Where is enterprise Linux headed

There is that shift in Microsoft’s attitude to Linux, there is momentum for Linux-only mainframes and more

Pratima Harigunani
New Update

Rajarshi Bhattacharyya


The world of Linux has changed considerably since it was conceptualized in early 90’s. Today, enterprises welcome Linux and open source with open arms. The biggest change we’ve seen perhaps is the shift in Microsoft’s attitude to Linux. Microsoft has not only warmed up but has embraced Linux whole-heartedly by offering products which run on Linux.

No doubt, the future of an enterprise lies in open source. Let’s look ahead to comprehend trends that will shape the Linux community and enterprise market.

Growing popularity of Linux-only mainframe


Linux-only mainframes are highly popular among CIOs today. Linux operating systems are hardware independent and work on all hardware - from mainframes to commodity hardware. Linux on mainframes can provide performance benchmarks as good as any proprietary OS and thus the acceptance of Linux-only mainframes is increasing at a rapid pace. IBM’s launch of LinuxONE is a very positive step in this direction.

It was predicted in the early 90’s that mainframe would see its death due to falling revenue by 1996. Twenty years later, it’s still an essential part of an organization. Who saved it? In a word: Linux. Mainframes are neither one of today’s hot tech-trends like mobility and big data, nor are they a 'dinosaur' that refused to evolve. Instead of stealing the limelight, mainframes have quietly adapted to each new wave of technology to maintain its place at the center of major industries like finance, government and healthcare.

Increase in UNIX to Linux migration


Linux is rapidly displacing UNIX in the datacenter. UNIX to Linux migrations are primarily driven by performance and cost optimization. With the adoption of Linux, enterprises and government organizations can save immense cost and also improve performance. Currently, Linux offers applications like SAP, Oracle, trading applications and a host of other mission critical applications.

With this, the replacement of UNIX is happening at an exponential rate. India is not behind as major corporations and government bodies have been adopting Linux in data centers. Besides, the customers now get to choose their hardware and avoid the issue of vendor lock-in.

Linux on cloud


Linux is now the primary platform for cloud and users consider the operating system more secure than alternative platforms. The adoption of OpenStack cloud in private and public cloud environment has catapulted Linux adoption in the cloud.

According to the ‘Enterprise End User Trends Report’ released by The Linux Foundation- a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development - Linux is the go-to choice for cloud with 75 per cent of enterprises reporting they use Linux as their primary cloud platform. These numbers compare to fewer than 24 per cent using Windows and less than two percent using UNIX to support the cloud. Linux is a perfect guest and host operating system. It runs seamlessly, irrespective of the underlying operating system and the hypervisors.

Triumph over proprietary solutions


The line between open source and proprietary software is blurring. 'Microsoft loves Linux' isn’t something we expected to hear, but that’s what Satya Nadella said at an event in San Francisco. The harsh reality today is that Microsoft is losing on the enterprise front. Most of the workloads that enterprises run today are available on Linux. This has led to marked improvement of performance as well cost reduction. Moreover, Linux has less administrative overheads and hence, is gaining more popularity amongst the CIO’s.

Brush up your skills

The demand for IT professionals who know how to operate a Linux terminal has risen to a point where hiring managers are struggling to fill roles. As always, certifications continue to hold its place as a door opener for a job seeker and it still holds a substantial value. Linux Career compiled a chart taking data from approximately ten thousand job advertisements posted around the world from January 2016 to April 2016 and found that the data leans towards Linux and UNIX environments. Some of the skills that will help you career evolve are:


 Virtualization and virtual machine management

 Enterprise monitoring and management frameworks

 Working in structured change management processes for highly available enterprise systems, combined with knowledge of clusters and high availability

 Knowledge of the Linux kernel and kernel modules

This year, Linux will continue to make more waves than it ever has. The success of Linux in big data and storage will skyrocket through the business technology landscape. This, topped with its use in home automation, will enable Linux to handle more tasks in the business world.

(Rajarshi Bhattacharyya is Country Head at SUSE, India. Views expressed here are of the author and CyberMedia does not necessarily endorse them.)