A new Linux Foundation survey on enterprise adoption of Linux indicates that growth in Linux usage is being driven by factors such as big data, cloud computing and virtualization, among others.
Linux is poised for
continued growth among new and existing users thanks to lower total cost of
ownership, technical features and security, among other reasons, according a
recent Linux Foundation survey.
The January 2012
report from the Linux Foundation and Yeoman Technology Group titled "Linux
Adoption Trends 2012: A Survey of Enterprise End Users" claims that affinity
among new and veteran Linux users continues to increase at the expense of
Windows and Unix. Eighty-four percent of organizations currently using Linux
have expanded its usage over the last 12 months and continue to rely on it as
their preferred platform for "Greenfield" deployments, as well as for
According to the
Linux Foundation, part of this growth is due to Linux's role in two of today's
biggest IT trends: supporting the increasing level of big data and achieving
productivity and security gains with virtualization and cloud computing.
Enterprise Linux users show steady progress on all of these fronts and a clear
preference for Linux as the foundation for these trends.
Indeed, the survey
showed that once enterprises deploy Linux, they stick with Linux and plan to
add more Linux because the platform provides sustainable benefits that include
a broad feature set, security, cost-savings and flexibility. Linux also
supports the next generation of computing, supporting growing levels of data,
cloud computing and virtualization. "We also expect to see it support the
social enterprise, energy-efficiency projects and an increasingly connected
world in the year ahead," the report said.
foundation polled 1,893 enterprise Linux users, the results of this survey were
based on responses from 428 IT professionals from organizations with $500
million or more a year in revenue or 500-plus employees. The vast majority,
65.6 percent, identified themselves as IT staff or developers and represented a
wide range of industries. Users from the United States and Canada made up 41.6
percent of the respondents, 27.1 percent were from Europe, and 15.2 percent from
The survey also
showed that eight out of 10 respondents say that they have both added Linux
servers in the last 12 months and plan to add more in the next 12 months, with
the same number planning to add more Linux in the next five years. Only 21.7
percent of respondents said they are planning an increase in Windows
servers during that same period-the next five years.
In addition, more
than 75 percent of respondents expressed concern about big data, and nearly 72
percent 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 percent are planning to use Windows to meet the demands
of this new environment.
Moreover, Linux users
said they see fewer issues impeding the operating system's success. Technical
issues cited by Linux users dropped 40 percent, from 20.3 percent in 2010 to
12.2 percent today. Twenty-two percent fewer respondents cited perception by
management as an issue, and 10 percent fewer said there are no issues at all
impeding the success of Linux.
According to the
survey, the top driver for enterprise users adopting Linux was lower total cost
of ownership at 70 percent. Second was features and technical superiority at
68.6 percent. And third was security, with 63.6 percent of respondents citing
it as their main reason for moving to Linux.
Cloud computing is
another growth area for Linux users. For 2012 there is a 34 percent increase in
organizations migrating some of their applications to cloud-based computing.
Indeed, all told, 61 percent of organizations now cite cloud-based
applications, whether public, private or hybrid.
Of those users in the
cloud, 66 percent are using Linux as their primary platform, up 4.7 percent
from last year. Going forward, 34.9 percent of organizations are planning to migrate
more applications to the cloud, up from 26 percent last year.
Virtualization on x86
platforms also continues to rise. The survey showed that 72 percent of
organizations said they expect to have 25 percent or more of their servers
virtualized by this year's end. More than 46 percent of organizations expect to
have 50 percent or more of their platforms virtualized by the end of 2012, an
18 percent increase over 2011.
However, there remain
some issues with Linux adoption. For instance, 39.6 percent of respondents said
perception issues by their management are an impediment to having more Linux
success in their organization.
"When asked what
factors were impeding Linux from having more success in their organizations, we
found that technical concerns among respondents dropped 40 percent, from 20.3
percent in 2010 to 12.2 percent today," the report said. "Twenty-two
percent fewer respondents cite perception by management as an issue-though this
remains the number one concern among respondents-and 10 percent fewer say there
are no issues at all impeding the success of Linux."
And despite the
glowing news of increased adoption, survey respondents cited several remaining
concerns about Linux: 35.3 percent cited interoperability with other
platforms/applications as a concern, 32.5 percent cited the ability to find
talent to support Linux as another concern, and 30.6 percent cited driver
availability. Other concerns included fragmentation, legal issues and
compliance, dominance of a single vendor, and lack of native features.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.