Web Servers of the Fortune 500: A Dissection and Analysis Page 2

When I look through the Who's Who of IIS users in the Fortune 500, one thing strikes me: These companies are not, by in large, technology companies. They are retailers, department-store chains, auto manufacturers, grocers, drug stores--big companies that aren't in the technology field. Sure, there are exceptions (Microsoft, Compaq, Intel, Dell, Gateway, Qwest, and a few others all rely on IIS) but in general I'm seeing JC Penney's, Quaker Oats, Sherwin-Williams: companies that probably are using IIS simply because it's included with NT and doesn't require a "UNIX freak" to administer. Before you go jumping to conclusions, let me explain how I came to this conclusion.

Looking at all of the Web servers being used by these companies, only four different Web servers are being used on a Windows operating system (IIS, Netscape-Enterprise, Lotus-Domino, and Website Pro); out of these, Lotus-Domino is being used on five Windows boxes, Netscape-Enterprise is being used on 10 Windows boxes, and WebSitePro is being used on three Windows boxes. Quite obviously people who are running some flavor of Windows as their Web server don't bother changing. I suppose the argument could be made that these companies are conciously buying Windows + IIS, but I doubt that you can convince me that the majority of these companies are basing their IIS usage on anything but price, availability, and ease of administration. IIS is free for NT/2000 Servers, installed with the OS (unless you opt out), and painless to administer for trivial Web sites.

Windows 2000 use in the Fortune 500 is pretty minimal. Only two companies in the Fortune 100 are running it, and one of them is Microsoft! Only 12 Fortune 500 companies seem to have adopted the Win2000/IIS5 pair at this point.

Microsoft-IIS had 20 percent of the Fortune 25, 22 percent of the Fortune 100, 35 percent of the Fortune 200, and 41 percent of the Fortune 300, 400 and 500.


Netscape-Enterprise comes in a close second for the "Platform Diversity of the Fortune 500" award (second to Apache). Solaris is the most popular OS to run Netscape-Enterprise on, but AIX and HP-UX make up a good number as well as the scattered Windows users. SunOS4, Tru64 and IRIX also padded the diversity of Netscape-Enterprise.

When I look through the Who's Who of Netscape-Enterprise users in the Fortune 500, two things strike me: These companies tend to be high-tech and/or high-finance--companies like Boeing, Aetna, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, MCI Worldcom, AT&T, Bell Atlantic, and Charles Schwab, who need scalability and solid security. Let's face it, IIS doesn't run on a 36-processor Solaris server like Netscape-Enterprise does (Apache does too, and Apache 2 will be magnitudes better). Go ahead and tell FedEx and UPS, who have two of the busiest e-commerce applications in the Fortune 500, that they can only run on up to four processors--ha! Netscape-Enterprise is well-designed, very threaded, and therefore very scalable.

Netscape-Enterprise had 64 percent of the Fortune 25, 63 percent of the Fortune 100, 47 percent of the Fortune 200, 41 percent of the Fortune 300, 37 percent of the Fortune 400, and finished at 35 percent of the Fortune 500.


Apache Web server use, including Stronghold, a commercial secure Web server built on Apache, cleanly won the "Platform Diversity of the Fortune 500" award with at least 10 different operating systems being used.

There doesn't seem to be a pattern to Apache users. A lot of the companies are service-oriented, such as CBS, Sysco, Cendant, and ADP. But there are also some product companies like Oracle, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Maytag. Several financial heavyweights also rely on either Stronghold or mod_ssl, such as Allmerica Financial, MBNA, and SouthTrust Corp.

This article was originally published on Jul 21, 2000
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