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back to article Windows server revenue outpaced Linux in Q4

In Gartner's assessment of the server market in the fourth quarter of 2009, X64 servers and blades in particular were singled out as the growth engines. With IDC's similar, but different, report Thursday we learn that the Windows platform was the real beneficiary of the bump in sales. IDC tracks factory revenues by the server …

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No accounting for free

So, what is the value of the free distributions of Linux and BSD that were installed on these servers that were shipped? I know that in the financial services market, a great percentage of servers are running CentOS, Fedora, et al. The managers of these systems don't need MS, Red Hat, or IBM support to keep their systems running - they can probably teach them a thing or three...

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Anonymous Coward

Uhh.. free versions?

Like CentOS which is basically a Red Hat clone, I know a lot of places deploying CentOS (they start with it in testing then realize it works fine and stop buying so many Red Hat licenses).

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Corporate policy to migrate from RHEL to CentOS

My company recently sent out an announcement, urging us to migrate from RedHat Enterprise to Suse Enterprise, It would save the company several 100K £. Suse is approx 30% cheaper.

Although we mostly use CentOS and OpenSuse, I find it OK to pay for support and give money back to those providing us such fine piece of software, but the support prices of Redhat are rather high ($179USD per low end server, without discounts). I urge you to use Suse instead. IMHO it is a far better distribution especially for us with non american characters and KDE fanboys.

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Silver badge

In translation ...

"IDC reckons that 1.9 million units shipped out of vendor factories (this is not the same thing as the number of servers sold to customers since there is some inventory in the channel)"

"Shipped" in this case does not mean profit ... it means "built, tested, working, ready to go, and off the manufacturing floor", regardless of which corner of the facility it's gathering dust in.

"In the channel" means product was loaded into trucks at the shipping dock, and sometimes actually driven off campus, even though that product hasn't been sold to an actual customer yet.

Both of the above are marketing/accounting terms ... and usually used when twisting the books to fool the investors when actual cash-flow is negative.

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Revenue?

Microsoft may have outpaced Linux with server revenue but what about actual installs?

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Anonymous Coward

Usual Linux question

That the article does not address. How do they count Linux installations? It's a know fact (ask Google, Red Hat, Novell and Canonical about that) that there are many many many more servers running Linux than the ones that are sold with Linux preinstalled.

How do they adjust for that skew? I'm not saying that the conclusions are wrong, (which they could be) just that the numbers probably do not reflect the real situation.

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Stop

exactly true.

There is no category here for servers without an OS or servers with FreeDOS. I prefer a much different install to whatever they will give me at the factory so I always chose a system without OS and install Debian myself with the filesystem layout I want when the servers arrive.

It's also worth noting that, since I buy servers direct from the manufacturer, they are never "in the channel". I suspect the sort of people who are happy buying servers from a reseller are the same ones happy to have it come with a pre-installed Windows.

This article is one large FUD piece since the channel has actually become less relevant in the past decade thanks to Dell and friends.

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Grenade

Gerhard Mack

So u bought a server and installed Debian on it. Good for you. No get a bloody grip of yourself. Does what u did effect the trend ? Does it hell.

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WTF?

Revenue vs volume

I think this article mixes up linux and unix too much. All linux sales I've seen have been on x86-64 kit, with way less spent on hardware and OS than classic unix deals. But the number of boxes shipped kind of compensates, at least it does when you consider the H/W vendors have to do way less R&D expenditure keeping their own brands of Unix alive.

What is happening is that Linux sales in x86-64 are are killing Unix sales first, and so yes, I'd expect Unix+Linux revenue to drop because Linux is like unix only on commodity hardware. What about the volumes? How can your reporter (or gartner) assume that all 64-bit x86 sales go to Windows? I'd like to see more data here, but the problem is that you will only see the numbers from people who buy support contracts from RedHat, Novell or Canonical, you dont see the numbers of people who download ubunut or Centos and pay $0 for their OS image, as they don't count as sales.

For that reason, everyone may be underestimating Linux use. "May" -there's also the issue of pirate windows versions to deal with too, which could also lead to underreporting.

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Linux

Revenue not popularity...

All this says it that more companies are using free Linux distributions rather that paid for versions.

I work in the hosting industry and Linux dedicated/virtualized servers are massively outselling Windows - but guess what the Linux companies get 0 cash as we use free versions.

Also anyone running bind on Windows 2008 good luck to you - I can easily crash (remotely) bind on any windows server running the latest bind......

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Stop

Pointlessly required title entry

All that tells me is not to run bind. It doesn't tell me not to run Windows. Not to mention that any decent sized operation isn't running dns on anything but a ver small percentage of machines.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with your underlying premise, jsut saying that your evidence/example is severly flawed.

Finally, how long can the linux market really survive with people not making money out of the development and packaging of distros? Surely there's a breaking point where people realise they need food and somewhere to sleep so they need to get paid?

Free software isn't free, someone's paying for it somewhere.

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Grenade

Stupid mathematics

Windows HAS to be upgraded every so often. When the usual Windows OS needs upgrading, 'cause they cut support ... so does the hardware. Linux is the original server room Energizer bunny .. keeps on going ... and going ... and going ...

Now that M$ seem to be forcing people back in to a regular cycle; determined not to let themselves get back in to an OS life span that XP has enjoyed, people are just going to have to pay, and pay, and pay ...

A friend of mine jsut decided to take the plunge with Linux on one of those low powere mobile chips on a low-cost PC ... and she was stunned to the n'th degree that Compiz runs on it without loosing a heartbeat.

The figures might well be perfectly true, but the story they tell is that if you remain an M$ shop, it will continue to cost you a small, ongoing, fortune and ongoing costs in a never ending upgrade cycle.

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Anonymous Coward

wait few weeks before praising

What did your friend say when she tried to use her camera on her new pc and it didn't work? can she still print?

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g e
Silver badge

Perhaps....

The people running Linux farms get more done per CPU time than Windows ones so need to buy fewer boxes ??

Do modern Windows server installations still run the entire damned GUI?

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Linux

Windows Server & GUI

An interesting question, and the answer is that no, they don't have to.

There's an option when installing which installs it without most of the GUI. You get a console interface (powershell?).

Penguin, 'cause I'm still using Linux. Interesting to note that I operate more Linux servers than Windows ones, but the Linux ones are all virtual so sit on 4 boxes whereas there are more than twice as many Windows servers, all physical.

Yet another job to do!

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Anonymous Coward

this is largely le bollocks

Given that a lot of the time, when I buy servers, they seem to come with bloody Windows anyway, which I just wipe and replace with Debian...

The figures from various punditry spreadsheet monkeys capture don't take account of what people have always done, which is ignore the poity hairs, buy whatever will get through their retarded purchasing system, and install a proper OS to get the job done reliably later.

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You forget...

So long as you keep paying for those Windows licenses, MS don't really care if you use it or not.

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FAIL

Many server vendors offer the option of no OS pre-installed

I really think these surveys based on revenue generated by sales of server OS'es are *ridculous*. This is because - unlike the majority of desktop/laptop/netbook sales - it is very easy to buy a major OEM server without an OS pre-installed. We do it all the time with Dell PowerEdges and HP blades for example - buy the servers with no OS and put CentOS on them afterwards.

Now assuming that a company's IT dept wouldn't install a pirate copy of Windows on a purchased server and the cost of an OS-less server+retail Windows server software is higher than the "bundled" server+Windows deals OEMs do, then pretty well the only OS you'd install on a typical x86_64 OS-less server is going to be some form of free UNIX (almost certainly Linux).

Hence, anyone who is surveying the penetration of server OS'es can't just use sales figures for their basis. They also need to send out surveys to companies and basically ask them what OS'es they actually put into production on their servers. Sadly, we see very few of these surveys, so we're quite often left with completely unsatisfactory "market share of paid-for server OS'es" surveys which are probably easy to compile (e-mail half a dozen big OEMs, get their figures and add them up) and just about worthless in the big scheme of things. It just shows revenue trends, *not* market share of installed OSes.

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FAIL

@this is largely bollocks

Actually, I reckon it's completely bollocks, and has been ever since these numbers first started being circulated.

Who supplies the world's most widely used servers? Compaq (well, HP if you must), and to be specific the Proliant range.

What OS does it come with?

NONE.

Let's read that again, loudly so Tim can read it too: NO OS IS SUPPLIED BY DEFAULT WITH A PROLIANT SERVER.

So how do the nice people at Gartner and IDC know what all these servers are running?

At the low end, it'll be a mix between Windows SBS, and a Linux. Windows SBS may or may not be sold with the server but a Linux almost certainly won't, the Linux part of a Linux/Proliant sale is invisible.

At the high end, it'll be a mix between Windows and Linux. The high end customers will have their own software supply arrangements with MS or an MS reseller, so even if it's a Windows/Proliant sale, the Windows part of the sale is invisible. And once again so is the Linux part of a Linux/Proliant sale.

In the middle of the market, who knows.

Until proven otherwise, these are nothing more than made up numbers.

But please don't tell anyone that the emperor has no clothes, as he may then catch cold.

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Big Brother

Re: @this is largely bollocks

"Let's read that again, loudly so Tim can read it too: NO OS IS SUPPLIED BY DEFAULT WITH A PROLIANT SERVER.

So how do the nice people at Gartner and IDC know what all these servers are running?"

HP and the other vendors supply Gartner and IDC with info about how much they've sold. The vendor's aren't completely ignorant of what their customers do. They get this info from many sources: sales, help desk, higher end machines call home, etc..

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Thumb Down

This is news?

The revenue of something that costs "windows server" outpaces something that is free - Linux, hmmm looks like the headline is targetted that the purchasers who feel the need to buy whatever most money is being currently spent on, because they're incapable of analysing the benefit of something that you don't have to pay for. After all, if its free, then it can't have any real value ... can it?

Yes I know its trying to take shipped boxes into account, but the headline looks to be like an attempt to make people more comfortable spending their money on windows. It falls into the same bucket as the reason why its difficult to find Linux boxes in PC world shops... which is simply because if its free, PC World don't make money on it, where as something like Windows has all sorts of opportunties for adding markups and selling other paid for software like MS Office, rather than pointing the customer to the equivalent free Open Office.

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