After more than a decade of Linux vendors trying to grow into the enterprise -- and Red Hat, the poster child for Linux, approaching $1 billion in annual revenue -- it's easy to presume that Linux is pervasive in businesses. It is, but as the Linux Foundation's enterprise survey finds, there are still barriers to overcome. The survey also shows new data showing Windows -- not Unix -- as the primary operating system being migrated to Linux.
The foundation surveyed 428 IT professionals from organizations with 500 or more employees or with at least $500 million in yearly revenue. North American companies were represented by 42 percent of the respondents, while European and Asian firms were represented by 21 and 15 percent, respectively. It's unclear how large of a percentage of respondents were sourced from the Linux Foundation's end-user council (which would be more prone to using open source) versus a broader sampling of IT respondents. That said, the survey results bode well for further Linux growth -- and serve as a caution for Microsoft.
Linux grows at Windows' expense
In the survey, 84 percent of respondents reported their company's usage of Linux grew over the past 12 months. Eighty percent of respondents said that their company would increase Linux use over the next five years.
By contrast, only 27 percent of respondents stated that their company plans to increase usage of Windows over the next five years. That's a threefold jump in growth for Linux in the enterprise over the next five years than for Windows. But before you get too happy, realize that Windows has a substantially higher market share than Linux in enterprises.
What Linux fans can get excited about -- and what should worry Microsoft -- is where Linux deployments have been coming from: Windows. Over the past two years, 39 percent of respondents claimed that their companies' Linux deployments have been migrations from Windows. The portion of migrations from Unix to Linux -- the traditional vector -- was 35 percent.