Windows vs. Linux Survey Results
Yankee Sunbelt Server Survey Executive Summary By Laura DiDio,
a research fellow at Yankee Group in Boston.
A significant number of corporations, regardless of the size of
the company, are holding onto to their server hardware for an
average four-to-five years. Those are the results of the latest
joint Yankee Group/Sunbelt Software survey of over 1,700 IT
managers and executives worldwide.
The independent Web-based survey included responses from North
America, Europe and as far away as the island nation of Timor-
Leste in the South Pacific. Yankee and Sunbelt accepted no
sponsorship monies; no vendors had any input or influence on the
questions or responses and none of the respondents received any
remuneration for their participation. Yankee Group and Sunbelt
Software employed authentication and tracking tools to ensure
that no tampering occurred and to prohibit multiple responses
by the same parties.
Yankee Group and Sunbelt used the same phrasing for the Windows
and Linux responses in order to maintain objectivity. Corporate
respondents were also provided the opportunity to make additional
comments in an essay format. Over 50% of those polled availed
themselves of the opportunity to express their opinions; their
answers were frank, forthright and un-rehearsed.
Companies of all sizes and vertical markets were represented in
the server poll. Nearly one-third of the survey respondents
- 31% -- came from the Small and Midsized Businesses (SMB) with
1 to 100 persons; 22% of those polled were from mid-sized
companies with 100 to 500 employees; nine percent were drawn
from corporations with 500 to 1,000 persons; 19% of respondents
worked corporate accounts which employ 1,000 to 10,000 people
and the remaining nine percent of responses came from large
enterprises with 10,000+ workers.
Additionally, 38% of shops said they had from one to 10 servers;
23% had 10 to 30 servers in their organization; 10% of respondents
had 30 to 50 servers; seven percent had 50 to 100 servers; eight
percent had 100 to 250 servers; four percent had 250 to 500
servers and the remaining 10% had over 500 servers in their
The July 2005 Yankee Group/Sunbelt Software Global Server Survey
contained results that were both anticipated as well as surprising.
As expected, Dell is the first choice for server hardware for over
one-third of customers, followed by Hewlett-Packard which was
chosen by 27% of the survey respondents. One in five corporate
accounts - 20% -- said their firms did not have a primary server
hardware vendor, stating that their organizations truly heterogeneous and did not favor any one hardware vendor's servers.
Eight percent of those polled said they used IBM equipment as
their chief server, while the remaining 10% choose "other."
The Other category includes Sun Microsystems' SPARC station
running the Solaris operating system.
The protracted life cycles are particularly pronounced with
Windows and Linux file and print servers. Some 48% of companies
kept their Windows file and print servers for four to six years
compared with 31% of respondents who retained their Linux file
and print servers for the same period. It should be noted however,
that 50% of those polled said they were not currently running any
Linux file and print servers and of the remaining 50% that do
have Linux servers, 29% have had them for three years or less.
A 12% minority of leading edge users changes their Windows file
and print servers every two years, while another 21% are on a
three-year server upgrade cycle. In Linux environments, five
percent of corporate users similarly swap out their server
hardware every 24 months while another six percent said they
were on a three year upgrade cycle.
Corporations upgrade their database servers and Email/messaging
servers a bit more regularly. Some 12% upgrade Exchange every
two years; nearly one-quarter of respondents - 22% upgrade their
Microsoft Exchange servers every three years while another 21%
upgrade the messaging servers every four years.
The percentages are much smaller in Linux environments since 56%
of survey respondents said they do not currently have Linux-based
Email and messaging servers. Of those that do, four percent
upgrade them every two years; six percent upgrade every three
years; eight percent every four years and 15% are on a five
to six year upgrade cycle.
And in one of the biggest surprises of the survey: 48% of all
organizations that upgrade or switch to Linux do not install
new server hardware when they do an operating system. Anecdotal
evidence obtained from customer responses indicates that many
of the older repurposed UNIX servers that get converted to
Linux have equally good or better performance and reliability
using a Linux distribution, despite the age of the hardware.
This figure contrasts sharply with the 12% of the respondents
who said they do not switch the underlying server hardware
when they perform a Windows operating system upgrade/migration.
On the other end of the spectrum, 16% of organizations replace
100% of their server hardware during a Windows migration/upgrade
compared to nine percent of corporations who completely upgrade
their server hardware infrastructure during a Linux migration/upgrade.
Server Spend Trends
The survey respondents left no doubt that they were still fiscally
conservative as a result of the protracted economic downturn.
Six percent said they paid only $500 to $1,000 for their mission
But the bulk of respondents - nearly two-thirds of organizations
spend between $1,000 and $10,000 on their mainstream mission
critical servers. That percentage is split nearly equally: 33%
paid between $1,000 to $5,000 and 31% purchase servers in the
$5,000 to $10,000 range. On the high end, five percent of the
businesses pay upwards of $50,000 for their servers.
Other Survey Highlights:
- Over half - 53% of respondents have one to five IT managers;
22% had between five and 20 IT administrators; 10% had between
20 and 50 IT managers and 15% of companies had 50 to 100 admin.
- An overwhelming 93% majority of businesses' servers is either
a single CPU or two processor machine. Some 42% of firms have
single CPU servers and 52% have two processor machines. Only six
percent run four processors and one percent of respondents said
they have eight processor servers.
- Application server configurations are a bit more powerful:
56% of companies have two processors compared with only 26%
that have a single CPU application server; 15% have four
processor machines; two percent have eight-processors and one
percent have a 16-processor CPU application server.
- Web server configurations are equally split with 45% of firms
having a server with a single CPU and 46% who have two processor
- Windows usage remains high: 55% of the respondents noted that
80% to 100% of their servers are running Windows. Only three
percent of respondents said they had no Windows installed.
- Linux deployments also remain healthy: 38% of the respondents
reported that up to 20% of their servers were running Linux,
while only 28% said they did not have any Linux installed.
The 1,700 respondents were frank and vocal regarding their likes
and dislikes regarding both the server hardware and the Linux
and Windows operating systems.
Some respondents continued to express a dislike of Windows and
a desire to migrate from Windows to Linux and other open source
software. However the number of vociferous and strident complaints
regarding the performance of Windows has diminished considerably
compared with earlier Yankee/Sunbelt surveys. In fact, many
respondents noted the vast performance and reliability improvement
from the legacy Windows NT 4 platform to the current Windows
Server 2003 release.
Those respondents that are using or plan to migrate a portion
of their environment for Linux extolled the performance and
reliability of that platform. But criticism of Linux - mainly
centering on the dearth of available documentation and
application support have begun to crop up. Finally, a number
of respondents expressed continued loyalty for the Sun Solaris
and Novell NetWare operating systems.
Laura DiDio's email is: [email protected] and welcomes
your comments or feedback.
Another Strong Quarter For Microsoft
Here is a quote from the new CFO: "These results provide solid
momentum heading into fiscal 2006, which is shaping up to be
a strong year for growth and investment. We expect double digit
revenue growth next year, kicking off the strongest multi-year
product pipeline in the company's history".
Chris Liddell, chief financial officer at Microsoft.