Linux Servers Selling Strong


Once relegated to small businesses and departments, Linux servers are
increasingly being called upon to process enterprise-class workloads,
driving applications and databases.


This is one of the main thrusts behind the volcanic growth in Linux server
shipments, which grew from 15 percent in 2001 to 40 percent in 2004,
according to research from IDC.


Moreover, gone are the days when customers shelled out for Linux servers
with single processors; the majority shipped today are dual-processor
machines capable of powering larger workloads.


Dual-processor systems account for 74 percent of total Linux server shipment
volume in the market today, ballooning at a compound annual growth rate
(CAGR) of 89.8 percent from 1998 to 2003.


The open-source operating system is also appearing in more form factors,
such as in blade servers, which are small one to two-processor systems that can
be pulled in and out of a chassis and use fewer cables than their
rack-mounted counterparts.


For example, IDC said Linux represents
about half of the worldwide server blade market, in terms of shipments,
compared to 20 percent of all rack-optimized servers and 11 percent of all
standalone servers.


With the high-tech industry emerging from a spending slump the last few
years, lower cost remains the primary reason for the explosion of popularity
for Linux. But the software has also been buoyed by constant marketing and
hype from server vendors, such as HP , IBM
and Dell.


Linux use is also growing, because version 2.6 of the kernel is more
sophisticated than previous versions, tailored more than ever for the
enterprise, as it is supporting scalable servers, middleware and databases.

Unix and Windows-based machines still perform reasonably well, according to
IDC, but those entrenched systems no longer enjoy the same volcanic growth
as Linux. IDC believes Linux growth will continue as businesses find more
variety in deploying the OS in their data centers.


“Customers will be able to deploy Linux workloads on scale-out clusters of
small Linux servers, on Linux servers with larger form factors, or in
partitions of high-end enterprise scalable servers,” said Jean S. Bozman,
vice president of Enterprise Computing at IDC.


Going forward, Linux server customer revenue is expected to reach $9.1
billion in 2008, driven by a CAGR of 22.8 percent, compared to the broad
market CAGR of 3.8 percent for the worldwide server market.


IDC also said that Linux server shipments will be 25.7 percent of
worldwide server shipments in 2008, up from 15.6 percent of worldwide server
shipments in 2003.

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