the Mission Critical Role of Linux
Mark Rais, senior editor for reallylinux.com
what extent is Linux serving in mission critical environments? This question keeps getting raised and is likely to be linked more with
ignorance than any realistic assessment.
a steady stream of research verifying the use of Linux in the enterprise, there are some lingering doubts
as to the prevalence of Linux in mission critical environments.
industry experts continue to believe that Linux remains an “edge
of the enterprise” solution. These IT leaders see Linux
relegated to the function of print and web serving, but not used
extensively for core applications roles like email, data management,
A segment of
IT leaders still hold the view that Linux is neither
prolific in their data centers nor does it run mission critical
This perspective seems at odds with reality, considering that as far back as 2004 research firms were
reporting the role of Linux in mission critical application environments.
Forrester research then showed that “fifty-three
percent of the 140 corporate executives surveyed run mission-critical
applications on Linux, and 52% choose Linux for new apps.”, from their Linux Crosses Into Mission-Critical Apps.
Not suprisingly, the many recent publications indicate that the role for Linux in mission critical deployments is continually growing.
The recent IDC whitepaper found that:
"IDC has seen a movement to increasingly favor the use of Linux as a platform to support more mission-critical workloads on all architectures where Linux is used"
More details are available in the
IDC WHITE PAPER: The Opportunity for Linux in a New Economy, by Al Gillen, sponsored by Linux Foundation.
While such studies are prevalent, a portion of corporate IT leaders still do not understand the
significance and capacity of Linux for mission critical roles.
many cases, Linux use occurs across the enterprise without any
recognition or emphasis. This subtle deployment of Linux servers
impacts the overall acknowledgment of its use in mission critical
functions of the business.
executives I have spoken with over the past few months simply have no idea that Linux is there in the first place.
engineers often implement enterprise Linux deployments without
explicitly communicating the platform to their leadership. As a
result, few decision makers are actually aware that Linux currently
addresses their business need and requirements.
or defending the underlying platform, when it will clearly meet key
requirements, becomes irrelevant.
In some cases, engineers wish to
avoid expending time clarifying this to edge of technology leader
(CFO, CTO, CEO, SVP of Technologies) the details that could see the
project hung or rejected.
Linux deployments for mission critical functions are steadily
increasing. I've reiterated this in several earlier articles including:
Linux in Enterprise Is Already Prime Time.
healthcare industry serves as a reasonable example, where the
mainframe market growth has been significant over the past few years.
Much of this growth is led by major corporations like IBM -- with
the underlying OS being Linux.
is used extensively in Hospitals, Data centers, Call centers, and a
growing number of email and business systems contexts.
some leaders do not understand is that with today’s emphasis on
virtualization and multiplatform support, Linux is just another
integral part of most mission critical environments.
Linux also remains the fastest growing OS for High Performance
Computing (HPC), which frequently ties directly to business mission
as the impact of monetary liquidity hits on bottom line corporate
spending, Linux use has expanded aggressively to counter the rising
costs associated with capital expenditures.
This was also stated in the recent IDC whitepaper, which indicated that Linux is:
"well-positioned to ride existing and new market trends."
Functionality and costs factor strongly in current
mission critical deployments and Linux is an overt fit.
mission critical solutions companies like IBM, Unisys, and Fujitsu
continue to increasingly deploy their Linux based systems, ensuring
long term growth.
this article serves to remind IT leaders that Linux and mission
critical business roles remain quite congenial even in today's economic shifts.
Rais is a Linux technologist and writer who previously served as a senior manager
for Netscape and AOL.