IT Organizations Turn to Linux in Economic Downturn

March 16, 2009

New global survey reveals more than half of participants plan to accelerate their adoption of Linux in 2009


Novell today announced that a recent market survey, conducted by IDC and sponsored by Novell, reveals a surge in the acquisition of Linux driven by the worldwide recession. As more and more businesses seek to cut costs and find value, they are drawn to the tremendous economies that Linux offers, with more than half of the IT executives surveyed planning to accelerate Linux adoption in 2009. In addition, more than 72 percent of respondents say they are either actively evaluating or have already decided to increase their adoption of Linux on the server in 2009, with more than 68 percent making the same claim for the desktop. The study surveyed more than 300 senior IT executives spanning manufacturing, financial services, and retail industries across the globe, as well as government agencies.

The survey revealed key drivers of the burgeoning interest in Linux. The number one motivation executives gave for migrating to Linux was economic and related to lowering ongoing support costs. As a consequence, more than 40 percent of survey participants said they plan to deploy additional workloads on Linux over the next 12-24 months and 49 percent indicated Linux will be their primary server platform within five years. Notably, however, those who are hesitant to adopt Linux cited lack of application support and poor interoperability with Windows and other environments as their primary concerns.

"The feedback gleaned from this market survey confirms our belief that, as organizations fight to cut costs and find value in this tough economic climate, Linux adoption will accelerate," said Markus Rex, general manager and senior vice president for Open Platform Solutions at Novell. "Companies also told us that strengthening Linux application support, interoperability, virtualization capabilities and technical support will all fuel adoption even more."

Additional key survey findings include:

  • 67 percent of respondents stated that interoperability and manageability between Linux and Windows is one of the most important factors when choosing an operating system.
  • The retail industry showed the greatest potential for acceleration in Linux adoption with 63 percent of respondents planning an increase on the desktop and 69 percent considering the same on the server. The government sector lagged.
  • Almost 50 percent of respondents plan to accelerate adoption of Linux on the desktop, especially for basic office functions, technical workstation users, and higher education/K-12.
  • Nearly half of respondents stated that moving to virtualization is accelerating their adoption of Linux. Eighty-eight percent of recipients plan to evaluate, deploy or increase their use of virtualization software within Linux operating systems over the next 12-24 months.
  • From a regional perspective, Asia/Pacific is the most bullish on increasing Linux adoption, as 73 percent of respondents said they would increase deployments on the server and 70 percent on the desktop. In the Americas, 66 percent of respondents said they are either evaluating or have already decided to increase adoption of Linux on the desktop and 67 percent on the server.
  • The economic crisis has had the biggest effect on the Americas, and in financial services and government. More than 62 percent of respondents said that their budget has been cut or that they are only investing where needed.


"Economic downturns have the tendency to accelerate emerging technologies, boost the adoption of effective solutions and punish solutions that are not cost competitive," said Al Gillen, program vice president, system software, IDC. "This survey confirms that Linux users view it favorably, and this view places Linux in a competitive position to emerge from this downturn as a stronger solution."

The research was conducted in February 2009 and polled more than 300 IT professionals with oversight on Linux and other operating system purchases for their views. Participating organizations had to have more than 100 employees; the survey was looking primarily for IT decision makers familiar with Linux usage and adoption plans. Among the survey participants, 55 percent had Linux server operating systems in use, 39 percent had UNIX server operating systems in use, and 97 percent had Windows server operating systems in use. Typical respondents had titles such as CIO, VP IT, IT Director, IT Manager, IT Staff, and IT Consultant. Respondents were pre-screened via demographics screeners and completed the survey online. Novell was not involved in recruiting, and respondents did not need to be Novell customers.

An IDC white paper 1 summarizing the survey findings can be found at

About Novell

Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) delivers the best engineered, most interoperable Linux platform and a portfolio of integrated IT management software that helps customers around the world reduce cost, complexity and risk. With our infrastructure software and ecosystem of partnerships, Novell harmoniously integrates mixed IT environments, allowing people and technology to work as one. For more information, visit

(1) IDC White Paper sponsored by Novell, Linux Adoption in a Global Recession, Doc # 217280, March 2009.

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