Oracle has begun recommending Linux to customers over other operating environments such as Unix and Windows, and is claiming Oracle developers are moving away from Windows to Linux.
The Linux endorsement follows feedback from an Oracle survey of independent software vendors (ISVs) and research from analyst IDC that predicts a 58 per cent growth for Linux versus a four per cent decline for Windows between now and 2006.
Mark Jarvis, Oracle chief marketing officer, said that previously the company had been neutral to the operating environment. But feedback from its ISV survey had shown that greater customer awareness of Linux was needed.
"Since January, Oracle has been recommending all customers deploy on Linux," he said. "This is a very strategic decision. The economics of Linux make total sense."
Last week Oracle announced its Unbreakable Linux Partner Initiative, providing $150m (£96m) for ISV migration and support funding.
Jarvis estimated that between one third and a half of the ISVs that attended its New York event last week had moved across from Windows.
But Mike Davis, senior research analyst at Butler Group, told vnunet.com that movement from Windows was either at the low end, for file and print applications, or at the top end, where expensive management tools were already available.
"Linux is in the early adopter phase and the mid-market is crying out for a single management interface. Oracle 9i database is the key differentiator. Butler Group rates it the best overall," said Davis.
He warned that Oracle's main competition could come from IBM consolidating Unix to zSeries mainframes running Linux partitions, because they provided the needed management.
A benchmark of Oracle running on Intel and Linux versus Unix on an equivalent-sized Risc system showed slightly improved performance for one-sixth of the hardware cost, said Oracle's Jarvis. Performance was slightly better than Windows on Intel and this gap would increase, he added.
Oracle is now running nearly all internal business applications on a 48-processor Dell Intel cluster using Linux, which it says cost under $1m. This covers accounting, payroll, human resources, marketing and distribution.
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