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Businesses Linux Business Microsoft Unix Windows Linux

Linux To Take Over Microsoft In Enterprises 237

shougyin writes "For years, Linux has enjoyed much of its success as a replacement for Unix. Companies turned to Linux to replace Unix servers, or for new deployments within a Unix-heavy environment. Linux is still king there, but it's starting to encroach on Microsoft as well. Big companies are planning overwhelmingly (76.4%) to add more Linux servers in the next year, and less than half (41.2%) of the companies are planning to add Windows servers in the next year. Even more interesting, nearly half (43.6%) are actively planning to decrease use of Windows servers in the next year."
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Linux To Take Over Microsoft In Enterprises

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  • Wow . . . (Score:4, Funny)

    by Drewcool ( 726257 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:25AM (#33929802)
    For a second, I read that as "Linus To Take Over Microsoft".
  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:28AM (#33929812)

    I know quite a few companies who run 3-4 Windows servers for ActiveDirectory domain controllers and a lot of Linux servers as AD clients.

    Once Samba4 is released, these Windows servers could be replaced as well.

    • by rjch ( 544288 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:36AM (#33929846) Homepage

      Once Samba4 is released, these Windows servers could be replaced as well.

      Samba 4 has been in various stages of alpha for the last five years - or is it six?

      Personally, I have considered a Samba 4 installation in only one place - a volunteer organisation that simply didn't have the budget for anything else. I'm still sniffing around for a surplus Windows Server license to replace it.

      For an alpha release, Samba 4 is remarkably usable. However the time and effort that I have spent installing Samba 4 would have cost this organisation a fair bit more than the cost of a Windows Server 2008 Standard license. I don't see that reducing a huge amount even when Samba 4 is released - there's a lot of configuration involved to get DHCP, DNS and Samba 4 talking to each other properly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shitzu ( 931108 )

        However the time and effort that I have spent installing Samba 4 would have cost this organisation a fair bit more than the cost of a Windows Server 2008 Standard license

        Perhaps. But imagine that you ditch windows servers altogether and save quite a bit from server CALs. Depending on the network size and configuration that could save a significant amount.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          He is ignoring the cost of CAL's. I'm betting his entire shop is out of compliance on CAL's

          • If its a volunteer organization with only 5 computers, theres not much way to be out of compliance with Server 2008 cals, since the first 5 are generally bundled (depending where and how you buy it). When someone talks of a volunteer organization without the budget for a single $500 copy of Windows Server, youre usually not talking someone with scads of workstations.
      • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:55AM (#33929930)

        Any organization small enough to have trouble funding and domain controller Doesn't need one.

        Just because the only tool you know how to use is a hammer doesn't mean every problem is a nail.

        • by hitmark ( 640295 )

          Just shows how effective the MCE program have been. Its basic level is is all about creating sales packages for AD installations.

        • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

          Any organization small enough to have trouble funding and domain controller Doesn't need one.

          Are you saying that the client/server model does not scale below a certain number of hosts?

          I can see where a capital expense for an office of 5 or so people might be a bit severe, but where a domain is still necessary. Say, where there's a reason to have cleanly segregated user permissions/access controls (which Samba3 does not provide easily/without significant knowledge of how to set it up/reoccurring user admin costs).

      • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:58AM (#33929948)

        I've installed Samba4 on a test site. Installation was quite easy, even considering the DNS integration. However, I couldn't manage to set up DHCP with dynamic DNS updates. Though I see that they are adding an embedded DNS server into the Samba4 distribution (as they did with Kerberos and LDAP servers), so it should be much easier in the future.

        Also, Microsoft tools for administration are seriously better than anything Samba4 has.

        • Would you care to comment on whether Samba4 is useful only for replicating MS technologies in the network, or also for use in a pure Linux/POSIX environment (UNIX, Linux, Mac)?

          Can you use pure Kerberos (not the MS version), or is that recommended?

          And can Linux Terminal Server Project tie into this in some way (serve an appropriate terminal image based on a Samba profile)?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cyberax ( 705495 )

            "Would you care to comment on whether Samba4 is useful only for replicating MS technologies in the network, or also for use in a pure Linux/POSIX environment (UNIX, Linux, Mac)?"

            It's certainly useful. I'm using it in almost Linux-only environment.

            "Can you use pure Kerberos (not the MS version), or is that recommended?"

            Yes. It's possible to use Samba4 as a pure Kerberos server, and it works just fine. In fact, I've first installed OpenLDAP+Kerberos and then migrated everything on this test site to Samba4.

            A p

            • Thanks for your insight.

              I guess Linux is close to solving one of the major pieces of the puzzle (directory services) that has it beat by Windows.

              I've always thought that if I ever got together with a few other people to form a company that we'd start out with FOSS right from the beginning and not have any Windows/Word/Excel legacy to worry about.

              Send PDFs to clients, not Word or Writer docs.

              And paperless, too.

      • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @04:56AM (#33930202)

        However the time and effort that I have spent installing Samba 4 would have cost this organisation a fair bit more than the cost of a Windows Server 2008 Standard license

        Does trhat count the time it took you to get trained in Windows Server 2008, Active Directory and all the other gubbins? IIRC there was a fair learning curve going from domains to AD. (and we'll ignore the cost of the CALs)

        This annoys me a little about Linux migrations, people say how much more it costs based on the fact that they already know Windows, then compare that to the time taken to not only implement but also learn the Linux equivalent. Now you've done it once, you should be able to put in another Samba4 system without any fuss, surely?

        and you can, of course, supply your config experience to the community - or to your own, ad-laden, blog. Might as well earn a little from getting people to come read what you did.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          This annoys me a little about Linux migrations, people say how much more it costs based on the fact that they already know Windows, then compare that to the time taken to not only implement but also learn the Linux equivalent.

          People do that because its the real life situation and *should* be considered - its not like the migration is happening from a blank slate to one or the other, its going from one to the other and thus the advantage of pre-existing experience in the familiar should be considered.

          • ah you miss the point slightly - the time it took to gain the experience on Windows needs to be factored in just as much as the time taken to learn the Linux stuff, otherwise you're not being fair in comparing the two.

            Anyone who is experienced in using Windows took time to get that, it wasn't free.

            • the time it took to gain the experience on Windows needs to be factored in just as much as the time taken to learn the Linux stuff

              There is far more local competition among candidates for employment for a Windows sysadmin job than for a Linux one. So if there are people living within 5 mi (8 km) of your office who have already gained this experience and are proudly listing it on their resumes, that cost gets figured into the starting pay that your organization offers. So when switching to a different server operating system, your organization has to either retrain or rehire sysadmins.

          • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

            actually that should not be considered. That prior investment in Windows/AD experience is what accountants would call a sunk cost. Its time and money already spent regardless of how you move forward. If it is used as a justification to never change vendors or technology than its denying you opportunities for other cost savings, efficiency, and value.

            Unless you can't afford to make the investment in learning something new, already knowing Windows is a bad argument for staying with the platform if it would

      • by ewe2 ( 47163 )

        My problem isn't so much the learning curve of replacing one with the other - it's the competency of whoever ends up doing it. Whatever the business case, surely the majority of admins are going to be Windows-only: how is that going to succeed? If you have a business case and a good Unix admin, terrific. But I'm guessing that Microsoft isn't so worried about Unix servers taking over the enterprise because they have to get past the Microsoft-trained admin. He's going to raise hell with the CTO if he's forced

      • I'm still sniffing around for a surplus Windows Server license to replace it.

        I'm working at a small but growing office. We considered putting a Windows server in the mix, but with the CAL's it's just not in the budget. Once we got samba working there was no incentive to add it later. The registry tweaks for Windows 7 were painful at first, but once you get the process down it wasn't that bad. You do give up some functionality but save a lot of cash.

        Microsoft are the ones shooting themselves in the foo

      • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

        I don't see that reducing a huge amount even when Samba 4 is released - there's a lot of configuration involved to get DHCP, DNS and Samba 4 talking to each other properly.

        It takes less than 20 minutes to half an hour if you've already got DDNS running on the network.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      To a large degree, yes, AD is the missing piece.

      Pretty much everything relies upon Active Directory. Unfortunately, the s4 implementation isn't there yet for basic stuff, nevermind being able to use later versions of Exchange (which is, as far as I can tell, one of the only reasons why people are moving to 2k8r2 if they've already got a substantial 2k3 install base).

      Pretty much the whole picture seems to be moving towards "linux" in one form or fashion. Popular virtualization technology, aside from the awkw

  • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:36AM (#33929842) Homepage

    This survey is not statistically representative by all means. It is done amidst users that already use Linux and done by a Linux advocacy. I am no MSFT fan. I have not had a Windows machine in my house since 1997 (and even that was Win 3.x running under OS2 Warp). However, the reality is not as rosy as this survey would like us to see.

    First of all, the majority of Windows users are SMEs and they are Windows _ONLY_. They _WILL_ buy more of the same and that is a definite. A lot of the rest is desktop estate and its essential dependencies - Exchange and their friends. 95% of these will be buying more of the same. There are very few successful desktop migrations to account for anything more than that. Even that will be an underestimate. 99% buying more of the same is more likely.

    That leaves "enterprise" backend use which is pretty much what this survey is about. There is a lively migration racket going on there nowdays as most of this runs in the form of Java and friends on top of middleware stacks. Every 1-2 years the latest and greatest backend idea comes along with its migration programme. As a result servers and stacks get chucked out and replaced by others.

    There Linux is gaining and the numbers are about right. However that is a very small portion of the market and misrepresenting it for the whole market is to the very best disingenuous. Additionally, it also completely ignores the "Elephant In The Corner of The Room". The merger of Sun and Oracle has created a vertical stack which will once again effectively compete for their place under the sun (pun intended) in the server room. Any stats regarding enterprise migration that assign (Sn)Oracle a negative year on year growth are frankly wishful thinking.

    • 62.6% of decision makers in SME's only know about the existence of Windows as a server OS.

      83.7% of decision makers would buy anything that is bought by the majority of their peers.

      4.23% of decision makers are fed up having to buy extra CALs for their Windows server whenever they hire people, 68.2% don't understand their licensing obligations or how the BSA can raid their premises as a result - and 53.1% wouldn't - frankly my dear - give a damn, even when they would understand the licensing.

      97.5% of marketin

    • Well if Linux is going to challenge MS for the SME business, some MS style marketing (which is exactly what this survey is) is likely to succeed.

      The other thing about looking at big companies, is that saying "this is what big companies do" is a great way to sell to SMEs. This may not be so true in technology businesses where start-ups have glamour, but it is true in most other sectors.

    • I've worked in SME's for the past few years and I've seen a definite, slow, consistent shift away from windows, though not necessarily to Linux. I get many, many requests for Mac computers.

      This, I think, is still a win for linux because of how much more close, even though significantly far apart, Mac OS and Linux are.

  • wake me up.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by batistuta ( 1794636 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:39AM (#33929864)

    wake me up when Linux starts taking over Microsoft in Desktops.

    I'm happy about it, but not surprised. As the old generation of IT admins go away, newer ones are more flexible and have ways of saving money without MS in the equation. Linux is not the only solution, but one competitive alternative. Different is the Desktop, partially because it is not baked up big companies like the kernel and enterprise tools are. Canonical is an exception, but sadly a more or less lonely one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 18, 2010 @03:45AM (#33929886)

    I thought it was very funny to see 41% called "less than half", and 44% called "almost half! :D

    Technically correct and true, yes, but I smell bias...

  • survey says... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I could see both big and small companies reducing their amount of microsoft servers in the future for a couple of reasons.
    1) They are joining their BPOS cloud services and therefore have less need for their own in house MS production servers. Large % of big business is joining the cloud.
    2) The new server topology for exchange requires whole new separate servers or hyperv virtual servers for edge (either way its a separate server license) in addition to their CAS, hub transport, mailbox servers, etc.

    • We're not a big company at all, but I'm looking at implementing Linux servers for the small businesses in this area.
      One of the main reasons is they primarily need central storage and backup, and often get by with using a simple mailbox without the Exchange/Outlook features.
      For our own use I've set up one Nagios server for business contracts and one Samba server for use in the unsafe network area (repairing PCs, often infected by malware).
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by shougyin ( 1920460 )
        Have you taken a look at ClearOS [clearfoundation.com]?
        • I've seen the website but haven't gotten around to run a test server with it yet.
          Looks very promising.
      • I'm a little unclear on why Nagios (which AFAIK is a server monitoring app) would have to do specifically with a file server that houses business contracts.

        • o.O We can't have our contracts trashing all over the place, which is why we need to monitor them to make sure they behave.
    • 1) I haven't seen a large amount of companies joining the cloud. Most of Microsoft Online we sell around here are to really small businesses. Problem with putting a large amount of email in the cloud is that means ALL your email traffic is external. Send a 5MB file to 4 other people, 25MB right there. Add 200 people doing that and you can bring down internet with email traffic alone, not to mention if your internet dies your email dies. Only time we sell to larger then 15 is when they are mostly remote.

      2) E

  • I am a nonbeliever (Score:3, Interesting)

    by prefec2 ( 875483 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @05:06AM (#33930250)

    I do not trust such assessments as much I do not trust assessments which point in the opposite direction. As much as I would like to see OS prevail CS, I do not believe this will happen any time soon or even in the distant future (under the assumption that our economic regime will not change).

    Anyway, a major show stopper for small business to convert to Linux-based infrastructures is the SBS from Microsoft. Small companies have as a service infrastructure these SBS servers, which provide a mail directory service, calendars, address books. It provides web based access to these services as well as an Outlook integration. And it comes with share-point, which is also a requirement. And finally it works with all these smartphones, especially Blackberries and iPhones.

    Therefore a migration effort has to take into account that the same functionality has to be provided with better QoS. While better QoS ist not the problem, the same functionality is a serious problem. Especially when it comes to more detailed properties.

    But even worse, migration cannot be done in an overnight attempt. These always fail and in the end you loose a customer and they switch to MS for the rest of their lives. Therefore you need a soft migration strategy. And this is the key problem here.

    While you can provide most features with lets say egroupware (which is not such a good idea, a servlet based approach would be better) you still need IMAP (dovecot), SMTP (postfix) and LDAP to model the mail service. Egroupware can also provide these calendars. But how do you replace Sharepoint? And especially how do you integrate with Sharepoint? While you switch to webdav oder sftp etc. the client's clients will not switch (at the same time). So you still need to integrate both services.

    I have not seen any generic strategy for this problem. And honestly there are hundreds of thousands of small companies using SBS. And bigger companies use similar services.And the Blackberry-integration into a replacement infrastructure is very important as all these business guys use it.

    • Sharepoint? Alfresco and KnowledgeTree are both better than SP. Exchange can be replaced rather easily by Citadel or Zimbra.
      • by prefec2 ( 875483 )

        Will they work with Outlook? And the more important thing: Can they work side by side with the old systems?

      • by jimicus ( 737525 )

        Don't know about Alfresco, but KnowledgeTree is only better than sharepoint at plain document management. If you want all the fancy "use it as the platform for simple web apps" stuff, you need to look elsewhere. Most Wiki software I've seen is great for making editable web pages, but lousy at being used as a platform for simple web apps. Closest I've seen to half-decent is TWiki, and it's nothing like as slick as sharepoint. No matter what you may think of it, that slickness sells.

        • by hitmark ( 640295 )

          How come any software from microsoft takes on the shape of a RAD system sooner or later? MS office with VBscripts, RAD. Sharepoint, apparenty a webapp RAD.

          • by jimicus ( 737525 )

            I would say it indicates that what the world needs is a RAD environment that allows you to build both the user interface and most if not all of the business logic using nothing but a GUI.

    • Sharepoint ....what exactly is this doing on a small business server ?

      Not multisite - And why are clients trying to integrate with a companies sharepoint server...?

      It's just providing webservices and acting as a document repository ..... this can be done much better with other systems ..?

  • Single sign on? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jernejk ( 984031 )

    Do we have AD like single sign on at least for linux servers? No? How about clients then? No?

    Seriously, how do you guys handle root password management for servers? SSH is not the real answer here, IMHO.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sique ( 173459 )

      You know, about 30 years ago (1978 to be specific) there was this strange thing called "KERBEROS"... it still works. Single-Sign-On is a non-issue in the UNIX-world. It was solved 30 years ago.

      • Re:Single sign on? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Stumbles ( 602007 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @06:49AM (#33930640)
        LOl, so true. The sad thing is Microsoft took Kerberos, bastardized it and changed the name to AD so most people are ignorant that "Single Signon" technology was not developed by Uncle Bill. But then most technologies gives Microsoft fits when they try to develop their own code. Anyone remember trumpet winsock from the early days of Win95? What a horrible POS that was and Microsoft finally threw in the towel and used the BSD TCP/IP stack.
      • You know, about 30 years ago (1978 to be specific) there was this strange thing called "KERBEROS"... it still works. Single-Sign-On is a non-issue in the UNIX-world. It was solved 30 years ago.

        Another great argument for thinking a little bit before giving good things stupid names.

    • Re:Single sign on? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @07:04AM (#33930704) Homepage

      Apart from the fact that AD was derived from a Unix technology that does exactly what you ask:

      Install Likewise Open. That's your client problem solved. My school has trolleys full of Ubuntu netbooks that log onto the wireless network and allow any AD login on any domain they are joined too. It took three commands I think (install the package, name the machine, join the domain). Kids don't even need to know that the netbooks are Linux whereas the rest of the school is almost all Windows. And, yes, I can use the Windows Administrators to do privileged operations by just sticking them in the right groups.

      Server is a bit more tricky but if you're keeping homogenous systems (Linux server, Linux clients), single-sign-on on Linux has been around for donkey's years. Server probably needs Samba4 if you want modern-Windows-clients on a Linux-only server.

      Next, please describe how to use MS-supplied tools to achieve the same (i.e. log MS clients onto Linux servers, or even Linux clients onto MS servers). It's hardly surprising that nobody really supports joining the competition, so homogenous systems are infinitely easier to support. But your claim as a unit is bollocks. Wanna come see a Linux netbook join an unprepared, untampered-with Windows-only domain run by a Windows-only machine with no Linux help server-side, and support SSO for all its operations (including initial login, printer access, fileshare access, even desktop icons etc.)? A group of 8 year old's here do it every day.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Actually its pretty damn easy to do what you are asking with kerb5. 1997 called they want you lame Enterprise SSO argument back; which I would point out at the time was bunk too because there was yellow pages back then and it worked fine.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @06:15AM (#33930492) Journal
    While Linux is certainly the much lower costs option vs. MS, the real issue should be about Security. The problem though, is that many of *nix, is the fact that since Windows is so easily cracked. And once cracked, they have access to SSH keys and/or passwords and the ability to place a snooper. Once you have access to being on ANY TYPE BOX, it is over. It is simply a matter of time before it is fully owned. This does not matter if it is windows, Linux, OSX, trusted Linux, trusted Solaris/AIX/HP-UX, or even a os/390.
  • High redhat costs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    RedHat support cost is killing the opportunity to increase linux in enterprises... Windows licenses are cheaper!

  • Growing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stooshie ( 993666 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @07:38AM (#33930854) Journal
    I'm just trying to think of some area of tech/i.t./communications where MS is increasing it's sales ...

    ... Still thinking!
  • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Monday October 18, 2010 @07:47AM (#33930902) Homepage Journal

    As a poll taken by the Linux Foundation based on the answers of two hundred of it's largest members that responded, what I found suprising is that less than half of them plan on increasing their use of Linux - these are the biggest supporters of Linux, and 50%+ ARE NOT PLANNING TO INCREASE THEIR USE OF LINUX!

    These are Linux's biggest supporters (they joined the foundation, they replied to the survey, and they are of a certain size) - if half of them aren't increasing use of Linux, to me that is the interesting number. If 50%+ of the largest members of the Oracle Users Group said they were not going to increase use of Oracle DB that would be the story, why is the spin backwards here? Oh yeah, Linux Foundation wrote the press release, slashdot partitas it...

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      That last line should say "...Slashdot parroted it."

      My iPhone didn't think I meant to write parroted...

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Maybe the biggest Linux supporters have hit 100%. It would be difficult to increase their use much beyond that.

      It all depends on how you slice the statistics, Maybe times are tough and they just aren't increasing anything.

      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        No shop of any real size (take the 500 employee threshold cited in the survey) is 100% linux not all desktops and servers, not even Red Hat I suspect. There are always certain applications that require Windows or Mac.

        Also, are these 100% Linux users not planning to expand/grow (more employees)?

    • by kenh ( 9056 )


      I got my numbers confused, instead of half, it's one-fourth of respondents, not half. I read this before my morning caffeine.

      The point is the same, as pointed out here: http://zgp.org/~dmarti/business/hands-up-who-likes-me/ [zgp.org] this is the definition of a self-serving survey.

      These are current users of Linux, they tend to report bugs and contribute code at amazingly higher proportion than the general linux user population, are members of a Linux user organization AND choose to respond to the survey. No

  • The article itself even admits as much: "Since the organizations surveyed were picked by the Linux Foundation End User Council, there's naturally going to be some happy Linux users in the bunch."

    While we're throwing meaningless statistics around, we might as well also toss in a mostly meaningless anecdote. I work in a small satellite R&D office of a medium sized company. Corporate HQ runs big iron (IBM) and Windows servers. The primary server and most of the desktops in our office run Windows, and alway

  • ..are probably running them on big VMWare-based servers which runs Windows under, ummm, Linux.

    Anyone who has been in a large corporate data center knows the ugly truth - Microsoft servers still don't like to multitask. The usual response is to install yet another bit of hardware to run the smallest of applications. Bad for the environment, good for Intel and Microsoft.

    Hummmm, has anyone tried to sell Linux to corporations because it is good for the environment?

  • As soon as we get a free, stable, and useful free desktop OS...Windows is done. Ubuntu perhaps? [ubuntu.com]
    According to PCWorld, the Linux Desktop is dead(?) [pcworld.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DJRumpy ( 1345787 )

      Considering that the latest workstation distributions are still plagued by basic install issues (blank screens, etc), it's still not ready. I got a chuckle reading some of the support forums and the responses that were being given to 'newbies' as if they really expected these folks to understand what was being told to them. Although it has advanced by great strides in the last few years, it's still not ready. The basic install should work universally across a wide range of hardware. Seems they are still hav

  • We recently had our website redesigned, and our designers suggested we host at GoDaddy. I suggested that we host internally since it would save us $100/month, and thanks to VMware's ESXi, we've freed up a bit of hardware recently.

    We are almost completely a Mac OS and Windows shop. I ran Red Hat, Fedora, and Ubuntu - as well as Solaris all through college, so Unix is familiar to me.

    I have to say that setting up a LAMP server with SSH was a piece of cake. Our newest Ubuntu server distribution did almost ev

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