IDC: Linux is Asia's Fastest-Growing Server OS

Use of the Linux operating system for servers will grow by 57 percent per year in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) to be worth US$470 million by 2004, according to a report released Monday by market analyst International Data Corp. (IDC).

Internet infrastructure expansion and the dot-com boom have been primarily responsible for driving the demand for Linux servers in the region, according to IDC. Growing penetration in the education segment, strong government support to the open source movement -- particularly in Korea and China -- and a large installed base of Unix users are some of the other factors catalyzing the Linux demand in Asia/Pacific, IDC said.

Despite the slowdown caused by the dot-com stock market correction, demand for Linux servers will remain strong due to the large Internet infrastructure build-out potential of the traditional brick and mortar businesses, the growing penetration of Linux in the important SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) segment, and the strong demand for appliance servers, IDC said.

Linux is especially popular among ISPs (Internet service providers). IDC polled a total of 51 major ISPs in Australia, India, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, China and Singapore. IDC found that 73 percent of the ISPs have deployed Linux in their server infrastructure, while on the application front, Web serving, e-mail, and Internet/intranet were among the most widely deployed applications.

ISPs cited price/performance and low cost as the most important reasons for deploying Linux. But lack of Linux skills and service and support availability are the key factors that are holding back 20 percent of ISPs from deploying Linux in the next 12 months.

Australia and Korea are vying for the position of the leading Linux adopters in Asia. In 1999, 25 percent of Linux server sales were made to Australian companies, while Korea took 32.6 percent of Linux server sales in the first half of 2000, IDC said.

Among the server vendors, Compaq Computer Corp. was the dominant Linux server vendor in Asia-Pacific with 21 percent unit shipment and 25 percent revenue share in 1999. IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. were ranked second and third with 18 percent and 12 percent unit shipment shares respectively.

While most major server vendors have announced their strategic decision to participate in the Linux market at the worldwide level, they have not done enough to tap the market opportunities at the country and at the regional level in Asia-Pacific, IDC said.

IDC is a subsidiary of International Data Group Inc., the parent company of IDG News Service.

IDC Asia-Pacific, in Singapore, can be reached at +65-226-0330, or via the Web at http://www.idc.com.sg/.

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