June 8, 2006 3:16 PM PDT

For Dell, industry standard now includes Linux

Dell, long a provider of choice for companies looking for PCs based on Intel hardware and Microsoft software, says that Linux now makes up 25 percent of its enterprise market.

The company also says it has made inroads into Linux services and to have reached a comfort level with Linux systems, to the point where it can now resolve more than 90 percent of Red Hat Linux service calls without a need to involve Red Hat, the distributor of the open-source operating system.

The figures were described by Dell's worldwide marketing director for PowerEdge servers, Jay Parker, at a conference in Monte Carlo on Tuesday.

"As part of Dell Service, we have managed over 500 Unix-to-Linux migrations," Parker told ZDNet UK. "We see that growing, not shrinking, over time."

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Linux now accounts for more than a quarter of what Dell sells, Parker said. Virtually all of the business has come from customer migrations from proprietary Unix environments, from companies such as IBM and Sun Microsystems.

"We have been successful in helping customers convert from Unix," Parker said. "What those customers feel most comfortable with is what they view as an open-source version of Unix. They feel comfortable with the capability and reliability of Linux."

Up to now, Dell has mainly focused on Red Hat's Linux distribution, but it is planning to incorporate Novell's Suse Linux as well. "We were one of the earliest, and one of the biggest, customers of Red Hat, in terms of selling their product on our servers," Parker said. "Now we are in the process of approving Novell/Suse Linux as a 'tier 1' offering. (We are doing) a tremendous amount of testing, validation and certification for Red Hat and Suse, as well as offering first- and second-level support for customers on the hardware and the operating system."

Linux and open source have been a blessing for Dell as it has struggled to make an impression, other than as a desktop and laptop supplier, in enterprise computing. Martin Hingley, vice president of the European Systems Group at analyst firm IDC, said that part of the problem for the company in the enterprise is that "people don't like partnering with Dell."

"Dell has always said, 'You can partner with us, just don't expect to get any hardware margin--that's not the way we work,'" Hingley said. He added that large companies like EMC, Oracle and Microsoft are comfortable with that, but the small systems integrators are less so.

"Dell will tell you that they do (partner), but it is something like 47 European companies for the whole of Europe. You look at IBM, and it is something like 200 companies in Germany alone. So from the scale point of view for the enterprise, how do you stand up and represent a strong partnership when you are not part of an ecosystem?"

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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7 comments

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Misleading statements
"Linux now accounts for more than a quarter of what Dell sells, Parker said"

I highly doubt this statement is correct. I think what you meant to say is that they are a quarter of enterprise server sales.

This not the same as saying Linux is quarter of enterprise sales, and _definately_ not the same as saying a quarter of all sales
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not only that...
But considering that most servers go to companies that have licencing agreements with Microsoft, and that those units most likely include the $0 Red Hat (no preinstallation) option, that means many of those Linux servers are going to be installed as Windows servers by the purchaser.
Posted by Hernys (744 comments )
Link Flag
Your probaby right, but...
I work for a very large biotech company and we have hundreds (perhaps tens of hundreds -- my compute cluster alone is 150 nodes) of Dell servers and only about 30 of them run Windows. There were previously more, but our Notes servers were migrated to Linux as well. We tend to buy HP with Windows XP (which we overwrite with Win2K) for desktops, but all research workstations are Dells with RHEL4 -- so 100% of our Dell desktops are Linux based.

FWIW - you don't get a discount for Linux from Dell, so the idea that you buy Linux and install Windows is silly; it ends up costing you more that way.

Of course, I have quite a few friends and colleagues at other biotech/pharma companies and the situation is quite similar at those places too. So, in that market segment, Dell likely does a lot more than 25% Linux sales overall.

I would imagine SMB sales are virtually 100% Windows, and large financial companies (we've hired developers from many of them in the Northeast) are probably 100% Windows on the desktop, and 50-50 on the server side (seems most of our Java contractors coming from Fortune 100 companies were working with Linux or migrating to Linux environments when they left).
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Link Flag
Unix to Windows
IDC has recently come out and said that Windows is the leading platfrom for migrating Unix servers vs Linux. The perception that most Unix customers are moving to Linux is just wrong.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.crncanada.ca/content/systems/microsoft-eases-unix-migr.shtml" target="_newWindow">http://www.crncanada.ca/content/systems/microsoft-eases-unix-migr.shtml</a>
Posted by styxs1 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Take that "study" with a grain of salt...
IDC Says Ex-Unix Shops Love Windows More Than Linux
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.itjungle.com/tlb/tlb040406-story01.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.itjungle.com/tlb/tlb040406-story01.html</a>

"Microsoft commissioned two reports from IDC, one in 2003 and another late last year, to find out what Unix shops were up to when it came to migrating their applications to other platforms."

When a vendor commissions a "study" that makes them look good, that makes me suspicious of the results -- they may be accurate, or they may be intentionally skewed. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that Microsoft paid for the study taints its findings. If the study had shown that Linux was the preferred upgrade path, would we even _see_ this info? No. Microsoft would have buried it.
Posted by Get_Bent (534 comments )
Link Flag
Unix to Windows
IDC has recently come out and said that Windows is the leading platfrom for migrating Unix servers vs Linux. The perception that most Unix customers are moving to Linux is just wrong.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.crncanada.ca/content/systems/microsoft-eases-unix-migr.shtml" target="_newWindow">http://www.crncanada.ca/content/systems/microsoft-eases-unix-migr.shtml</a>
Posted by styxs1 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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