption of Linux on servers, while 48 percent were planning to increase Linux on clients, as a direct result of the economic climate. The survey was conducted in February, and the white paper published on Monday.

Sixty-two percent of respondents — who comprised chief information officers, IT vice presidents, IT directors, managers and consultants — said their budget had been cut or that "they are moving more cautiously and investing only where needed", wrote white-paper authors Al Gillen and Brett Waldman.

"Economic downturns have the tendency to accelerate emerging technologies, boost the adoption of effective solutions, and punish solutions that are not cost competitive," Gillen, an IDC system software analyst, said in a statement. "This survey confirms that Linux users view [Linux] favourably, and this view places Linux in a competitive position to emerge from this downturn as a stronger solution."

Among the survey participants, 55 percent already had Linux server operating systems in use and 39 percent had some Unix server operating systems, while 97 percent had Windows server operating systems deployed. Twenty percent of respondents said they were in the process of evaluating whether to increase Linux adoption, and 27 percent said they would not increase Linux adoption.

IDC said in the white paper that Linux adoption on the server side could be accelerated by the availability of "ultra-low-cost" servers. Although the survey and white paper were sponsored by Novell, IDC said the ultra-low-cost server trend might not be positive for Linux server operating-system vendors, and may lead to the increased uptake of "non-paid Linux solutions".

On the client side, Linux adoption could be increased by use of netbooks running pared down Linux operating systems, IDC said. However, 20 percent of respondents were still evaluating client-side Linux, while 32 percent said they were not planning to increase its adoption.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they plan to evaluate, deploy or increase their use of virtualisation software within Linux operating systems over the next 12 to 24 months, while nearly half of the participants stated that the move to virtualisation is accelerating their adoption of Linux.

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