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The Next Wave of Linux in the Datacenter

Linux offers unique benefits, the next wave of deployments will benefit from innovation that only could happen on Linux: production virtualization.

A growing number of businesses are integrating Linux into the enterprise, and IDC reports Linux use is forecast to grow an average of 24.2 percent worldwide between 2003 and 2008 - more than three times faster than Windows, the only other OS predicted to increase in use over time. Major industries, including telecommunications, financial services, and government have already aggressively deployed Linux in production workloads like databases, SAP, messaging services, and custom applications.

The ballooning popularity of Linux is not surprising. After all, it offers fundamentally unique benefits of cost, choice, and control in both business and technical terms. While such benefits have gotten Linux this far in the data center, the next wave of deployments will benefit from another wave of innovation that only could happen on Linux: production virtualization.

In all of this transition and migration, perhaps the most important driver for Linux in the data center is the availability of a growing number of tools that provide heterogeneous availability, performance, and automation for production Linux workloads - seamlessly, across both physical and the emerging virtualized deployments.

UNIX and Linux

Just as the adoption of UNIX accelerated with the arrival of commercially available solutions that enabled more sophisticated backup and data management, the use of Linux is being aided by new technologies for data center automation and business continuity.

When the first journaling file system for UNIX was developed and made available by a third party, it marked the beginning of the OS's acceptance in the enterprise data center. This innovation was followed by the release of a vendor-independent storage management system built around a volume manager, which gave organizations more flexibility in selecting storage devices. Then came powerful backup server solutions that provided enterprises the high level of data protection they required - without having to bring down applications.

Today, new technologies for the Linux enterprise help simplify and lower the cost of storage management and enhance the performance and availability of data and applications - even as data volumes grow and IT budgets and system administrators don't. And there are new technologies emerging in virtualization and data center automation that effectively let Linux architects leapfrog the traditional boundaries of proprietary UNIX solutions. However, several barriers do exist to implementing Linux in the enterprise.

Andy Fenselau is a Senior Group Manager for Symantec. Andy can be reached at

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