Report: Linux adoption highest among APAC SMBs

Driven by small and midsize businesses, adoption of Linux server highest in Asia-Pacific at 25 percent more than the United States, finds new study.

Linux server adoption among small and midsize businesses (SMBs) is reportedly 25 percent higher in the Asia-Pacific region than it is in the United States, and growing faster than the worldwide average, says a new study by Springboard Research and Spiceworks.

Released Monday, the report revealed that Linux servers in Asia-Pacific represented 5.1 percent of the total server market over the last 12 months, with Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) chalking up 4.7 percent, South America at 4.6 percent, and North America at 4.2 percent.

Linux adoption among SMBs was "robust", said the report, which identified SMBs as enterprises with one to 1,000 network devices.

SMBs made up 5.3 percent of the total server market share, with those in Asia-Pacific adopting Linux much faster than the worldwide average. In fact, the region's market share was almost 25 percent greater than in the United States and climbing monthly since January 2009, noted the report.

Jonathan Silber, senior research manager at Springboard Research, said increasingly more SMBs are adopting Linux as the developer ecosystem matures and consumer awareness grows.

Linux deployment is moving from early adopters to become ubiquitous among SMBs, especially in many of the emerging markets, Silber said in the report.

"More importantly, Linux has emerged from the current economic crisis with greater market share, given its low cost and breadth of free solutions," he added.

Within the Asia-Pacific SMB market, India led in Linux adoption with its market share at over 3.8 percent higher than the regional average. Vietnam and Thailand were closely behind India in adoption rate.

However, adoption was weakest in Japan and South Korea, while Australia, Taiwan, the Philippines and other Asia-Pacific countries saw moderate adoption.

In vertical industries, entertainment companies led in Linux adoption with 3.5 percent higher than their next closest challenger, engineering firms. The report noted the slowest growth in Linux adoption among insurance and aerospace companies.

Despite the rise of Linux in SMB markets, the report pointed out that the operating system remains only a "distant threat" to the dominant Microsoft server platforms, especially when customers are still not convinced Linux is a credible alternative to Windows.

The report noted that Microsoft servers monopolized 94.7 percent of the region's overall server market. Windows Server 2003 clocked its fastest growth over the last 12 months, growing 1.7 percent to account for 73 percent of the total market share.

In May 2009, Microsoft launched a server offering targeted specifically at small businesses and aimed at competing with Linux by touting a lower price and familiar Windows interface as selling points.

The Redmond giant also announced in March 2010 that it will discontinue its server targeted at midsize businesses, while maintaining its lower-end package for small businesses.

The study was conducted in January and February 2010 with over 1,000 SMBs, augmented by additional insight from 90,000 IT professional users of Spiceworks across the Asia-Pacific region.

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