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Linux Gains Ascendance in Cloud Infrastructures: Report

By Jack M. Germain
Sep 13, 2017 3:58 PM PT
linux-cloud

Linux is now the dominant operating system on Amazon's AWS cloud service and is growing rapidly on Microsoft's Azure platform this year, according to a report on public cloud adoption trends Sumo Logic released on Tuesday.

The company's second annual State of Modern Apps report reveals usage trends on AWS, Azure and Google clouds, and how they impact the use of modern apps in the enterprise.

Based on data from the experiences of 1,500 Sumo Logic customers, the report gives other organizations a set of frameworks, best practices and hard stats to guide their migration to the cloud. It shows how developers build modern applications across each tier of the application architecture.

"Today's enterprises are striving to deliver high-performance, highly scalable and always-on digital services. These services are built on modern architectures -- an application stack with new tiers, technologies and microservices -- typically running on cloud platforms like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform," said Kalyan Ramanathan, vice president of product marketing for Sumo Logic.

Linux in the Lead

The Linux operating system is a legitimate option across all cloud platforms, Sumo's researchers found. It is the dominant OS on AWS, where growth in containers and serverless functions is unprecedented.

"I believe [what] we are seeing in the spread of open source qualifies as a generational shift that began nearly two decades ago when IBM started the bandwagon rolling for Linux in the data center," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Generally, the details and trends uncovered in the Sumo Logic report are similar to the findings of other reports regarding the growth of Linux and adoption of related cloud technologies, he told LinuxInsider.

Report Highlights

Amazon Web Services still holds the lead, with 65 percent usage, Sumo Logic's report shows. That compares to 5 percent for both Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Among the report's key findings:

  • Linux open source adoption has grown by 200 percent with Azure users;
  • A quarter of all Sumo customers are in the midst of a digital transformation;
  • AWS Docker Containers adoption has grown from 18 percent last year to 25 percent this year; and
  • AWS Lambda adoption for serverless functions has almost doubled from 12 percent in 2016 to 23 percent so far this year.

The growth of new technologies is leaving legacy vendors behind, the report indicates.

More customers use NoSQL databases than use traditional Relational Database Management Systems. NGINX and Apache lead Microsoft's IIS Web Server in AWS. IIS leads in Azure, according to the report.

Impact of Open Source

The markets for most proprietary operating environments have contracted or even collapsed over the last two decades, as businesses shifted more workloads and development budgets to open source, noted King.

"Today, dynamic young developers -- the ones helping to drive modern applications -- are also heavily invested in open source tools and projects," he said.

The characteristics of modern applications in the cloud have changed, which has prompted software and IT architects to shift priorities, Sumo Logic's Ramanathan told LinuxInsider.

For example, businesses of all sizes have begun transforming at an unprecedented pace in order to compete in the digital era. However, many are bogged down by legacy technologies, inefficient siloed processes, and tools that are ill-equipped to handle today's volume of data.

Today's modern enterprise must harness this data and churn it into continuous intelligence in order to make critical business decisions, Ramanathan said.

Open Source Bias

Clearly, enterprise and IT views on Linux have changed over the years. It goes without saying that when you are building a modern application on something like AWS, you have some of the open source bias and background, Ramanathan said.

"I do not think that is surprising. Given that Linux and Windows are the dominant operating system on AWS right now, it is surprising to see that adoption of Linux within Azure. I would have thought that most of the workloads on Azure would be Windows. We are seeing a surprising adoption of Linux on Azure," he remarked.

Some of that can be attributed to changes within Microsoft, which recently has been adopting and embracing open source technologies a lot more, Ramanathan observed. "In general, Microsoft has become more open now. It is not the same Microsoft as it was four or five years ago."

Push Toward New Functionality

What is even more remarkable is the rapid adoption of AWS' Lambda platform, a serverless function, Ramanathan said. It has almost doubled in eight months.

The whole concept behind serverless functions is you do not even need to know about cloud infrastructure. All you do is write a piece of code, upload it to AWS, and it runs whenever it is triggered.

"It is the ultimate Nirvana in terms of running applications in the cloud with no regard to the infrastructure of any kind," said Ramanathan. "If applications can be constructed with Lambda from soup to nuts sometime in the future, I don't care where that application lies. I don't care what operating system that application runs in."

In the short-to-medium term, these technologies do not compete, he said, "but in the longer term, serverless functions could obviate the need to ever think about infrastructure. That is pretty fantastic."


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software. Email Jack.


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