Linux has become the fastest-growing operating environment in the server market, according to IDC's worldwide quarterly survey.
Linux server shipments jumped 166 per cent to 72,422 units in the final quarter last year, in contrast to the same period in 1998.
While the open-source operating system still represented a small portion -- approximately 6 per cent -- of the entry server market in unit shipments, it is already an important area of growth, said IDC senior research analyst Hoang Nguyen.
The growth in the Linux server sector will continue to grow as more vendors released Linux server offerings and as end users select Linux servers, not just because of price, but also reliability, availability, and performance, Nguyen said.
IDC defines the entry market as systems shipped priced at less than $US100,000.
For Q4 1999, Compaq held onto its number-one position worldwide with $US84 million in factory revenue from distributing its Linux servers. IBM was in second position with $33 million, followed by Dell with $24 million and Hewlett-Packard with $23 million. HP actually finished slightly ahead of Dell in terms of unit shipments, the report stated. Fujitsu Siemens was next with $13 million in revenue.
In a recent IDC survey of 200 Linux users, the majority of participants said they expected less than one hour of unplanned downtime per year from the product, the report pointed out. The study also found that Linux servers were overwhelmingly deployed to support web applications, such as web hosting, proxy/caching services, and email.
"More than 40 per cent of all spending on Linux servers is for internet-related applications," said Michelle Bailey, IDC's commercial systems and servers program research manager.
"Linux servers are now embedded in the internet infrastructure and are strong competition for NT and Unix entry servers," she said.