Should we be ready, as Kent Brockman might put it, to "welcome our new Microsoft overlords," or are the IDC Quarterly Server Tracker figures not really reflecting the reality of how servers are used in businesses? I, for one, think that what IDC is measuring and what server operating systems people are really using are two entirely different things.
According to the IDG server report, the annual rate at which Linux is growing in the x86 server space has fallen from around 53 percent in 2003 to a negative 4 percent growth in calendar year 2006. During this same three-year span, Windows Server continued to report positive annual growth, outpacing the total growth rate in the x86 market by more than 4 percent in 2006. At the same time, worldwide Linux x86 server shipments dropped from the huge annual growth rate of about 45 percent in 2003 to growth of less than 10 percent in 2006. In short, the IDC figures show that Linux has actually lost market share to Windows Server over the last three years.
So it is time to start screaming in panic, start selling Novell and Red Hat stock for anything we can get, and enroll in MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) night classes? Eh, I dont think so.
Lets look closer at what IDG is really doing. First, the actual number of Linux servers is still increasing. Whats "decreased" is its rate of increase. Despite the impression you may get from Microsoft ads, almost no one is turning in Linux servers for Windows servers.