Linux hasn't just arrived. It has stormed the body corporate and is lodged in the data center. Strategic deployment is no longer the IT equivalent of going out on a limb; it has become, simply, just one more architectural decision. Linux shipments, measured by licenses, are growing more than 25 percent per year, according to Aberdeen Group, faster than any other operating system. Only 11 percent of the 1,029 respondents to our online poll--half of the total respondents from companies with revenue of $10 million to $1 billion--said they don't believe Linux is ready for the enterprise data center. Is yours?
It's What You Know
Although three-quarters of poll respondents said they think Linux is a strong choice for the data center, 55 percent said they have no plans or will take more than a year to deploy it. Why the disconnect? While a few cited resistance from above and plain old inertia, the concerns most often mentioned were scarce skill sets and technical support (56 percent and 51 percent, respectively) and application availability (49 percent).
Worries over a dearth of expertise resonate in budgeting and managerial quarters: Hiring people with the necessary skill sets and investing in training for existing staffers are expensive and time consuming. This is less so for organizations with Unix know-how; there, the shift to Linux will be relatively painless.
But those accustomed to living in a Microsoft world filled with GUIs and eye candy can be wary of jumping into the domain of true multiuser systems and CLIs (command-line interfaces). To be fair, the same can be said of some Sun Solaris, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX and IBM AIX administrators, who find many of Linux's quirks annoying.