Asian companies are increasingly running their server applications on the open-source operating system, driven primarily by cost concerns.
A new survey of 850 companies by Gartner Asia-Pacific revealed that 15 percent of companies in the region--excluding Japan--used Linux in the fourth quarter.
In the same quarter of 2000, the adoption rate was between 5 percent and 7 percent, said Phil Sargeant, Gartner Asia-Pacific's research director for servers and storage.
"More than half of those surveyed indicated that cost was the major reason for installing Linux," Sargeant said, adding that "Linux tends to eat more into Windows' market share than any other operating system such as Netware and Unix."
Despite increasing competition, Microsoft's Windows NT and 2000 server operating systems were still the "most widely used" among Asian companies in the fourth quarter, according to Gartner. The report also revealed that Thailand and Korea led the region in Linux installation, where more than 25 percent of companies in both countries use the operating system. In addition, strong Linux adoption was seen in India and Hong Kong, with 24 percent and 21 percent usage among companies, respectively.
Although only 8 percent of businesses in China own Linux servers, Gartner asserts that its adoption is expected to "grow rapidly." This is due to the Chinese government's plans to develop its domestic software industry, said Matthew Boon, Gartner Asia-Pacific principal analyst for hardware platforms.
For example, the Beijing government last month awarded contracts to several homegrown companies--including Red Flag Linux--for their Linux operating system and office productivity software.
However, server sales in China may not correspond with the growing Linux market. Eighty percent of companies surveyed on the Chinese mainland said "no" to major server acquisition programs in the next 12 months. Similar responses were gathered from companies across the region, especially in Korea and New Zealand.
Sargeant attributed the expected sluggish server sales to "underutilization" of existing investments.
"The phenomenal but unsustainable increase in storage shipments over recent years has led to over-adoption," Sargeant said. "Storage vendors will face tough market conditions this year" in the Asia-Pacific region.
Irene Tham reported from Singapore.