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IBM gaining Linux customers at Sun's expense

IBM says its Linux business is strong and growing thanks to the customer concern over the future of Sun Solaris.

Despite all the hype associated with a never-ending Linux versus Windows battle, it's Unix, and specifically Sun Solaris that has felt the most pressure in the server operating system landscape.

While I doubt that Solaris will completely languish long-term under Oracle's watchful eye (in fact, it may well flourish), there is little question that Sun's ups and downs in the recent past have made customers look to alternatives.

At a recent IBM analyst meeting, Inna Kuznetsova, director, Linux strategy, told attendees that the Linux business is strong and growing.

  • In the past three years, over 1,800 customers have migrated from competitive platforms to IBM, and nearly 50 percent of those IBM wins included Linux.
  • IBM doubled their number of Sun customer wins between first quarter and second quarter 2009.

Much of the growth comes from IBM's close relationship with Red Hat, which allows IBM to play all sides of the fence in terms of OS suggestions to their customers.

This comes at a time when Novell has decided to invest further into OpenSUSE, adding full-time staff to the project team. As The Register noted, it's a bit shocking that it's taken this long for Novell to properly fund the effort, but it seems like an obvious time to take advantage of the market opportunity as Solaris and OpenSolaris are potentially on the ropes.

Follow me on Twitter @daveofdoom.