Private clouds driving up Linux uptake in Australia: IDC

Private cloud adoption will drive converged systems adoption, which will in turn drive uptake of Linux-based servers, according to IDC research director Matthew Oostveen.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

As enterprises move to adopt private clouds in the backend, Linux will increasingly become the operating system of choice for server infrastructures in Australia, according to IDC research director Matthew Oostveen.

In financial year 2012, AU$235.35 million was spent on Linux servers, and in the same year, one in four servers shipped in the Australian market was Linux-based. Approximately 29 percent of all the money spent on server infrastructure in Australia went towards Linux servers.

Based on those figures, IDC believes Linux is now running more enterprise mission and business critical workloads than other OSes such as Windows Server.

As CIOs and IT managers grapple with shrinking IT budgets, many are realising just how inefficiently they have been running their server environment, Oostveen said.

"The cost of infrastructure is cheap — what's expensive is actually running it, managing it, and administrating it," Oostveen said. This is mainly due to the advent of virtualisation, according to the analyst, and the cost is driven up because archaic ways of managing old server environments — the one server, one OS, one application approach — is still being used today.

"We are throwing too many people at a problem, and the people costs are getting out of control," he said.

Many IT managers have cottoned on to this issue, which has lead to huge amounts of server migration, a large portion of which are moving off-premise, according to IDC. This includes moving assets into the cloud, co-location, and managed services.

But what is left behind in on-premise datacentres will go through large transformations, Oostveen said. For Australia, 2013 will be the year of the converged infrastructure, with IDC predicting 66 per cent of servers shipped this year will be some kind of converged system, be it a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) or a VCE Vblock.

The reason behind the uptake is the increasing demand for private cloud and these converged systems ease the adoption process, Oostveen said.

"The dirty little secret of the IT industry is that private clouds are really hard to build," he said. "CIOs tear their hair out with these types of deployment, and if there is a way to buy infrastructure that enables them to just drop it into their datacentres, they will.

"This allows CIOs and organisations to divert innovation away from infrastructure, where they probably won't get the same return on investment than if they were to direct innovation towards services and software."

When these converged systems are used within a datacentre, there is a high probability the OS of choice for the servers will be Linux, according to Oostveen.

"We are going to see a lot of Linux acceleration, and that number is coming up this year," he said.

While Windows-based servers still dominate the market, that number is shrinking, according to IDC figures, and Linux is the only OS that has experienced growth in recent times.

As the server industry continues to evolve, the favoured x86 architecture, which is great for private cloud and on-premise systems, "skinless" servers running mobile CPUs will become more popular, IDC claims.

"They will be skinny servers, run by skinny OSes," Oostveen said. "At IDC, we believe Linux is going to be the OS of choice when you start building out these new infrastructures."

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