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 mission-critical applications.
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.
Although the 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 Asia.
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.