IBM Report Lauds Benefits of Linux

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-08-31 Print this article Print

Eager to promote the "Linux point of view," IBM sponsored a research report praising the low TCO, and other advantages, of Linux.

IBM seems to be following in Microsofts footsteps. On Tuesday, IBM held a roundtable conference call to highlight the findings of two recent Linux research reports it had sponsored.

The issue of sponsored research has long been a controversial one, with Microsoft coming under fire for its "Get the Facts" campaign, which largely uses Microsoft sponsored research to compare the advantages of using Windows Server over Linux.
Sponsored research has been in the spotlight recently following a story first reported on that Microsoft had approached the OSDL (Open Source Development Labs) to work on a research project involving analysis of Linux and Windows.
OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen has ruled out any such co-operation between the two companies. Asked by if IBMs sponsored research was a response to the Microsoft "Get the Facts" campaign, Scott Handy, the vice president of Worldwide Linux for IBM, said that, while it was not a direct response, "we get a lot of requests from customers for research that gives them the other side, the Linux point of view. Read more here about Microsofts attempts to woo OSDL for a new Linux offensive. "I firmly believe customers find us [IBM] credible, as we have businesses around Linux, Unix and Windows, and that adds balance," he said. Handy, who moderated the roundtable discussion, said that the momentum around Linux has continued unabated and that there has been steady growth in the Linux server market over past five years. "Last quarter there was $1.5 billion in Linux server sales as an industry, with Linux server revenue growing eight times that of the overall server market at 42 percent, versus five percent growth for the total sever market. That growth was also more than four times that of Microsofts Windows Server, which gained 10 percent," Handy said. The quarterly figures also showed that IBM continued to be the dominant Linux server supplier, continuing to take share on the x86 hardware front, while some 40 percent of its market share came from Linux on Power and the mainframe, Handy said. "A third of workloads now being deployed on Linux come from Unix, a third from Windows and a third are new installations," Handy said. While the research reports had been sponsored by IBM, Handy said the methodologies were those of the analyst firms and represented customer interviews and input. The research report by the Robert Francis Group was released this month and is entitled "TCO for Application Servers: Comparing Linux with Windows and Solaris." It is an update and extension of a 2002 TCO study that compared Linux to Solaris and Windows, said Chad Robinson, a senior RFG analyst. "TCO gets a lot of criticism, as these are numbers you can push back and forth, and we believe that based on what weve found, Linux is of significant value to large enterprises," Robinson said. "We talked to IT executives and their direct reports. But these are companies with large systems and lots of IT staff, so you need to bear that in mind." The study found that the way that people look at Linux in the enterprise is evolving and moving away from a fixation on TCO. But TCO still remains an important element of short-term and long-term strategic value from their deployments, Robinson added. Next Page: Linux is cheaper, but thats not all.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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