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Video How Can Linux Gain (Even) More Enterprise Acceptance? (Video) 177

This is what we asked Jason Perlow. He wrote a Linux Magazine column for many years and now writes for ZDNet. The ZDNet blurb describes him as "a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies." Most recently, he worked for IBM, and for Unisys before that. So Jason knows plenty about Linux and its role in big-time enterprise computing. In this video, he talks about how Linux needs to take another step forward to gain even more enterprise traction in coming years.

Robin: This is Jason Perlow, who has written for Linux Magazine and now ZDNet and has worked for IBM and for Unisys, all pretty much on Linux, and before that he was a big UNIX guy. So, tell me what does Linux need to do now to become even more accepted in the enterprise?

Jason: So, Linux has really evolved over the last 10 to 15 years. It’s gone from like a science project of one particular guy living in Finland to one of the most scalable enterprise offering systems in the world. It’s gone from a hobbyist operating system with no commercial support to an operating system that’s been embraced by the largest enterprise systems vendors in the word including IBM, HP, Oracle, Dell, you name it.

So, in terms of being able to handle workloads, we now have an operating system that could handle large of amount of codes and processors on a monolithic system, on clusters, huge memory configurations, enterprise storage, all those things are part of the operating system today. Where Linux lags behind some of the more other commercial enterprise products includes commercial [UNIX systems] as well as Windows-based enterprise environments, and the mainframe is really in management.

The reason why management has become so important this year and it will be over the coming years, is that more and more enterprises are going to be divorcing themselves from owning their own infrastructure and that’s just because you have a crappy economy, people don’t want to have computer assets anymore, they want to buy it as a service, essentially infrastructure-as-a-service from hosting and cloud providers. Or, if they want to have their own infrastructure, they need to be able to provision it very quickly.

So, you don’t want to have a situation where you bring a virtual server up or any kind of server up, and it take hours or days or weeks to get it configured and ready for production. You want to be able to spin it up within minutes. And not just one server, you want to be able to spin up a whole group of servers that are part of an application architecture pretty quickly. So, typically in a 3-tier architecture, you might have a web server, you might have a middleware server and a database server, that’s one simple configuration.

Well, each of those servers may have pieces and components on them that are fairly complex. You want to be able to template an application architecture like that and spin it out within minutes just by clicking a button. So, that’s something that Linux needs to have in order to become successful if you are going to have something which is called multi-tenant cloud tenancy. You want to be able to have these cloud providers which can sell Linux as an infrastructure to customers, essentially like you would buy electricity or water from your local utility company.

Robin: Yeah, are you sure? IBM, HP, these guys have been trying to do that for years. I’ve gotten press release after press release and I’ve always asked, well where are the customers and they never were able to sell the service. So are people buying it now?

Jason: People are definitely buying it now and you’re seeing it happen at Amazon, you’re seeing it happen at Rackspace, you’re seeing it happen at also companies – Amazon, and also Microsoft with their Azure service as well. So that’s just a couple of them. There are 4,000 service providers in the United States which are offering Linux virtualized to customers. Now all of them have different abilities to provision in terms of the speed at which they can provision a system and what they cost and what the complexity of their offerings are, but these are real companies that are selling to your customers.

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How Can Linux Gain (Even) More Enterprise Acceptance? (Video)

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  • by Ynot_82 ( 1023749 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @04:39PM (#42134307)

    Oh, wait. Bad example.

    Actually, it's a perfect example.

    "Look at Windows 8. Don't like the unterface? tough, there's nothing you can do about it.
    Now look at Unity. Don't like the interface? Well try these others, there's plenty to choose from."

  • by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @05:33PM (#42134899)

    Enterprise level support systems for workstations include, but are not limited to:

    - Inventory management
    - Software deployment, patching, and auditing
    - Remote support
    - Deployment of enterprise policies (i.e. AD GPO)
    - Enterprise security policies (certificate deployment, AV deployment & policies, firewall deployment & policies).

    etc, etc, etc...

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @05:56PM (#42135171)

    It needs an app that can integrate/replace exchange. And no, Thunderbird+Lightning doesn't come close. Just for starters, it needs to allow people to view others' calendars, easily schedule meetings in other peoples' available time, allow booking of resources like rooms, etc.

    Secondly, it needs to work with the massive multifunction printing systems out of the box. I realize this is dependant on printer manufacturers more than the Linux devs, but the end-user doesn't care about who's problem it is - all they know is that printers work on Windows, and don't on Linux.

    I use Linux at my workplace; these are the two primary functions it can't fulfil.

  • by Revotron ( 1115029 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @06:14PM (#42135315)
    Businesses don't use Windows just to use Windows. Businesses use Windows to use Office, Active Directory, and Exchange. Linux has competitors to all three but they're not even CLOSE, no matter how much the evangelists puff them up.

    What do you get when you put a whole office on Linux? You get a bunch of people sitting around using Linux. But they're not doing anything productive. Nobody's paying them to use Linux. No customers are giving your company money to have an office full of people sit around and "use Linux". Linux is not the product, Linux is the platform. Right now, the Linux platform for enterprise is severely lacking in comparison to Windows. The "Why" is dreadfully simple: there are no serious products that give the platform value.

    Focus community effort on building solid competitors to Office, Active Directory, and Exchange. Maybe try creating something completely new, or maybe just try to mimic the MS products as best you can. Mimic might be better, because then you can show them how similar your products are so the switching cost is minimal, yet one costs a whole lot less, therefore the TCO is much lower.

    In case you haven't noticed, Microsoft likes to throw around TCO as their metric. That's because most businesses don't care about up-front cost, they focus on what you'll pay over the life of the product. Put the most amount of effort possible into minimizing the switching costs. Linux will become a much more viable desktop platform in the enterprise when you can demonstrate meaningful cost savings that take TCO into account. Until then, Microsoft will continue to give enterprise customers concrete and logical reasons for why they should choose their product over all others.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"