"But is has a long way to go before it dominates the enterprise data center like it does these markets."
I'm a little out of the loop here I guess. Is Google's massively retarded data center not enterprise enough, or is too big too much?
Like many new technologies, the Linux operating system got its big break in high performance computing. There is a symbiotic relationship between Linux and HPC that seems natural and normal today, and the Linux Foundation, which is the steward of the Linux kernel and other important open source projects – and, importantly, the …
"I'm a little out of the loop here I guess. Is Google's massively retarded data center not enterprise enough, or is too big too much?"
It's 'centre' and what The Borg decides to do hardly counts as domination....Windows Server currently has a 75% market share in the enterprise server market: http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2013/01/09/an-overview-why-microsofts-worth-42/
> Windows Server currently has a 75% market share in the enterprise server market:
Oh, look here, random stats.
Sounds plausible, but...
Windows is now deployed on 75 percent of all new servers shipped, according to IDC’s May 2012 forecast. Linux is now deployed on 25 percent of all new servers shipped, and is also stuck there.
So we have those numbers on "servers shipped with OS" ... how many servers are shipped "without OS"? Quite a lot probably. How many of these will be running WIndows? Probably none.
How many of these will be running WIndows? Probably none.
'None' is most definitely the wrong answer to that question. 'Few' is plausible, but there are plenty of shops out there, including the one I work at, that prefer to set up Windows themselves.
That said I would imagine that the same is true of most Linux shops. Especially given the fact that most vendors only offer a few choices for distros (if any at all). Those are almost invariably Ubuntu, SUSE, and Red Hat. I've never seen a major server vendor offer Debian (my own distro of choice) or Arch for instance, both of which are major players in the Linux server market. Debian, in particular has a 29% share of Linux web servers and a 9% share of web servers over all according to some studies, and that's just web servers. I would imagine that if a company prefers Debian for its web server then it would probably prefer it for its other servers as well.
Windows is now deployed on 75 percent of all new servers shipped, according to IDC’s May 2012 forecast. Linux is now deployed on 25 percent of all new servers shipped, and is also stuck there.
Of course. Windows "server and tools" products are so badly bloated that it takes three Windows servers to do the same job as one Linux server. That's not sarcasm or exaggeration; any objective data center operator will confirm that.
" Is Google's massively retarded data center not enterprise enough, or is too big too much?"
Google have big datacentres.
Whether they are representative of the rest of the "enterprise" datacentre market is entirely unclear.
If you are a manufacturing or financial or medical or whatever user, the *results* from your applications matter to the organisation. There are *transactions*, and the results of those transactions have to be right, and preferably the results have to be available on demand all the time.
If you are Google (search, mail, adspace, whatever), neither correctness nor availability matter all that much, so long as it doesn't start getting too visible.
Google have done some interesting stuff. But how much of it is applicable outside of their specific market(s) is debatable.
Until very recently, buying a computer with Linux pre-installed involved searching hard and paying extra for cut down hardware. If you went to the trouble of buying pre-installed Linux, the third thing you would do (after backup and hardware check) would be to replace all the vendor supplied software with your own image so you could be sure the machine would match others at your site, and would restore to a known state if required.
Most distributors would not sell a computer without Windows and crapware. Some would sell with FreeDOS, and pretend to Microsoft that it wasn't a Linux sale. People who knew one end of a screwdriver from the other could bolt a Linux box together from parts. People who wanted the crapware discount bought a Windows, and replaced it with Linux before it could say 'Do you accept this 50 page EULA?'
Linux 'market share' figures have always been tiny. The installed base has always been large - if not huge. Microsoft delivers 20% of web sites by host name - far less by gigabyte as the biggest sites are Linux. Ballmer's new strategy is to switch Desktop Windows users to legacy prices and focus on the 'Servers and tools' business. I am sure the next Gartner report will tell us Microsoft has 95% of the server market share and is set to increase by 10% over the next year.
"servers (Enterprise and higher) ... rarely have a "default" OS"
Exactly. Decent servers may have a few vendor-qualified and maybe even vendor-supported (for some definition of "supported") OSes, but even those OSes likely aren't sold in an unavoidable bundle with the hardware. There is no significant "Windows tax" in the server market. Server customers have a choice that desktop/laptop customers don't. Consequently many server customers don't choose Windows, but some of them do.
There is no significant "Windows tax" in the server market. Server customers have a choice that desktop/laptop customers don't. Consequently many server customers don't choose Windows, but some of them do.
Yes, same from my experience. Which makes wonder, where does "75% server market" statistic come from? Could this be proportion of server sales which are actually bundled with an OEM OS? If so, how does this compare with server (PC architecture) sales overall?
"where does "75% server market" statistic come from?"
"Could this be proportion of server sales which are actually bundled with an OEM OS?"
Maybe, maybe not. Either way, why would that be relevant?
How many "enterprise server" customers have some kind of deal with MS (or reseller) which means the purchase of the server OS is entirely separate from the purchase of the server hardware? I'm thinking the vast majority of enterprise servers are sold on that basis, and that it's therefore difficult to use server and OS sales figures to work out what's actually out there in the datacentres. What do other readers think?
Not likely, enterprise agreements like Software Assurance would cover upgrades, but you still need an initial license purchase. Therefore pretty much any server that's going to run Windows is going to be bought with a Windows Server license (possibly a cheaper SKU, but licensed nonetheless).
Equally is not even remotely difficult to buy a server without an OS or even with Linux and without paying the support premiums often charged on similar desktops, so anyone intending to run Linux is going to go for one of those options.
As such, it's a pretty safe bet that the 75% of servers sold with Windows are running it.
Yet again, another article on the Net that quotes revenue as the market share decider (Linux vs. Windows server). We don't know Linux's market share in servers in actual physical numbers because many server purchases intended to run Linux are made with no OS (besides, have you *seen* Dell's prices for their various RHEL combos - cost several times more than the equivalent Windows server licences!).
A lot of smaller shops that don't need support will buy a no-OS server and put a free OS on it (e.g. CentOS, openSUSE, Ubuntu Server, Debian etc. - there's plenty to choose from). I wouldn't be surprised if there's more no-OS-shipped servers running Linux than there are ones shipped with Linux, but no-one knows exactly.
Even Netcraft's Web survey - which shows Apache miles ahead of IIS, suggesting that Linux is well ahead of Windows - only covers Web servers and the majority of those will be more than a year old, so it's a rolling trend at best.
Conclusion: quoting market share based on revenue is somewhat misleading, because it's likely (though unprovable) that more than half Linux servers were shipped with no OS and therefore aren't reported as Linux in the revenue market share figures.
Thats only because you need 4 times the number of servers.
75% of the MARKET is relatively trivial when you realize that MS only recommends putting ONE service on ONE server. None of that DNS+mail+web server combinations. Can't keep MS systems running...
So need 3 or 4 times as many Windows servers is quite common.
And then there are the cases where one Linux server out performs 5 Windows servers.
"I believe Google runs a hardened version of Ubuntu"
Er I doubt it...lets see, one of the largest IT businesses in the world, with decades of programming skills,thousands of software techies and a major Linux contributor, chooses a 3rd party version that it has no control over.....
me thinks not.
It's their own version of Linux.
Errr...."Linux has come in and essentially replaced Unix"?
So???........ Linux isn't Unix?
That'll be news to a lot of people. I guess that means that HP/UX, Solaris, Tru64 and any of the *BSD variants aren't unix either!
Is this another example of history being re-written, if so who is it benefiting?
HP/UX, Solaris, Tru64 and a few others are "certified" as being Unix by The Open Group, who are custodians of standards such as the POSIX ones that define what a Unix should be. Linux is a "Unix like" since it isn't certified as a Unix. It costs money to get certified, and since a typical distribution is made up of sofware from many different sources it would be extremely time consuming to certify each version. I seem to recall a company attempting to get their distribution certified many years ago though, but I don't think they ever managed it. The BSDs are arguably the nearest descendents from the original Unix from AT&T, even more so than Solaris which has been diverged considerably from its SVR4 origins. However, like Linux they are not certified as being Unix, so they're also officially termed "Unix like" operating systems.
"I seem to recall a company attempting to get their distribution certified many years ago though, but I don't think they ever managed it. "
The one I remember from many years ago is Lasermoon who had a POSIX certified Linux distribution.
This was so long ago that vendors (Lasermoon and others rather more widely known) actually still believed that IT customers had actually understood the benefits of conformance to open standards. NB open standards not directly related to open source, obviously.
Unfortunately for Lasermoon and the rest who had taken "open standards" seriously, it turned out that what many customers who had been saying "we want open standards" really meant was "we want cheap to buy". Windows was seen as cheap to buy. It may or may not have been cheap to run in the medium term, but MS financial muscle through their network of certified MS dependent business partners ensured Windows was cheap to buy when it mattered to MS.
So???........ Linux isn't Unix?
Actually, no, it's not and never has been. Linux delivers a very similar experience to Unix, but under the hood it works quite differently. Despite what SCO claimed years ago there's no actual Unix code, except possibly a little bit that's in the public domain, in Linux.
In fact what we think of as Linux is actually GNU/Linux (Linux itself being just a kernel), and GNU actually stands for GNU's Not Unix.
BSD, on the other hand, IS Unix. The not-unix-ness of Linux is easily demonstrated by trying to run a Linux binary on a BSD box without the Linux compatibility layer installed.
True dat. The kinds of institutions running HPC clusters often have very bright programming folk on the payroll, and will make tweaks to the kernel souce to improve performance for their specific workloads. This means they're most likely running some sort of "Frankenstein" distro, based off of something like Suse, Debian, RedHat or whatever, but with plenty of in house changes.
Supercomputers are not running commodity Linux. In fact, they run a heavily modified stripped down Linux kernel, which has not much in common with a standard Linux kernel. If you can strip out everything except the bare minimal skeleton, then you can speed up the kernel say, 10%. This makes the entire supercomputer faster by up to, 10% - which is a lot in this domain. These people will do everything to speed up the kernel. It is like comparing a stripped down racing car with nothing in it (no protection, no nothing), to a commodity Volvo. Its a big difference.
For instance, IBM's supercomputer Blue Gene which officially runs Linux, does not. It uses Linux to distribute the work loads to the different compute nodes. These nodes runs a minimalistic special OS designed to just do number crunching and nothing else. So I would actually exclude IBM Blue Gene from the list, because it does not run Linux. But Linux is popular today, so everyone say they run Linux - even when they don't.
Linux running on these supercomputers are running HPC workloads, that is, large clusters running embarassingly parallell workloads (google this). This is not a evidence of Linux scaling well, but a proof of Linux being customizable. It is easy to tailor Linux to do a highly specialized task like number crunching and shut down all services and daemons, and strip out all code. It is a simple kernel. To do only one thing, is easy to optimize for. Unix are mature and complex kernels, not easy to tailor or strip or understand.
It is another thing to run a large single SMP server serving 1000s of users doing many different tasks, running many different programs. That is a very complex environment and difficult to scale well to. These large SMP servers, typically have 16 or even 32 cpus (like the huge IBM P795 or Oracle M5-32). Some have 64 cpus (Fujitsu M4-10s). But not more than that. SMP servers have 64 cpus at maximum. And there are no Linux SMP servers for sale. Because Linux can not handle 32 or 64 cpus in a SMP setting because that is difficult to scale well to.
Large servers like the SGI Altix server running Linux, are using 2048 or even 4096 cores and 64TB RAM, but it is actually a cluster, running a software hypervisor tricking Linux into believing it is a single fat SMP server. Which is not. If you study the SGI Altix UV customers, they are all running HPC number crunching workloads. No one is using such servers for SMP workloads. ScaleMP is another company doing this, using a hypervisor tricking Linux kernel into believing it is running a single fat SMP server, when it in fact is running a cluster:
"...Since its founding in 2003, ScaleMP has tried a different approach. Instead of using special ASICs and interconnection protocols to lash together multiple server modes together into a shared memory system, ScaleMP cooked up a special hypervisor layer, called vSMP, that rides atop the x64 processors, memory controllers, and I/O controllers in multiple server nodes. Rather than carve up a single system image into multiple virtual machines, vSMP takes multiple physical servers and – using InfiniBand as a backplane interconnect – makes them look like a giant virtual SMP server with a shared memory space..."
So, no. In the Enterprise they mostly use large SMP servers with up to 64 cpus, which Linux can not handle. Linux does not scale beyond 8 cpus today in a single fat SMP server. There are no 16 cpu Linux SMP servers for sale, nor 32 cpu Linux servers. Because Linux does not scale.
But there are many 2048/4096/8192 core Linux servers for sale - they are all clusters. Clusters are easy to scale to, running embarassingly parallell workloads.
So, there are 1-8 socket Linux servers for sale (HP / IBM / Oracle offers such x86 servers). And there are 2048-8192 core Linux servers for sale (SGI / ScaleMP / etc). But there are no 16/32 cpu Linux SMP servers for sale. The big money is in large SMP servers with 32 cpus, they cost millions. For instance, the IBM P595 server used for the old TPC-C record costed $35 million, list price. $35 million. I am not kidding. It has 32 cpus. If someone could manufacture a 32 cpu SMP server and make Linux scale, they would sell loads of such servers to the enterprise, investment banks, telcos, etc. They could charge a measly $1 million or so. Here is a niche, a business opportunity. But no one does that. Because Linux can not scale to 32 cpus.
Linux even has problems scaling to 8 sockets, if you look at some official benchmarks. For instance SAP benchmarks on 8 socket x86 servers, Linux had 87% cpu utilization, whereas Solaris had 99% cpu utilization. On 4 socket server, Linux reached 97% cpu utilization in SAP benchmarks. With fewer sockets, Linux performs better. Maybe on 12 cpus, Linux would have 75% cpu utilization? And on 16 socket, Linux would have 60% cpu utilization? I actually saw a benchmark on something called Big Tux, HP compiled Linux to their 64 cpu Superdome/Integrity(?) SMP server, and Linux had ~45% cpu utilization. I understand why HP does not sell Superdome/Integrity servers running Linux, the scaling would be to bad. 45% cpu utilization on 64 cpus is not something anybody would buy.
Until Linux scales better, it will not venture into the large SMP server domain in the Enterprise (vertical scaling). It will never rival IBM P795, Oracle M5-32, HP Superdome, etc. But on clusters, Linux scales very well (horizontal scaling). Google horizontal scaling, vs vertical scaling. Until Linux can not scale vertically, it will not venture into the large SMP server domain, with up to 32/64 cpus.
"there are 1-8 socket Linux servers for sale "
Absolutely clear, so long as the definition of "Linux server" is clear (which might or might not mean any server marketed as capable of running Linux).
"there are 2048-8192 core Linux servers for sale "
Maybe. They're probably not single system image massively SMP servers, so not really comparable with the Proliant and Poweredge market. They're HPC engines. Compute farms in a box. You've spotted this yourself.
"The big money is in large SMP servers with 32 cpus, "
Now I'm confused. Are we talking sockets, cores, or cpus? What do YOU mean by cpu?
And what does "the big money" mean? Does it mean sensible volumes of "commodity" servers at sensible prices, or does it mean near-negligible volumes of niche-market boxes whose list prices bear no connection with what the customers ever actually pay?
"Because Linux can not scale to 32 cpus."
In what kind of application, with what kind of benchmark, can it not scale to 32 CPUs? I'm well aware that making an OS, any OS, scale well in an SMP environment is a non trivial exercise. Just look at some of the early Windows NT benchmarks and the same benchmark on the same hardware running under Linux. Linux typically was far better than Windows in terms of SMP scaling. I'm no longer familiar with that sector of the market.
As you noted, big iron benchmarks (such as the SAP one you mention) are very very expensive. So are the systems to run them on (but that's not the only reason the benchmarks are expensive). Big iron vendors might well prefer to sell their proprietary product and services for things like SAP, rather than sell something Linux-based where all they get is the sale of the box.
HP Superdome is effectively dead, because IA64 is effectively dead. There's very little of relevance that can be done with Superdome hardware that can't be done with a high end x86 these days (apart from run HP-UX and OpenVMS, and that restriction is more about commercial empires not about technology).
SPARC isn't really in a much better position than IA64, though Oracle seem to have marginally more clue than HP in much of the enterprise space.
A high end Proliant has eight sockets (up to 80 x86-64 cores). If the application workload is Linux-ready, it's got to be worth a look. There aren't that many workloads than can usefully use any 80core system, whatever OS is in the picture.
Even if there is some truth that high end SMP scaling with today's Linux kernel isn't as mature as SMP scaling with the proprietary OSes, there's always tomorrow. IA64 will probably be dead tomorrow. SPARC probably will too.
Linux will still be here tomorrow.
"...Now I'm confused. Are we talking sockets, cores, or cpus? What do YOU mean by cpu?..."
What is the difference between a cpu and a socket? I said there are no 32 cpu Linux SMP servers for sale, and has never been. Or can you link to such a server? IBM P795 has 32 cpus, or sockets. But is has 256 cores. Oracle M5-32 has 32 cpus, or sockets. HP Superdome has 64 cpus (or is it Integrity?) - I am not updated on HP servers.
My point is still valid: Linux will not venture into the big SMP server area, with 32 cpus. The old IBM P595 server with 32 cpus, costed $35 million list price. Large SMP servers are high margin business, that is where the big money is.
I sometimes respond anonymously as I never have any demand to attach anybody personally.
But you start with the old "Linux does not scale". That is old rubbish. Linux scales as well as any Unix and better than Windows. Perhaps you should think a bit about this "scaling". If your PC had 16 processors (and not 16 times the price, perhaps) you would like it to perform 16 times faster. But the orchestra to run all 16 processors will take some time too, end result is that it will not be 16 times faster. SGI has delivered single memory hardware running linux with 512 processors. And according to them they could build a 1024 linux too but connecting two 512 machines is more economical. Such machines you never find outside linux. Then you speak about clusters like they where banned in the bible. That is rubbish too, those working and building supercomputers know exactly what tools they have, what demands they have and what is worth it in money. Programming for a cluster is different but there is already so much valuable software for that surrounding. In this article there was something about Windows being too expensive, that is rubbish too. Microsoft would pay millions to anybody who made a top 10 supercomputer. Remember all the fuss about an Apple supercomputer (where is it now). So next why has linux got this position among the supercomputers. One reason is simply that for some reason those behind Unix (look up the names and read about it) made very cleaver and intelligent decision for a multi user, multi tasking, multi processor architecture. The second reason is that it is open source, but the strongest reason is that there is no other kernel in this world with more force and ability behind it than linux. Even IBM spends more resources on linux than on AIX. Perhaps one should add that while there is money in the supercomputing field there is a lot more elsewhere. Anyway those HPC guys know what they do and right now they try to squeeze out one millisecond here and one dollar there.
But Lars, the SGI server with 512 cpus or more, and Linux SGI Altix servers with 2048-8192 cores, are all clusters. They are running a software hypervisor tricking Linux into running single image. They are clusters, not a single fat SMP server.
Can you show me links to a 16 or 32 cpu SMP Linux server for sale? No? Why? Maybe Linux has problems handling 16-32 cpus? Or, what is your explanation?
Linux servers have 1-8 sockets. Actually, it is Dell/HP/IBM/Oracle selling ordinary x86 servers with 1-8 sockets. and Linux servers have 2048-8192 cores and 100s or 1000s of cpus. But all those big servers are clusters. There are no 16-32 cpu Linux servers for sale. Not a single one. Never has been. Linux can not scale to 16 cpus, nor 32 cpus. Linux runs fine on clusters, such as the ScaleMP server, SGI Altix server, etc. And Linux runs not so good on 8-socket servers. But no one sells 16-32 cpu Linux servers. No one. Why? Show me a link to a 32 cpu Linux server. You cant, because Linux does not scale.
"But Lars, the SGI server with 512 cpus or more, and Linux SGI Altix servers with 2048-8192 cores, are all clusters. They are running a software hypervisor tricking Linux into running single image. They are clusters, not a single fat SMP server."
SGI have been doing large SMP for years .
Note the SMP == Shared Memory == ccNUMA
Surprise - they do. Take a look at the Altix computers for just one example.
The one I used had 8 cores. SMP, 16 GB of memory. a little one.
Available up to 2,048 cores, and 1.5TB of memory. Sofware is SUSE distribution of Linux.
So yes, they do exist, and are available.
In the large enterprise I know (maybe 100,000 server operating system instances) the split is roughly 60:40 Unix:Windows (where Unix is 95% Linux and a smattering of others). Of the Windows server instances I believe approx 20% of those are dedicated to "desktop support" type functions (domain controllers, exchange, sharepoint, communicator etc etc etc; so many are needed 'cos there's over 300,000 desktop instances around the world).
Interestingly (and a confounding factor for "servers shipped with OS"), many of the Linux server instances are virtual machines on ESX servers. We do have Windows server VMs but the majority of Windows servers are physical kit.
"In the large enterprise I know (maybe 100,000 server operating system instances
That's quite a lot.
"there's over 300,000 desktop instances around the world)."
Right. Is a "desktop instance" the same as a desktop, ie a punter potentially sitting at a PC? I'll assume it is.
So on average that's three desktops per "server operating system instance" (I assume many/most of these are virtual rather than real).
Anyone else surprised at that number and want to know what kind of business this is?
Anyone else seeing ratios even remotely close to this in a business of reasonable size?
Well if you only look at the servers delivering services for the business, and not also possiblydelivering services for say, thier customers, than yeah the number sounds out of wack. I am going to assume most of those are virtual, and they are more compute for SaaS or something.
60% (Linux):40% (Windows) seems reasonable. It completely depends in your BOFH's and organizational needs, but we (Much smaller) operate probably higher on the Linux side as most of the basic services (DNS DHCP, Etc) are done through linux vs Windows boxes.
We have 250,000 employees. Many of our "desktop instances" are virtual machines running on ESX farms (VDI). (I didn't include ESX under "linux" either). Very few of the servers (as I said, maybe 20% of the windows server instances) are for supporting the global user desktop environment. The majority are performing actual business operations (you know; the things that make the money and allow us to comply with rules and regulations around the workd).
Psst, most companies I have been working for in the last decade were 60:40 Linux/Windows.
In most companies deploying windows boxes hurt financially, while deploying Linux boxes don't.
Most start-ups have a much larger proportion of Linux boxes.
Some kind of hypervisors, or Linux running many VMs...
Curiously, my brother in laws job is organising the heaving of old servers out o machine rooms and into the crusher, and installing one tenth the number of blades..
..and these run hypervisors - Or sometimes Linux - and VMware. Legacy stuff goes on virtual windows servers, new stuff generally on Linux.
Windows may still hold sway as a server in the SME office with just a single server, but in the bigger scheme of things the BIG databases and applications are more likely to have some kind of *nix under them.
Its all distorted by the fact that Linux is never actually sold per se. Bigger places buy big tin, and install software sourced elsewhere.
"buy one or two licenses for support for a few nodes and then leave all the other ones naked"
There are an awful lot of "naked", as you call them, servers in the wild then. In fact I'm on a nudist beach. That terminology is part of dumbing down of this industry. It's part of the belief system that some distant corporation must know more about your machines that you do.
"A lot of smaller shops that don't need support will buy a no-OS server"
Perhaps a lot more will build and use whatever we please. That usually ends up being some decent parts and some nix distro, or if necessary, build it from scratch.
In all honesty, buying pre-assembled machines with the OS pre-installed and a support contract is sometimes out of the question or totally pointless in remote areas where the post man is your only partner. Been with it since the nineties. Windows? Yeah, I love the view from my office.
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