30 November 2004 Linux is set to increase its influence within the enterprise, with nearly an eight-fold increase in the number using the operating system to run mission-critical business software expected in the next three years.
According to enterprise application analysts Peerstone Research, 15% of enterprise resource planning applications will be run on Linux servers by 2007, up from just 2% currently.
Indeed evidence of Linux’s breakthrough into the core enterprise stack was echoed by IBM, which said software revenue on Linux had quadrupled between 2002 and 2003.
Linux was starting from a small base because ERP vendors had been slow to port their applications to the open source operating system, said Jeff Gould, Peerstone’s CEO. “Our first conclusion from this is that Linux is not going to take over the world…they are still a considerable distance behind Windows, but their growth rate is much higher.”
Windows currently has a 28% share of the market, with Unix accounting for 65% according to Peerstone. But, within three years, Unix will have dropped to 50%, with Microsoft stagnating at 27%.
But while ERP vendors may have initially been slow to support Linux, they now constitute some of its most vociferous exponents. For example, Oracle has redefined its entire strategy to favour deployment of its database and applications on commodity servers running Linux.
Much of the growth in popularity of Linux will come from old Unix users. IBM and HP have both started to ease away from their Unix systems in favour of Linux. And while Sun remains committed to Unix, with its recent launch of Solaris 10, it is increasingly looking as if it is swimming against the tide.
But not all Unix users will go open source. One in five Unix users is expected to favour Windows. This is partly explained by the relative cost of hiring Linux support staff, explained Gould.