# Data center growth numbers

From an article in Computerworld.. They note some results reported at a Gartner data center conference recently.
Before I go into this, please remember that I am still laughing over the Itanium2 installed base debacle that Gartner had “predicted” in the previous decade (and early part of this decade). So, as with all projections, take theirs with a few kg of salt.
What is most interesting is that they give current numbers. And these current numbers seem to agree with the vast majority of other reports, and fly in the face of the reports which (almost gleefully) predict imminent failure or reversal of fortunes of particular platforms.

Gartner, at its data center conference this week, said Windows is expected to get $19.6 billion this year rising to$22.2 billion by 2012. Linux, meanwhile, will grow from $8.6 billion to$12.2 billion over that same period.

Ignoring the 2012 numbers for the moment (remember, predictions …), current numbers are $19.6 B for windows, and$8.6 B for Linux in the data center. That is, Linux has about 44% of the revenue of windows.
Doesn’t sound like Linux is in retreat in absolute or relative terms. Most of the other data on the market says similar things albeit with slightly different numbers.
Moreover, the current market size is \$54 B. Windows stands at 36.3% of the market, and Linux stands at 15.9%. Unix (AIX, HPUX, Solaris) is at 30.3%, and 17.6% takes up the “other” category (VMS, Mainframe,…).
The article also notes something we have been pointing to for a long time:

Users will also continue to seek to simplify their enviornment, often by cutting back on the number of operating systems where possible. In an audience poll, the majority of attendees — 80% — were either reducing the number of supported operating systems or maintaining that number, with just one-fifth opting to add to their OS mix.

Additional OSes cost vendors money, they cost end users money. Most of our customers have basically settled on two OSes going forward, Windows and Linux. While Gartner predicts that Unix revenue will stay flat over the next several years, this is belied by the fact that the users are seeking to reduce the number of OSes in their data centers. Fewer OSes. This is part of why virtualization is so interesting to so many people. You don’t need to stand up all the complex hardware, just get a cloud of servers (or blade servers), and load up virtual machines. New applications can be assigned virtual machines.
But that is another story. The point is that the recent rumours of Linux’s reversal of fortunes appears to be an outlier report, and not well substantiated by facts. On the contrary, it appears that it is growing at a rapid clip. Gartner predicts that Windows will grow 13.3% over the next 5 years. They also predict Linux will grow 41.9% during this time. While I am very cautious about their predictions, given their past, this is quite interesting.
It wouldn’t be growing if there was no demand. Or if it was too hard to use.