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Windows vs. Linux vs.

Solaris on x86
Servers: Decision Time, Now

October 12-16, 2008


Orlando, FL

Symposium/ITxpo 2008 George Weiss

October 12-16, 2008


Walt Disney World Dolphin
Orlando, FL

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Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Business Value Proposition


• The faster IT consolidates servers and operating
systems (OSs), the quicker the benefits in cost
savings.
• Most IT organizations do not have a governance
policy on OS life cycles — most will be wasting
large maintenance and administration costs
needlessly.
• Even as an open source software (OSS) OS, users
are failing to exploit Linux total cost of ownership
(TCO) advantages.

IT asset management and procurement are continuing to seek ways to reduce acquisition and operational costs
via open and commodity systems, but they surprisingly continue to make costly mistakes. In the early 2000
period, x86 performance and costs dramatically improved and caused a flood tide from Unix to Linux. But
now, users not only have the traditional Unix and mainframe operating systems (OSs) to wrestle with, there are
also numerous versions of Linux on high volumes of x86 deployments. The contract pricing on subscription
services is displaying an upward creep and is looking less and less like the bargain that migrating workloads to
x86 was meant to be. Without governance, policies, standardization, consolidation and OS life cycle modeling,
IT organizations may be diluting and negating much of the cost savings they should have inherited. This
presentation looks at the OS options, how they will compete and what to do about making the selection process
turn into a positive experience.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 1
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Key Issues
• How will the market dynamics among OSs affect
the selection process?
• What are the vendor and OS strengths,
challenges and critical success factors for x86
servers?
• How should users optimize, negotiate and
manage the OS life cycle?

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 2
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Key Issues
• How will the market dynamics among OSs affect the
selection process?
• What are the vendor and OS strengths, challenges and
critical success factors for x86 servers?
• How should users optimize, negotiate and manage the
OS life cycle?

Windows and Linux will be the leading OSs on x86 by a wide margin —
Solaris will be an important but distant third during the next 24 months.
As the race intensifies, the costs of supporting Linux, Windows and
Solaris on x86 will be negotiable and more competitively aligned for
similar systems.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 3
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

x86 Servers Will Propel Windows and Linux as


the Two Primary Growth Operating Systems
Vendor Linux
x86 Server Shipped Server Revenue by OS
Revenue ($)
Unix
30,000,000,000 Windows
Other
25,000,000,000
Windows (9.3% growth)
20,000,000,000

15,000,000,000

10,000,000,000
Linux* (12.7% growth)
5,000,000,000
Unix (0.8% growth)
0 Other (6.3% decline)
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

* Note: Server revenue associated with Linux is higher in reality due to a


high proportion of unsubscribed Linux. Unsubscribed rates may be as
high as 40% of total installations.

The Unix segment will have a declining market share with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.8% in the next
five years. HP-UX, IBM AIX and other proprietary Unix systems will be shrinking at CAGRs of 1.6%, 0.4% and 6.3%,
respectively. The shrinking market size of these segments is due to the continuous substitution with less expensive
alternatives, such as Windows and Linux, and more expensive support resources. Sun's growth strategy for Solaris on x86
and its marketing of Solaris as a better OS (compared to Linux) on multicore servers has helped give the category a
higher-than-average growth rate within the Unix segment.
The Windows server segment will grow at a 9.3 percent CAGR through 2013. The adoption of the new Windows 2008
Server OS could be as slow as that of Vista. Enterprises on average take at least 12 months to prepare for the migration,
and they consistently wait for the first Service Pack to be delivered before adopting a new version of Windows. In some
cases, users delay the migration until earlier versions of Windows Server are no longer supported by Microsoft.
The Linux server segment is the fastest growing server OS market, having a CAGR of 12.7 percent. The cost-to-
performance ratio, platform openness and increasing availability of applications are key drivers for the aggressive
adoption of Linux. More and more vendors are offering Linux as an alternative to legacy or proprietary OSs (in particular
as Unix replacements) in selling hardware and suite solutions. There is also a trend that more Linux is being used in
mission-critical systems.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 4
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Windows and Linux Are Dominant on x86 and Niche


on Non-X86; Solaris Is Positioned to Exploit Both
x86 OS Ratios
Modular blades and racks
from inexpensive components
2007 Revenues ($B)
Windows 20.4 Linux
Linux 7.4 25% Windows
Unix 1.2 68%
Other 0.8
Total 29.7 Inversely
Positioned OS
non-x86 OS Ratios Opportunities
2007 Revenues ($B)
Windows 0.36
Linux 0.92
Unix 15.7 Other 32%
Other 8.1 Unix Vendor-customized frames
Total 25.1 63% for low latency, high availability

Server architecture influences OS selection. The technology can be bifurcated into two main streams — x86
and non-x86 — including Itanium and reduced instruction set computer (RISC) variants. On a revenue basis,
they are within a few billion dollars, but on a unit volume basis, x86 completely dominates. This makes the
selection of the OS a vital and long-term decision. Three primary OSs (Linux, Windows and Solaris) can run
on x86 hardware (Linux and Windows on Itanium, but niche). But Linux consists of a variety of alternatives
from Red Hat, Novell, Oracle, Ubuntu, CentOS and many others, plus numerous back versions on legacies.
Windows is in the midst of its own upgrade and has been facing stiff challenges from Linux — especially in
Web servers that could extend into the cloud. Solaris is open source and is offered freely downloadable as a
subscription service, but it is late to capitalize on the open source momentum. Within the non-x86 market,
there are three leading Unix OSs, the IBM z/OS system and others — with most of these vendors competing
seriously for IT deployment share. This has created competitive dynamics in which most Unix server vendors
are actually competing against and among themselves since they can deliver Windows, Linux and Unix. But
independent software vendors (ISVs) — for example, SAP and Oracle — are now turning against Unix,
realizing that it’s more important to help users reduce their hardware costs and prop up their own software
licensing. Inevitably, the migration that started in 2000 will continue and will favor Linux and Windows while
Solaris, as the only x86 Unix, attempts to add share.
This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 5
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Windows and Linux Will Continue to Capture Most


New Workloads — Showdown to Come in Clouds
June 2008 poll: Compared to 2007 levels, do you anticipate that the total workload
for your organization’s server environment will increase, stay the same or
decrease in 2008?

Number of
Increase Decrease Same Responses
Windows 81% 3% 16% 115
Linux 71% 2% 27% 67
HP-UX 26% 44% 39% 27
Solaris 39% 29% 32% 34
AIX 48% 18% 34% 44
z/OS 33% 27% 40% 30
n = 115

While the poll in June is not a statistically scientific finding, we can still draw some conclusions because of the
stark contrasts. New workloads are dramatically more likely to be aimed at x86 (and, therefore, Windows and
Linux) than any other OS environment. The only Unix system that compares favorably is IBM’s AIX with Sun,
HP and IBM’s z/OS systems trailing. From these polls, Gartner has concluded that Linux and Windows will be
the two primary growth OSs, driven in large part around lower acquisition costs and maintenance on high-end
systems. Of course, other systems will not disappear due to plenty of new and upgrade hardware Unix contracts
amounting into the million or multimillion dollar range. The battlefield will then be won on the basis of
performance, efficiency, utilization, agility, availability and security. But as virtualization brings many of the
same features of Unix to x86, such as mobility, high availability (HA) and fault tolerance, capacity planning
and placement optimization, it becomes increasingly evident that the OS is becoming more divorced from the
underlying bare metal and more distributed in nature. This will make the OS decision more dependent on
external infrastructure variables than just on the features and functions tied to the kernel.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 6
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Nonzero Sum Market Dynamics Assures That Linux


Momentum Continues for the Next Five Years
Linux has a major opportunity in OS decisions: IT data centers
will face OS consolidation, often at an intersection with Linux.
Compete + expand
Linux market
Compete + expand
SUSE opportunity
Compete (Unix) +
expand Linux market
Expand MFs and
System p + Linux
opportunity Nonzero
Market Dynamics
Compete + expand
market
Compete (Solaris) +
expand (OSS)

In a nonzero sum market, both competition and collaboration are necessary ingredients to survival. A greater
number of opportunities to partner may broaden market opportunities that otherwise might not have existed.
For Linux in particular, since it is not a single, one-of-a-kind packaged product — and it can be an enabling
technology in a multiplicity of markets and vendor products — the opportunities to put down roots are
manifold. The table lists combinations in which vendors may appear to be competing but also are contributing
to the further growth of Linux. Whether it’s Red Hat vs. Novell, or Novell vs. Microsoft, or Oracle vs. Red Hat,
or even IBM vs. IBM, or Sun vis-à-vis open source, in each case there is a nonzero sum in which Linux
benefits. This is why we can declare that the tipping point has already been achieved toward continued growth
and market gains. Later, we will discuss OS life cycle with respect to OS maturity and ISV commitments as
additional factors in measuring the success of an OS.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 7
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Windows Server 2008 Delivers Important


but Incremental Improvements Over 2003
Pros Cons
• Windows Server 2008 delivers • Improvements are incremental
important improvements over (vs. innovative)
2003
• Late to 64-bit computing*
• Enables virtualization (Hyper-V)
• Late to virtualization*
• Enables drive to x86 64-bit
computing • No real-time kernel*
• Server core for specific case uses: • Late to HPC clustering*
physical and virtual appliances,
Web farms, blades
• Stepping stone to a more modular
kernel *(compared to Unix or Linux)

As with all OS vendors, Microsoft continues to enhance its products in areas of improved performance, better
security, increased manageability, virtualization and best-in-class reliability and availability. We believe that
for Microsoft to keep Windows competitive, it must show that it can rapidly innovate and assume leadership in
as many parts of the market as possible — from high-end OLTP database management system (DBMS),
business intelligence, analytic processing, scientific and engineering algorithms, real-time applications in
financial services and telecommunications and so forth. We recognize that Windows Server 2008 has literally
hundreds (if not thousands) of granular improvements over Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003
R2. But many of these improvements reside at a low level in the kernel. Thus, we see Windows Server 2008 as
an incremental improvement over Windows Server 2003, not a major shift. An incremental improvement
should not be regarded as a negative; most IT organizations prefer incremental improvements that can be easily
digested instead of large technology jumps that require massive changes in existing infrastructure. But we also
see a lot of room for improvement, such as in clustering/HA, real time, virtualization and 64-bit applications.
These are environments that would extend its envelope of influence beyond the back office where SharePoint,
SQL Server and IIS have been the main driving forces of Windows Server.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 8
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Key Issues
• How will the market dynamics among OSs affect the
selection process?
• What are the vendor and OS strengths, challenges and
critical success factors for x86 servers?
• How should users optimize, negotiate and manage the OS
life cycle?
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ID:G00147658

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 9
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

All Operating Systems Will Face Challenges


to Gain Leadership in the x86 Server Market

Key Issue: Key Issue: Key Issue:


• Can Microsoft broaden • Can the Linux •Key
CanIssue:
Sun disrupt both the
appeal to massively distributors do for • Windows and Linux
Is server virtualization
scalable infrastructures virtualization what they markets
core? without
(grids, HPC, clouds)? did for physical? • disrupting
$500M foritself?
what?
• VDI is focus
Challenges: Challenges: Challenges:
• OSS availability and • Lack of clarity in creating •Challenge:
Monetizing OSS into
licensing appeal to next- a virtualization manage- • predictable revenue
Lack of clarity in their
generation data centers ment ecosystem streams
strategy (hear one thing
• Negligible migrations • Above the kernel values from Citrix,
• Wedging another
into from
the Linux
from Linux to Windows may create new lock-ins XenSource)
market
• Driving success in • Subscriptions getting Lack of commitment
• Re-inspiring Solaris
virtualization against pricier competing with
developers and Microsoft
users
VMware • Basically, unsure futures.

Users will face as much OS decision difficulties in the x86 market as in the non-x86 server market although the
cost, flexibility and modularity in hardware mitigates some of the issues. The competitive issues revolve
around business models, feature/function velocity, physical to virtual transition, platform and OS management
and coping with the extraordinary high volume potential of virtual machines (VMs) and clouds. How and when
to use open source, what subscription licensing is appropriate, how to create or re-create mission-critical
infrastructure and business continuity all matter. It all comes down to how much can an IT organization
leverage and harness its current infrastructure as it transitions into new architectures, new licensing terms,
multivendor integration and interoperability, vendor accountability, service levels and indemnification.
Overconfidence can lead to higher risk while too much caution can slow an enterprise from making rapid
strides toward IT modernization. In developing an IT modernization strategy, IT planners should become
familiar with the main key issues and challenges facing the x86 OS vendors detailed in the chart and should
checkmark compliance and strategies on a risk measurement scale. For example, if Solaris is wedging into the
Linux and OSS market, by how much and how fast? If Red Hat intends to lead in virtualization, where are the
proof points and architectural underpinnings?

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 10
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Windows Market Outlook: Exploit, Expand


and Evolve
Strategies for market expansion and growth:
• Exploit new market opportunities in clustering, HPC, cloud and virtualized
infrastructures
• Expand portfolio with OSS applications
- Test, certify and optimize OSS for Windows
• Expand developer loyalties (.NET) and Linux interoperability
- Test and certify Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux interoperability
- Use improved interoperability to discourage migrations from Windows
• Reinforce IP through indemnity agreements
• Evolve virtualization with strategic emphasis on comprehensive physical and
virtual management
Scenarios

Most optimistic: Slows Least optimistic: Fails Most likely: Retains mid-
Linux growth through to slow OSS/Linux in upper tier back-office
hybrid Windows/OSS cloud, licensing model strength, but lacks force in
and OS modularity clustered, Web-centric
infrastructures

The major challenges in Microsoft’s future will be its credibility and accomplishments in delivering cloud
computing infrastructures and services along with virtualization. It needs to address the market’s perception of
late arrival and limitations in clustered and massively scaled servers. As one important example, Microsoft
lacks the technology and market initiative that Oracle has assembled with its Oracle DBMS Real Application
Clusters (RAC) for Linux on x86. Another factor in the market affecting Microsoft is open source software
(OSS). If open source is a tactic to gain share among Linux distributors, then Microsoft can use these packages
on Windows to expand the relevance of Windows into markets that would have been closed. Its strategy with
Novell supports interoperability, especially in a virtualized world, where it must deliver integration and not
isolated or self-contained Windows solutions. This is why the investment in Novell has continued unabated
despite some cynics that believed Microsoft would soon abandon the relationship. While it seeks integration
points at the server level, it has other ambitions, such as hosting virtualized desktops, that will be a major
hurdle for Linux distributors like Red Hat who have no working Microsoft relationship. Thus, a one-two-three
punch by Microsoft would be: (1) OSS on Windows, (2) strongly managed server virtualization and (3)
application hosting and streaming from Hyper-V virtualized servers.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 11
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Sun Solaris Market Outlook: Driving an


Open Source Model Into High Returns
Strategies for market expansion and growth:
• Drive innovative and energy-efficient product design and packaging
• Re-energize the developer community
- Use OpenSolaris as a better Linux alternative while exploiting advantages of OSS
- Seed loyalties bottom-up through OSS development
- Shift company to higher growth through OSS appeal in developing economies
• Shift focus and design to high-volume and massively parallel markets and
infrastructures using the subscription support model of Linux

Scenarios

Most optimistic: Slows Least optimistic: Fails to Most likely: Takes two
Linux; revitalizes Solaris; staunch the Linux years to achieve a stable,
generates large pipeline appetite and ongoing critical mass in volume-
of systems and services Unix migration based subscriptions

Solaris is the other major competitive alternative to Linux. Sun has been OSS friendly and continues to drive
OSS up the stack (for example, MySQL). But its initial positioning for Solaris on x86 was designed as a zero
sum takeaway from Linux. Ultimately, the message played poorly among the Linux aficionados while it was
finding challenges in winning back market share in its traditional markets. Today, Sun has modified its strategy
and messaging that highlights the benefits of a better Linux but leaves plenty of wiggle room for users to find
an optimum combination of Solaris and Linux across multitiered architectures. Sun’s biggest hope is to
continue seeding a large number of the next-generation IT data centers in need of strong system and software
support so that Linux distributors will be resource challenged. But even as it tries to build OS differentiation,
many users are more interested in a modular OS to minimize the cost of operations and perhaps enable some
customization. Sun hopes the market will recognize that like Linux, OpenSolaris will provide identical
provisioning, patching and subscription support but with superior scaling, virtualization and system building
blocks for massively scaled infrastructures. Its biggest challenge is the rapid conversion of new Solaris
development projects to commercially supported accounts in a business model that can keep IBM and HP at
bay while building a large new business in emergent IT and growing world economies.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 12
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Linux Market Outlook: More Than "Linux" —


Red Hat, Novell, Oracle, CentOS, Ubuntu…
Strategies for market expansion and growth:
• Appear unified while competing for share growth and migrations
• Drive next stage expansion beyond Web and application servers to critical
applications
- Oracle RAC, WebSphere, JBoss, real time, HA, mainframe, massive scale
- Be perceived as low risk, high value
• Simplify upgrade, maintenance and support while adding functionality,
expanded hardware compatibility and system management
• Drive toward a strategic data center position on virtualization
Scenarios

Most optimistic: Moves Least optimistic: Non- Most likely: Eliminates


briskly to higher-tier Unix community-spirited barriers to entry; bifurcates
displacement and battles that re-create old into unpaid, internal or
Windows migration Unix wars of proprietary outsourced support or
flavors value-based pricey support

Technically, it is not correct to analyze the third pole of the x86 market as Linux. There are about 100 Linux
distributions, any of which a user or IT organization can download for development or production use. And the
kernels and tools are also widely divergent — enough that an ISV cannot simply certify an application on one
OS and expect it to run error-free on any other. One of the major ISVs clearly stated to us that wide variations
exist from one distribution to the next, from one version to another. Red Hat and Novell make decisions to
integrate features and capabilities that may have been only lightly tested by the Linux kernel community into
their individual versions at different rates and at varying quality levels. This factor is probably one of the key
variables in why so many IT shops steadfastly cling to Unix, Windows and mainframes. It takes only one bad
experience in a mission-critical instance to sour an IT organization about the risk of pervasively running their
systems on Linux. There’s always the temptation for a vendor or ISV to get into the act and shape up the Linux
kernel for specific roles. While any vendor can do so, the fear by users that vendors will begin another forking
contest like Unix and create market fragmentation inhibits vendors. However, Oracle has shown that a vendor
can step up to Linux support, show that Unix is no longer mandatory in the DBMS tier and deliver solid tier-
three level support.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 13
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

DBMS Platforms on Unix Decline as Linux


Rapidly Increases
Worldwide Linux RDBMS Software Vendors for 2007
Based on Total Revenue (Dollars in Millions)
Market Share Market Share Growth (%)
Vendor 2006 2007 (%) 2006 (%) 2007 2006-2007

Oracle 1.954.5 2.933.9 85.2 79.0 50.1

Total 2.294.3 3.712.5 61.8


(all vendors)

Worldwide Unix RDBMS Software Vendors for 2007


Based on Total Revenue (Dollars in Millions)
Market Share Market Share Growth (%)
Vendor 2006 2007 (%) 2006 (%) 2007 2006-2007
Total 5.302.3 4.972.8 -6.2
(all vendors)

Two separate issues are evolving from the open source world: open source DBMS engines and Linux. In 2005
to 2006, Linux picked up speed while Unix declined in total 2006 revenue. This trend is accelerating and will
continue. In 2008, Linux’s DBMS revenue will be approaching 30% to 40% of total DBMS license revenue.
As Linux becomes "enterprise ready", with a proven track record, robust management tools and robust best
practices, vendors will gradually diminish support of the Unix OS. IT organizations should have been
developing Linux expertise and deploying Linux as an application platform wherever possible. All of the major
relational DBMS vendors are embracing Linux and even switching their primary development platforms to
Linux (Oracle began with Oracle 9i). Today, there are still some issues with the Linux environment and its
ability to support a true production environment, but these issues are being addressed by all the major vendors
and will diminish in the next two years.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 14
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

All 3 OSs Have Strengths and Vulnerabilities:


Tipping Point May Hinge on 1 or 2 Factors
SWOT Linux Windows Solaris
„ Partner ecosystem
„ Major OEM support „ Richness of Unix
Strengths „ Integrated stacks
„ Flexible HW/SW options „ Developers
„ Developers

„ New feature time-to-


„ Data center proof points market „ Financial consistency
Weaknesses „ Heterogeneous „ Challenging Linux
„ Migration, services
interoperability

„ Cloud infrastructures „ Cloud infrastructures „ Emerging economies


Opportunities „ HPC and real time „ Virtualization „ OSS projects (for
„ HPC example, MySQL)
„ Virtualization
„ Virtualization

„ OpenSolaris „ MySQL, Oracle RAC „ Data center migrations


Threats „ Windows + OSS „ Unix to Linux migrations to Linux
„ Lack of portability „ Mainframe Linux „ Red Hat/Novell/Oracle
consolidation * exception may be Sun Solaris for x86

In this "super-SWOT", we have sought to characterize the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on
an aggregated basis across the three major environments. While it is possible for all to partake in the emerging
new opportunities because of the compatibility offered on x86 platforms (chip-level feature/function
enhancements), each of the vendors and environments bring a set of unique differentiators. Moreover, an OS is
just one element of an increasingly complex stack of software elements. Interchangeability among vendor
platforms is increasingly more difficult — even though in one case, Sun Solaris, is available on Sun x86
hardware as well as IBM, HP and Dell. Applications used to be the major driving force in an OS decision. This
will change with the increased interoperability of VMs across x86 and the abstraction of the OS and
applications from the hardware. The resultant impact is that the value proposition has moved up the stack, and
the decision point has moved with it. The kernel richness diminishes in importance to the meta-OS features
that allow the OS to function as a part of a distributed resource environment. As IT resource planning becomes
more complex in heterogeneous data centers, users will depend on the broader ecosystem to drive platform
decisions. The return on investment (ROI) gain will be crucial in the users’ willingness to migrate off current
platforms or expand their current platform usage. That decision’s tipping point may hinge on just one or a few
significant deliverables among the ones shown in the chart.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 15
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Key Issues
• How will the market dynamics among OSs affect the
selection process?
• What are the vendor and OS strengths, challenges and
critical success factors for x86 servers?
• How should users optimize, negotiate and manage the

P L A N N I N G
OS life cycle?

Growing

M I G R A T I O N
Emerging
g
ng

ng
in
g

e
in

ur
at
gi

i
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id

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cl
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M
Gr
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This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 16
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Use the ISV Enthusiasm Model to Gauge OS


Acceptance, Momentum and Life Cycles

Windows Safe for virtually all

HP-UX
Solaris
(SPARC)
(x86) • mainstream deployment


Size and Quality of Software Portfolio

(PA-RISC) Safe for many target


segments and installed
IBM AIX base leverage
• HP-UX
Red Hat Limited verticals, niche
(IPF)
(x86)
• segments and installed
base only

Novell Portfolio and use skewed


SUSE (x86)
toward application, Web
and infrastructure serving
• Solaris (x86)Other Linux Portfolio and use skewed
Linux (x86) toward DBMS and
(Power) verticalized workloads
• Broad variety of
workloads
Independent Software Vendor Enthusiasm

ISV enthusiasm is currently a major driver behind OS success. This enthusiasm helps generate demand for
widely adopted products, which in turn, stimulates yet more ISVs to increase their focus. So a natural cycle is
created that both maintains the leadership edge of successful OSs and can also create a barrier to entry for
others. Some OSs will only address a niche audience but can still achieve some market success with a limited
set of applications. Added complexity is created by binary compatibility issues between like OSs. Linux, for
instance, runs on many platforms, but software compatibility is limited according to architecture. We have
charted the relative size of a software portfolio on the vertical axis against the enthusiasm and popularity
among the ISV community on the horizontal axis. In addition, the shapes signify whether an OS has a diverse
and balanced portfolio that suits multiple styles of application or those cases where the portfolio is geared
mostly toward network-centric workloads (application, Web and infrastructure serving) or data-centric
workloads (DBMS and vertically scaling applications). It’s instructive to note that much of the viable green
territory of the chart is the habitat of OSs on x86, or at least the intended target (note the arrow pointing up and
to the right for SUSE Enterprise Linux and Solaris on x86). Note also that the Unix positions are still in safe
territory but are and will be subject to downward forces — that is, diminished interest by ISVs.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 17
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Use the OS Life Cycle Model as a Harbinger


of Risk
< SWEET SPOT >

Windows

P L A N N I N G
COLOR KEY

Red Hat Linux 2007


2009
SUSE Linux x86
2011
Solaris
HP-UX Growing

M I G R A T I O N
AIX Emerging
RISC/Itanium
z/OS
i5/OS
OpenVMS
Netware
g

g
e
g
ng

ur
in

in
in
gi

in
ow

at

at
er

cl
id

M
Gr
Em

De
ol

Relative New Deployment Risk


ns
Co

OSs and their associated platforms can be classified according to five categories based on their maturity and
market acceptance. The five main categories include: Emerging, Growing, Consolidating, Mature and
Declining. Each category is further defined by a set of management processes that enable the IT architecture
committee to qualify each OS by usage and life cycle. Using this model as a Decision Framework, enterprise
architects and planners can minimize risk, such as platform/OS obsolescence, lack of support or higher support
costs. We recommend that architects and planners do an inventory analysis of their production OSs and
consolidate them to a few strategic OS/images for mainstream enterprise applications and solutions. We
recommend that IT asset managers analyze and review annually each OS to determine whether it remains in
the current category or should be moved from one category to another. Prepare to phase out within 12-24
months an OS determined to be in the Declining category and phase in an OS that is considered in the Growing
category.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 18
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

As Commitments to Linux Run to High Volumes,


Negotiate Aggressively and Consider Self-Support
Case Examples
User A pays $200/server/year on high-volume low-end tier
distribution but $1000/server/year on high-end (qty 4000) —
Negotiate an enterprise agreement
User B was priced by the Linux distributor at $1200/server/year
and by the platform vendor on same Linux distribution at
$700/server/year (qty 300) — Consider IBM, HP
User C found that reorganizing a large DBMS on a rack of 20
or more x86 servers was more expensive than the current
single midrange Unix server license (qty 1) — Remain on Unix
User D Linux distributor charged by server for a few images —
Use a clone; enforce standardization and governance; hire
Linux experts and manage support with help of the Web

We have seen an increase in the number of inquiries concerning Linux subscription license fees as
deployments escalate into the hundreds and approach the thousands of servers. While consolidation is
occurring around Windows and Linux on x86, there are still a number of options with regard to negotiating
favorable contracts. For example, some users are opting out of support contracts on lower-tier deployments and
where they have improved overall Linux administration skills internally. Others have outsourced support
contracts, and yet others have vested support with the hardware platform provider, such as IBM, HP and Dell.
The more that IT organizations can consolidate server deployments and OSs to fewer standard and cloned
images, the less likely the need for a large number of disparate support contracts. The hardware vendors who
buy original equipment manufacturer (OEM) subscription support contracts can offer discounts as high as 50%
off the distributor’s list. Competitive takeouts, such as Oracle replacing Red Hat or Novell in place of Red Hat,
can also offer significant discounts. In some cases, a Windows versus Linux bake off can offer substantial
savings as long as the IT organization has flexible options on either OS. Finally, Linux may not always offer
the expected savings over Unix when migration charges are factored in, such as complex databases that are
already tuned and perform well on single symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) machines. The DBMS on
clustered x86 nodes may require more central processing unit (CPU) licenses at lower scalability than an SMP,
making the Unix midrange a better TCO option.
This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 19
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

When and What Migrations Make the Most


Sense?
To Windows Linux Solaris
From
• High license fees • Employ Sun OSS
• Large replicated stack (for example,
server farms MySQL)
Windows
• Compute clusters
• OSS tools/apps.

• Inexperienced admins. • Poor Linux experience


• Bad experience/ • Higher performance
support • Mission-critical
Linux • Proven back-office support
stack

• New applications not • SPARC end of life


available on Sun x86 • Standardizing on
servers non-Sun x86
Solaris • Consolidating away • Migrating Unix to
from Unix Linux
• Building Linux skills

With x86 as a popular common denominator technology for infrastructure, Web, application and even DBMS
servers, many IT organizations face a transition from legacy platforms running on non-x86 technologies or
older x86 platforms. They are concerned about migration costs but have no preconceived plan of which
applications should be migrated, when and in what time frame. The matrix is meant to be a simplified
approach to beginning a planning process toward making migrations by examining the decision variables, pro
or con, in specific migration source-target combinations. As an example, a Windows-to-Linux source-target
option would be considered acceptable when Windows license fees are inordinately high, large replicated
server farms or compute clusters could enable free self-supported downloads and preferences exist for open
source tools and applications. In contrast, a Linux-to-Windows migration might be preferable when a bad
experience in support or implementation was painful or the IT organization is insufficiently staffed with Linux
skills but tried Linux anyway. Similarly, Solaris and Linux migrations can be validated against the mission-
critical nature of the applications, the organization’s willingness to standardize on Linux and diminish Solaris
(or vice versa) and to ramp up Solaris as a better alternative to Linux on Sun hardware. Planners are urged to
create a migration planning document for all relevant combinations as guidelines for x86 OS deployments.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 20
Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris on x86 Servers: Decision Time, Now

Recommendations and Actions


9 Today: Use the life cycle, ISV, migration and SWOT models
to validate OS strategic planning.
9 Use x86 as the common denominator to enable more
aggressive price and support negotiations.

9 Tomorrow: Begin an analysis of platform and OS use cases


and bracket each into best-to-least fit for purpose.

9 Long Term: Get familiar with the vendors’ plans to


innovate, integrate, support and manage their OSs into
massively scaled infrastructures for virtualization and
cloud-based computing.

This presentation, including any supporting materials, is owned by Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates and is for the sole use of the
intended Gartner audience or other authorized recipients. This presentation may contain information that is confidential,
proprietary or otherwise legally protected, and it may not be further copied, distributed or publicly displayed without the express George Weiss
written permission of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
SYM18_1062, 10/08, AE Page 21