7 Reasons Why Linux Will Rule The Server Market

We’ve ranted a lot about Linux not being able to catch up on Windows and Mac in the desktop arena. However, we can never complain about the position Linux enjoys in the server market. Of course 20-22 % is too small a figure to put the penguin in a dominant position, but the growth Linux has seen over the years has been astounding. From big companies like Google to small technology blogs that are read by a handful, Linux -- as IBM prophesied in an advert long ago -- is everywhere.

Here are some of the reasons why we think Linux is the future ruler of the server market:

1. Price
The first thing that matters to any businessman is cost. Of course, Linux web servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux are not free, but they are much cheaper than their Windows counterparts. Also, if you’re running a small business and have a talented bunch of sys admins at your disposal, then you could opt for the absolutely free Red Hat clone called Cent OS and other free Linux distros for web servers. Windows on the other hand, costs a lot more while providing no pocket-friendly alternatives for small businesses.

2. Stability
Anyone who has migrated from Windows to Linux must have experienced a huge reduction in downtime due to reboots. Mandatory frequent reboots after every update is one of the most annoying things about Windows. This problem might not mean much for desktop users, but on the server front, even a minute’s downtime could mean lost customers. As Linux requires reboots only after kernel updates, there is a huge improvement in the server’s uptime. Also, Linux not being stable enough is one of the greatest myths floating around in the minds of Windows fanatics. I mean how can an Operating System that is running the biggest sites on the Internet --- for example Google, YouTube, and Vimeo -- not be stable? Of course, this doesn’t by any means imply that Windows is an unstable piece of junk (as much as I would love to yell that out). I’m simply trying to dispel a myth that has marred Linux for years, that is, Linux is not as unstable as you think. In fact, it can be one of the most stable things you’ve used in a long time. An interesting report about the experiences of a company which migrated its servers to Linux can be found HERE.

3. Security
If you’re a Linux user, you wouldn’t even read this point all the way through. Everyone knows how the penguin is immune to all the diseases the bloated Windows suffers from. On the security front, it is pointless to defend Windows under any condition, as Linux is, by design a safe and secure operating system. Also, due to Linux’s low popularity in the desktop market, there are hardly any PC viruses, malwares and crapwares for it.

4. Hardware blues
People pay thousands of dollars for a shiny new operating system, professional support and add-on software, but hardware is something that almost always goes overlooked. Many companies can’t afford, either time-wise or money-wise, to do a hardware upgrade. In those cases, Linux serves as the perfect alternative to hardware-hungry Windows because the penguin can give amazing performance even on computers with the poorest of specs. As far as hardware drivers and device support are concerned, Windows has the upper hand here as many vendors choose to make drivers for Windows devices. However, the Linux kernel is constantly updated thus support for most new-ish devices always appear quicker than expected. Also, companies like RedHat do provide packages that bundle hardware and the OS at good prices thereby eliminating the need for a rigorous compatibility check before a switch.

5. Clustering, like a boss!
A computer cluster is a group of linked computers, working together closely thus in many respects forming a single computer. Clustering on Linux is known to give supercomputing-like performance at exceptionally low costs. Many people who have used Linux for clustering swear by it, as Windows comes nowhere close in this field. It is no big secret that Linux now runs most of the supercomputers of the world.

6. Easy updates
Updating individual software on Windows can be quite a painful experience. On Linux however, things are sweet and simple. Just one command and the penguin does all the hard work. This is a huge time-saver for large corporations where time is of prime importance.

7. Support
Another myth about Linux is that it lacks any kind of support. On the contrary, many people find Linux’s support even better than the one on Windows. Companies like Red Hat, Canonical and others let users as well as corporations buy professional support which makes sure that help is never far away. Also, Linux boasts of a huge community of users who devote their precious time to help out other users for free. So, even if you’re a small company running CentOS, a simple SOS on can fix your problems a lot quicker than you expect. You may also check this out: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Support on Linux


  1. AnonymousJuly 01, 2011

    You say 22-22%, but even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that Linux has around 60% of the server market. Where is that 22% coming from? Looking at Wikipedia's usage share of operating sytems, the numbers are more like 40-60%, unless you are going by revenue, which isn't an accurate metric for Linux server use since many distros like CentOS can be used for free.

    The tense in your title is a bit off. It should be "rules", not "will rule".

  2. I second what Anonymous just said; so far as I know half the servers around today use Linux but not everyone actually pays for support. Thus the number of Linux servers always appears smaller than it actually is when using sales metrics.

    The same can be said with the desktop market. More and more people are opting for computers from System76 or Zareason that happen to have Linux on them by default and thus they do not show up as download hits on distrowatch.