Big business buys into big Linux

The Linux Foundation's latest enterprise survey shows Linux is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The Linux Foundation and Yeoman Technology Group surveyed 355 IT staffers who work for enterprises with sales of more than $500 million and/or 500+ employees. Guess what? They found — as the foundation reveals in its 2013 Enterprise End User Report, Linux Adoption: Third Annual Survey of World's Largest Enterprise Linux Users in the most recent quarter (4Q12) — that big business loves big Linux.

In big business, Linux is on the way up. Windows, not so much.

That shouldn't come as any surprise. IDG, for example, found in the last quarter of 2012 that while overall server revenue is only growing at 3.1 percent year over year, Linux experienced 12.7 percent year-over-year growth for the quarter, while Windows only increased 3.2 percent and Unix was down 24.1 percent.

The reasons for this are the same as always. According to the foundation, "The top three drivers for adopting Linux use are its feature set (75 percent), lower TCO (71 percent), and security (69 percent). At the same time, management's view of Linux has remained consistently positive, with a reported 95 percent viewing the platform as equally or more strategic to the organization every year we have conducted the survey."

The top technologists, from companies such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and the NYSE, identify Linux as the dominant platform for cloud computing, with nearly 76 percent using Linux servers for cloud and 74 percent planning to maintain or increase Linux use for future cloud initiatives. In the area of new applications, services, and greenfield deployments, more than 75 percent of organizations report deploying Linux in the last two years.

It's more than just the cloud, though. The report continues:

A dramatic increase in the use of Linux for mission-critical workloads has grown consistently year over year to reach 73 percent in 2013. Reliance on Linux for cloud and big data is a strong contributing factor. And, the future looks bright for the operating system with 80 percent of the world's largest enterprises planning to increase their use of Linux servers over the next five years, while the number who plan to purchase Windows servers is at an all-time low of 20 percent.

With numbers like that, you won't be surprised to know that "management's perception of Linux remains increasingly positive, with 95 percent viewing Linux as equally or more strategic to the organization than in prior years". The FUD about Linux has plummeted over time.

The one real problem is that all this growth has led to real concerns about finding trained Linux talent. As a consequence, the Linux Foundation has seen enrollment in Linux training programs dramatically increase over the last few years and an increase in the number of enterprise users contributing to the Linux community.

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