Linux in the Enterprise – ZDNet

ZDNet asks if Is Linux is taking over the enterprise:

Linux is enjoying two major advantages in the current market. For existing users of Unix systems, it offers a way forward that promises to slash hardware costs by reducing dependence on proprietary architectures. Why pay up big bucks for a dedicated Sun or Alpha box when the same task can be accomplished with cheap Taiwanese components?

“We found ourselves replacing boxes costing $60,000 with new ones priced at about $10,000, saving $50,000 per server,” Joe Barker, senior systems engineer at, noted in a white paper last year. “When calculating the economics, most people focus on free licenses, saving about $500 per box. This is trivial compared to the savings from Linux versus Unix servers.”

That point hasn’t been lost on the major Unix players. “The attraction of Linux is the commodity hardware that it runs on,” says Duncan Bennet, director of Linux products for Sun Microsystems, which itself recently began selling low-end Intel-based servers that can run either Linux or Solaris, Sun’s own Unix variant.

In the Windows server market, the hardware argument is obviously less relevant. Until recently Linux’s main advantage has been the widespread belief that it provides a more stable operating environment. “Linux is rating pretty well,” says Lawrence. “It’s stable, it’s reliable, and security is a good story.”

This year, however, it has also benefited from Microsoft’s unpopular switch to an ongoing licensing model for its enterprise products. Quantifying this difference is challenging, but for companies seeking to cut costs, Linux has developed much greater appeal as a result of a decision by its major market rival.

A nice, long story, but it also ignores the “next users” – the 500 million consumers and many million SMEs in emerging markets who are not yet using a computer. They are the right market for Linux.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.