Big Business, Big Linux

IT funds may be short, but The Linux Foundation has found that companies are still investing in Linux for cloud computing, "Big Data," and greenfield deployments.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Linux has found a home for itself in the office.

Linux has found a home for itself in the office.

Will your business move to Windows 8 server? Will your office support iPads for work? I don't know. I do know that chances are your enterprise is very likely to increase its use of Linux.

According to new report by The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, "Linux Adoption Trends 2012: A Survey of Enterprise End Users," in a lousy IT economy Linux is still growing by leaps and bounds.

How fast it is growing? The report states, "Eighty-four percent of respondents report that their organizations have expanded Linux usage in the last 12 months, with 82% planning on continuing that expansion into the year ahead. The 5-year outlook indicates an even longer-term commitment to the platform among 79.8% of Linux users surveyed, who say the use of Linux in their company or organization will increase relative to other operating systems during this time period."

Windows? More than 25% are planning to decrease the number of Windows servers, while only 21.7% of respondents are planning an increase in Windows servers during this time period.

For companies that are moving to Big Data, such as Wal-Mart and Intuit, the Linux Foundation found that "nearly 72% are choosing Linux to support it. Most enterprises expressed concern with the rapid growth of data, and Linux is clearly the platform of choice to address it. Only 35.9% are planning to use Windows to meet the demands of this new environment."

As for the cloud, the Foundation found that "Cloud computing continues its steady adoption across all enterprises worldwide, and this trend is reflected in our survey. This year we saw a 34% increase in organizations migrating some of their applications to cloud-based computing. All told, 61% of organizations now cite cloud-based applications, whether public, private, or hybrid. Of those users in the cloud, 66% are using Linux as their primary platform, up 4.7% from last year. Going forward, 34.9% of organizations are planning to migrate more applications to the cloud, up from 26% last year."

So why are people moving to Linux for their servers and cloud? Total cost of ownership (TCO), 70%; feature set/technical superiority, 68.6%; and security, 64.6% continue to be Linux's major adoption drivers. It's also noteworthy, when you can't go a day without hearing about another major security problem, such as the massive holes in Oracle's DBMS software, that 77.2% of the survey's respondents consider Linux to be more secure than other operating systems.

It used to be that Linux gained its market-share from cannibalizing Unix servers. That seems to no longer be the case. According to this study, in the last two years 71.6% of new Linux deployments have been in brand new applications and green deployments. By comparison, 38.5% were migrations from Windows and 34.5% were from Unix.

Of course, as the Linux Foundation admits, their results come from "enterprise users who are motivated to take a survey from The Linux Foundation are not an unbiased lot, but the size of these organizations, their buying power and technical prowess - as filtered by The Linux Foundation and Yeoman - can provide important guidance both for Linux vendors and developers, as well as their competitors."

The Foundation has a point. The survey covered 428 respondents at organizations with $500 million or more a year in revenues or greater than 500 employees. Companies surveyed included Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Bristol-Myers Squibb, NTT, Deutsche Bank, DreamWorks, ADP, Bank of New York, NYSE, NASDAQ QMX, Goodrich, MetLife, AIG, and many more. These companies aren't using Linux for trivial jobs either. 69.1% these companies plan in the next twelve months to use Linux for more mission-critical workloads. In other words, big companies doing big work are leading the way to Linux.

Linux tie image by adpowers, CC 2.0.

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