Linux servers are becoming more popular for businesses. Here’s why.

Linux is a free and open-source operating system that has the largest installed base of all general-purpose operating systems (OS). Its underlying source code may be used, modified and distributed by anyone, even for commercial purposes. In part because of these reasons, and also because of its affordability and malleability, Linux has, in recent years, also become the leading operating system on servers.

“Linux used to be a quirky OS and its usage was mostly confined to developers, large enterprise environments and web servers,” says Michael Fischer, CEO of Metisentry. “But in recent years, Linux and other open-source platforms have made great strides in displacing Microsoft servers in its traditional place in serving business applications.”

He says as data centers expand, corresponding Microsoft licensing costs have grown. At the same time, proprietary closed-source technologies have increasingly become outdated.

“Today, more business owners, developers and IT executives have found that there are real opportunities to deploy Linux as a lower cost and much more stable OS,” he says.

Smart Business spoke with Fischer to learn what employers should know about managed services for Linux and open-source servers.

In addition to Linux, what are the other common server options? How do they compare to Linux and open-source servers?

Next to Linux, Microsoft is the most common server option. Microsoft servers have for years been more commercially popular. That commercial popularity has meant that there are more mature third-party software tools that are designed to work in conjunction with Microsoft servers.

The big advantages for the Linux side, though, are that the OS is free and therefore the ongoing licensing costs and maintenance costs tends to be lower than Microsoft options. And of course the source code is open, and that provides substantial benefits for companies in terms of security and flexibility. For many different applications, the Linux OS is a much more reliable and stable OS to work with.

What are the associated managed services with Linux and open source servers? Why might these services be important to business owners?

Linux and other open-source servers are becoming more commonly used for business applications. One of the main factors driving this is that the market for care and feeding of these servers is just now coming together. While in some cases the tools and third-party software pieces for Linux have lagged somewhat, fortunately there are some managed service providers that have customized their own set of managed service tools to be able to monitor, manage and automate the process of keeping Linux servers running smoothly. Be sure to have a conversation with any managed service providers being considered to ensure they are equipped to operate in a Linux open-source environment.

What should business owners keep in mind as they consider server environments and managed service providers?

Microsoft is no longer the dominant server operating system. It has been outpaced, for many reasons, by Linux and open-source platforms that are now the preferred choice in most business settings. Business owners, especially those that have sizable data center installations, should know that there is a cost-effective, safe and proven alternative to Microsoft.

Be sure to have a conversation with any managed service provider being considered to ensure they have the expertise to manage and maintain the Linux and open-source environment. Providers should offer ‘full stack’ capabilities, meaning they should understand everything from the hosting infrastructure through the software code to be able to offer a one-stop shop. These firms are capable of providing ongoing proactive services for Linux and open-source environments.

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