Open-source operating systems, such as Linux, are seeing increased adoption numbers on business critical servers and other priority equipment. The Linux Foundation discovered 73 percent of enterprises relied on Linux-based operating systems to handle essential servers, especially those dealing with the cloud and big data. The world is moving more towards open operating systems at every level, from Android on mobile to Linux handling half of the websites. What drives the popularity of open source operating systems?

Open operating systems reduce the cost and complexity associated with server operating systems. The operating system (OS) is free to use, so companies don’t have to jump through costly hoops figuring out the correct software license before they get started on their projects. The open-source code allows companies to have complete visibility into the coding and custom development to meet their needs. OS security also benefits from having multiple eyes on the code, instead of a single security team trying to investigate every intrusion and bug report.

Pairing an open operating system with a top-performing business critical server, such as IBM Power servers, gives organizations substantial flexibility. Originally, IBM Power servers could only be used with AIX, a proprietary IBM operating system. Organizations were limited in custom development and integration opportunities, which potentially limited business growth and agility. In contrast, an IBM Power server paired with an open-source OS such as Linux gives organizations the foundation they need to build a flexible, secure and powerful business critical environment.

It is true that proprietary OS such as AIX can be very high performing and offer certain advantages over open OS in particular circumstances. However the option of being able to have an open OS such as Linux installed on your business critical server can be a crucial, flexible benefit in the marketplace, and many companies are beginning to leverage this. For example, combining the RAS (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability) benefit of a top-tier server such as Power with the openness of a Linux OS can provide corporations with a win-win competitive advantage when it comes to compute capabilities.

The development community surrounding many open operating systems also provides additional competitive advantages for companies. For example, Redis Labs, a Gartner MQ leader in operational database management systems, can easily work with applications hosted on a server with an open source OS and supports IBM Power8 natively. Redis Labs technology is also based on an open source project (Redis OSS) which is the fastest growing NoSQL database since 2013. Redis is increasingly being used by major websites and enterprise customers for high speed transactions, in-database analytics, time series data, high speed data ingestion, geo search, advertising, social functionality and gaming. Under a closed operating system platform it would be much more difficult for independent technology solution providers, such as Redis Labs, to effectively provide their solutions to such a wide user base.

Open source operating systems continue to play a prominent role in the technology world. Enterprise adoption rates for open operating systems continue to grow, especially as companies seek out flexibility to grow their cloud and big data solutions. For business critical servers, adopting an open OS could provide substantial benefits from both a cost and performance perspective.