Linux emerged as the fastest growing entry-level server operating system during the fourth quarter of 1999, with Compaq taking the lead in system sales.
Shipments of Linux servers soared to 72,422 units, a 166 per cent increase over 1998 shipments, according to a new study by IDC.
Hoang Nguyen, a senior analyst for the researcher, said: "Even though Linux represents a small portion - about six per cent - of the entry-level server market in unit shipments, it will become an important area of growth within the server market as more and more branded vendors come out with Linux servers."
A survey of 200 Linux server users also indicated that they employed their machines mainly for hosting web applications, proxy/caching services and email. Some 71 per cent said their Linux servers stayed up and running 99.99 per cent of the time.
Michelle Bailey, research manager for IDC's commercial systems and server programme, said that more than 40 per cent of all expenditure on Linux servers went on internet-related applications. "Linux servers are now embedded in the internet infrastructure and are strong competition for Windows NT and Unix entry servers," she said.
But surprisingly, speciality Linux shops such as VA Linux and Penguin Computing did not make the top five list of biggest selling vendors. Instead Compaq, with a 25 per cent market share, sold 18,000 of the total 72,422 units, generating revenues of $84m. IBM was second with 7001 units, turning over $33m, while Hewlett Packard, with seven per cent of the sector, finished in third place. The company shipped 5429 units and made $23m in Linux-related sales.
Dell Computer came fourth also with seven per cent of the market, shipping 5158 units and making $24m. Fujitsu Siemens claimed three per cent of the sector, shipping 2286 units and generating $13m in sales.
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