Big Data and Linux…what the numbers say

Unix is dead!  Love live Unix!  Oh the days when Linux arrived on the scene and I spent hours…day and night, hacking, compiling, recompiling, building, etc., because Linux was the future, and it was fun to create.  And, while I didn’t make too many New Years resolutions this year, one of those that I did make was to shut down my work computer at a decent hour, and that that included my reading of anything tech related as I have spent a good portion of my adult life reading magazines and websites off-hours until I could absorb no more.  So last night I was on Facebook at midnight Eastern time when I saw this little gem…titled “Linux lovers love big data” which is a survey done by the Linux Foundation.  Being a LONG time Linux and Open Source professional I just had to read it…break my rule…one time.  While I was not surprised with what I saw, I think it is a telling reminder of what many in the IT community think about what workload works best with what Operating System.

The survey was specific to the way various companies that use Linux would be tackling the issue of Big Data.  There were 428 companies polled and of those 72% of those companies said they would be using Linux to support Big Data applications.  Now, we have to make sure to understand that the Linux Foundation was the group that commissioned this survey (so we expect so bias in the responses) but 35.9% of the respondents said they would be using Windows to meet their Big Data needs.

Looking at a few more of the statistics of those who responded, 79.8% said they would be deploying more Linux next five years, and over the year 71.8% of those companies would be deploying more Linux to handle their Big Data needs.  Interestingly enough, 28,7% said they planned on adding more Unix.  Coming in dead-last were those who said they had NO plans to add more servers to support Big Data (clearly they don’t know the value of the goldmine they are sitting on) at 17.6%.  You can view the entire article right here.

When I look at this I see a couple of things.  First, there is NO DOUBT that Windows Server 2008 is a rock-solid platform (this coming from someone who has lived in the Unix and Linux community for twenty years).  But what I find fascinating is that Linux still continues to power the applications that were normally set aside for Unix servers, especially when it comes to heavy workloads, etc.  I think there are a couple reasons for this, but clearly the advent of solid, high-performance x86 servers eliminated the need to go with more expensive proprietary hardware is what is really driving this trend, along with the solid nature of the Linux operating system.

The other thing that I notice is that in a survey put on by the Linux Foundation, that Windows has gained some respect…and it should.  Some of the largest organizations in the world run Windows and it provides a very reliable platform to run their business with.  Microsoft is a fine company, and while you might not be a fan of proprietary software, they have (much to the surprise of many) made many contributions to the Open Source community through their Port25 project.

Big Data is something we all need to work with, and we can all benefit from, provided that we know how to get it, and what to do with it once we have it.  We at Dell have a Linux-based Big Data solution based on the Cloudera Distribution of Hadoop.  One of the reasons it is so popular is because of the reference architecture that is available from Dell and the enterprise support from Cloudera which is something many people want…whether they use Open Source or not.

If you are looking at Big Data but you don’t know where to start, please visit talk to one of the members of the Dell Data Center Solutions team about what Dell can do for you in the field of Big Data.  With the partnerships we have along with the tools we have created, Big Data should most definitely be something that you are looking to roll out in 2012.  You already have the data…now make it work for you!


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