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17 March 2009, 10:24

IDC says Linux offers firms potential savings

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An IDC surveyPDF of IT decision makers suggests that the economic crisis is promoting the use of Linux in companies. A total of 330 decision makers in Western Europe, America and Asia responded to the Novell commissioned survey, which shows that a good half of the firms questioned are already using Linux servers.

IT managers in firms with more than 100 employees were questioned and among them, the economic crisis is clearly making itself felt. Sixty-two per cent say the economic situation is limiting their budgets, or that they are being more cautious about investing, 53 per cent plan to make more use of Linux on their servers in 2009 and 48 per cent want to put Linux on more desktops. Plans for Linux are most bullish in Asia, but America and Europe aren't far behind. Broken down by market sector, the plans for making more use of Linux have advanced most significantly in the retail trade.

Respondents say the most important factors when selecting a server system are security and reliability, the availability of suitable applications and ongoing support costs. For the retail trade and the public sector, the know-how of their own staff also plays a considerable role. The firms surveyed regard cost savings and improved interoperability with Windows and other operating systems, as reasons that would favour an accelerated adoption of Linux on servers.

Almost half of the respondents said virtualisation played an important role in their plans for making heavier use of Linux. In the coming 12-24 months, 88 per cent plan either to evaluate virtualisation software in Linux environments, or to actually use it, or to increase their use of it. On the desktop, the IT decision makers primarily see Linux being used for (simple) office applications, on workstations and for training.

IDC's market researchers say that among the challenges to the adoption of Linux by firms are the omnipresent Windows platform, a comparatively limited choice of business applications and an understandable reluctance of firms to migrate unless there is an associated cost payback within a short period of time. The researchers conclude that the free operating system's prospects lie with low-cost netbooks, web-based applications that put the role of the operating system into the background and in the elimination of licence fees for desktop systems. All of these, they say, show a direct connection between the economic crisis and the spread of Linux to servers and desktops.


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