Linux Webhosting: Choice for Small and Medium Businesses

linux110 Linux Webhosting: Choice for Small and Medium Businesses
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In Large enterprises Linux is adopted, however there are many people who don’t know that there are sizeable numbers of installations in small and medium businesses (SMBs) as well. Now –a-days use of Linux servers and applications at SMBs is growing.

As per country manager, pSeries & Open power, IBM, “Unlike large enterprises, SMBs do not have to face the challenge of migrating legacy applications. The popularity with SMBs has helped Linux grow at 30 percent globally”.

As per general consensus Linux did better in 2004 than predicted. Director Enterprise Marketing & alliances, Customers solution Group, HP India says, “ As per IDC India, Linux in the server market grew by 48 percent in OND, 2004 over JAS, 2004, while the windows and Unix markets showed a modest 3 percent and 3.4 percent growth respectively during the same period.”

Success of any operating system depends upon the availability of required applications. As such SMBs serves as a boon for Linux servers as it offers them lower TCO and tighter control on their IT spends. However as many SMBs already have home grown applications, a proprietary OS will be the single largest area of spending. This point makes Linux most advantageous.

Vertical scability has grown a lot due to the availability of version 2.6 of the Linux kernel in Red hat Enterprise Linux 4 and Novell’s SuSE 9 .Due to emerging role of SMBs in global supply chain; they demand enterprise applications on Linux to keep their investment low. This helps in enabling Linux server market grows worldwide.

Why to opt for Linux Based servers?

Two factors on which Linux serves best are cost and better security as the source code of proprietary software is always kept a secret. Due to the support of community, any security hole in Linux is quickly found and patched.

Linux helps in saving not only software costs but also offers long term saving on hardware. SMB instead of upgrading software with Linux can take control of its IT strategy. Chief technology officer of IDBI bank says, “You decide when you wish to upgrade, not the vendor, hence you get tighter control on your spending.” This is very important particularly for users, such as SMBs that cannot afford to keep up with the pace of change in commercial software.

Business application and Linux

All credit goes to Oracle for driving the Linux server market. In beginning of 2004,Oracle came up with a value offering. Among other features it offered pre- configured Oracle E-Business Suite special edition on Lintel Boxes for a 10 user License for $36,000USD. The traction of this offering was seen towards the end of 2004 when we closed a dozen deals that were in various stages of implementation, says General Manager, Oracle India. This is an authentication that SMBs are opting for Linux servers. In other hand SAP is following Oracle in making application available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Customized and certified

The importance of Linux is growing as all server vendors including HP, IBM and SGI are opting for Linux and each has a SMB specific business strategy in order to make them grow.

In one its announcements HP told that some of its high end computing tools from the HP-UX environment are ported onto Linux and made available to SMBs.It includes a clustering solution termed as HP service guard for high availability of applications and management tools such as Systems insight Manager (SIM) and open view that offer third party integration. In addition to that HP is creating a reference architecture stack, including hardware, OS, database and Middleware. In order to increase confidence in customers, HP certifies a stack so that customers can confidently deploy their core business application on Linux. Linux servers are quite popular in high performance computing (HPC) environments such as research labs.

Recently IBM has launched a new family of eserver Openpower systems based on its Power5 processor specially designed for Linux. The Power5 comes with a micropartitioning technology called Virtualization Engine (VE) wherein each processor can be sliced into ten virtual partitions with each partition acting as a new server. IBM’s eserver Openpower 710 is a single CPU processor with 3 HDDs and 512 MB memory with RAID level 1 and 5. This eserver offers SMBs an affordable alternative against higher priced entry-level Unix or Linux system. Openpower offers a 64bit platform at a price point of a 32-bit offering. It is believed to be the right product for the mass market.

Sun Microsystems has the Sun fire V20 and V40 severs based on the 64-bit AMD Opteron processor, which has been successful with SMBs. It also offers the Solaris 10 Opetron combination. Sun is promoting Solaris 10 to take the fight to commercial Linux by offering several features such as support of email, phone and onsite at a comparatively low price. The list of Sun customers is quite big which includes advanced scientific research, elite foods, Sage Design systems, Centre for DNA fingerprinting and diagnostics etc.

The uses of Linux servers are very much like they are used by SMBs for CAD analysis, CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and FEA (Finite Element Analysis). Linux systems are rugged as they come with SGI Propack over and above the standard Linux Kernel. This provides the ability to customers to scale there computing environments with independent I/O, memory and power supply.

Banking on Support

Linux is taking place in most of the commercial business applications in verticals like in manufacturing, small banking and hospitality. To add more points to Linux server market now tally o Linux is available .Red hat has 950 ISV partners who are indulged in developing applications that run on its Linux distributions. In order to meet SMB requirements, Linux offers secure and scalable solutions. IBM also has 35 to 40 pure Linux partners offering consultancy and helps it in integrating and implementing services for its customers using Linux.

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