IDC: Linux is Asia-Pacific's fastest growing server OS

Internet infrastructure expansion and the dot-com boom have been primarily responsible for driving the demand for Linux servers in the region, according to IDC. Growing penetration in the education segment, strong government support to the open source movement -- particularly in Korea and China -- and a large installed base of Unix users are some of the other factors catalysing the Linux demand in Asia-Pacific, IDC said.

Despite the slowdown caused by the dot-com stock market correction, demand for Linux servers will remain strong due to the large Internet infrastructure build-out potential of the traditional brick and mortar businesses, the growing penetration of Linux in the important SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) segment, and the strong demand for appliance servers, IDC said.

Linux is especially popular among ISPs (Internet service providers). IDC polled a total of 51 major ISPs in Australia, India, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, China and Singapore. IDC found that 73 per cent of the ISPs have deployed Linux in their server infrastructure, while on the application front, Web serving, e-mail, and Internet/intranet were among the most widely deployed applications.

ISPs cited price/performance and low cost as the most important reasons for deploying Linux. But lack of Linux skills and service and support availability are the key factors that are holding back 20 per cent of ISPs from deploying Linux in the next 12 months.

Australia and Korea are vying for the position of the leading Linux adopters in Asia. In 1999, 25 per cent of Linux server sales were made to Australian companies, while Korea took 32.6 per cent of Linux server sales in the first half of 2000, IDC said.

Among the server vendors, Compaq was the dominant Linux server vendor in Asia-Pacific with 21 per cent unit shipment and 25 per cent revenue share in 1999. IBM and Hewlett-Packard were ranked second and third with 18 per cent and 12 per cent unit shipment shares respectively.

While most major server vendors have announced their strategic decision to participate in the Linux market at the worldwide level, they have not done enough to tap the market opportunities at the country and at the regional level in Asia-Pacific, IDC said.

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