Linux popularity rises as enterprises conquer 'irrational fears', claims SUSE

Security cited as major attraction

UK businesses have conquered their "irrational fears" of Linux and the majority now depend on it for some part of their mainstream business applications, a survey of 200 IT executives has found.

The survey was carried out on behalf of Linux stalwart SUSE, so it was hardly going to report poor uptake or interest but the central findings are nevertheless plausible.

More than two decades after its first appearance, an impressive 83 percent of respondents said their organisations were using Linux in their server installations, with 40 percent as the primary server OS.

The survey did find a surprisingly large planned take-up of Linux over the next 12 months. Currently, only 14 percent were running web servers on Linux but another 76 percent said they were looking to deploy the OS in this capacity within a year.

The same held for other applications; 6 percent used Linux for Oracle databases but 63 percent believed they would do so soon. Similarly impressive uptakes were expected for data warehousing, business intelligence, CRM and SAP environments.

"A few organisations still have irrational fears about Linux environments, but these results prove that Linux is a true enterprise-grade operating system," said SUSE UK managing director, Brian Green.

"The financial services industry has some of the most mission critical IT environments and is a prime example of a sector which has already embraced Linux as a cost-effective and reliable solution to its IT challenges."

The most often-cited issue for Linux migration was security, mentioned by 61 percent, cost of ownership (46 percent), and high availability (44 percent). The issue of avoiding vendor lock-in was mentioned by 21 percent.

The fact that Linux is a "community ecosystem" was mentioned last in the order of priorities is arguably good news for Linux in that it suggests people are assessing the OS on a technical rather than ideological basis.

Respondents' top concern about Linux servers compared to Unix was over the issue of support. Interestingly, 43 percent also mentioned security although Unix has decades of development behind it.

"The relevant question today is not why or when you should be using Linux, it's where you should be using Linux. Enterprises that are not actively considering Linux as the foundation of their data centre transformation or modernisation initiatives are in danger of being left behind financially and technologically," said SUSE vice president for global marketing, Michael Miller.

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