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Linux Gaining Share at Windows’ Expense

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Linux is growing in the enterprise with adoption set to expand over the next five years, according to data from a study sponsored by the Linux Foundation.

New Linux Foundation Enterprise User Survey data reveals that enterprises are set to add more Linux at the expense of Windows during next five years, though users are not heading to the cloud.

The Linux Foundation conducted a survey of nearly 2,000 enterprise users and found that 76.4 percent of respondents are set to add Linux servers in the next 12 months. In contrast, only 41.2 percent of respondents indicated that they planned to be adding new Windows servers during that same period. The picture looks even brighter for Linux when looking at the five year view. According to the Linux Foundation’s data, during the next five years 79.4 percent of enterprises will be adding more Linux servers, while only 21.3 percent will be adding new Windows servers.

Growth in Linux server deployments is coming from both new workloads as well as migrations from both Unix and Windows. Windows migrations to Linux are set to account for 36.6 percent of new Linux deployments. Unix migrations to Linux are slightly lower at 31.4 percent. The largest share of new Linux deployments is set to come from new workloads at 66 percent.

As a study conducted by and reported on by the Linux Foundation, there is the potential for a certain degree of bias.

“Admittedly, there is an inherent bias since the respondents are already invested in Linux, but we do think this data is significant,” Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at the Linux Foundation told “While it was confidential, I reviewed the company names of those who responded and know these are large buyers of IT products, both of Linux and open source software and proprietary software. We look forward to expanding the survey in the future given the right partner.”

The study also doesn’t shed much light on potential hybrid deployments where Linux is deployed alongside Windows and Unix.

“We didn’t ask that question exactly,” McPherson said. “I bet you are correct that many would be hybrid, and that would be good to ask next time.”

The study also looked at enterprise intentions when it comes to cloud computing. Although many vendors are actively promoting various cloud technologies, the Linux Foundation’s survey respondents are not buying into the cloud quite yet. Only 26 percent of survey respondents said that they are planning on moving to a private or public cloud for applications or services in the next 12 months. There were 33.9 percent of respondents who noted that they weren’t sure about their cloud plans, while 40.1 percent said they had no plans for moving to the cloud in the next 12 months. The low numbers for cloud adoption came as a surprise to McPherson.

“Yes I was absolutely surprised,” McPherson said. “I think this may be because as financial services firms and other large companies with a high degree of in-house competence, they may be less inclined to go to the cloud than SMBs. Also, the industry may be a bit ahead with hype than companies actually are deploying.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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