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Linux Now 25% of Dell's Server Business 88

Posted by Zonk
from the prodigious-penguins dept.
Sam Haine '95 writes to mention a ZDNet article discussing Linux's place in the server market, at least for Dell Computers. Linux now makes up over 25% of the company's server business, and has become such a standard that they only need to confer with Red Hat for some 10% of service calls. From the article: "Linux and open source have been a blessing for Dell as it has struggled to make an impression, other than as a desktop and laptop supplier, in enterprise computing, According to Martin Hingley, vice-president of the European Systems Group at analysts IDC, part of the problem for Dell in the enterprise is that 'people don't like partnering with Dell.'"
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Linux Now 25% of Dell's Server Business

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  • by suso (153703) * on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:29AM (#15502024) Homepage Journal
    Of course they don't mention that anyone who uses Dell OpenManage(TM) to install blade servers and probably other servers is actually using Linux to setup the RAID and install Windows. Since OpenManage is actually running on a Linux kernel. Somehow I find it reassuring to know that the Windows admins that I work with use Linux all the time to setup the RAID on a blade.

    Plus, when buying servers, we often will buy them as "No Operating System Microsoft Configuration" even though we end up putting RHEL on them. I'm sure that they probably count that as a Microsoft install even though lots of Linux admins simply don't need to have RedHat on their server by default. They do have the option for "Red Hat Enterprise Linux - No Factory Installed Operating System", but I think when you initially read through the options its not obvious that that's a "no OS" install. Then of course you have people who choose VMware ESX server (probably a small percentage right now).

    So I'd say that Linux probably accounts for closer to 30-40%, if not even 50% of Dell's server sales.
    • by truthsearch (249536) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:34AM (#15502062) Homepage Journal
      So I'd say that Linux probably accounts for closer to 30-40%, if not even 50% of Dell's server sales.

      They probably don't want to sound like they're exaggerating the Linux install base and anger their biggest partner. So they only state the stats that Microsoft can't possibly dispute.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Actually it is a very misleading article title, linux is not 25% of there server bsiness, it is 25% of there enterprise business. There is a world of difference between these 2 segments, especially since dell is a very small player in the enterprise server space, but a big time player in the small business space.
    • The company I work for just bought 2 Dell servers with RedHat. It -does- come pre-installed, and the discs are there, too. (We wiped it and installed it our way, but still.)

      The main sysadmin has been ill, so we haven't even taken the second one out of the box, but man, that first one is LOUD when you first turn it on. These are the companies first rack-mount servers and it's been quite an experience.

      Totally off-topic, we are dumping most of our Windows machines (there's some software for 1 department tha
      • that first one is LOUD when you first turn it on. These are the companies first rack-mount servers and it's been quite an experience.

        Welcome to rack mount equipment. It's not designed to be where you are. it's designed to be in a different room, so they think nothing of taking 15 to 20 very tiny fans and making them spin at warp 12. The last Sun box I bough with 4 AMDs in it (can't remember the exact model...not at that company anymoew anyway) sounded a whole lot like you were sitting on the deck of a
    • Of course they don't mention that anyone who uses Dell OpenManage(TM) to install blade servers and probably other servers is actually using Linux to setup the RAID and install Windows. Since OpenManage is actually running on a Linux kernel. Somehow I find it reassuring to know that the Windows admins that I work with use Linux all the time to setup the RAID on a blade.

      What difference does it make that OpenManager uses Linux instead of Windows?

      I'm sure that they probably count that as a Microsoft install eve
  • correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by oringo (848629) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:37AM (#15502088)
    The original post said that Linux was 25% of Dell's server business, but the TFA said it was 25% of Dell's Enterprise business. There's a big difference there. Enterprise business also include high-end workstations, and server business also include small-business servers and such.
    • Heh, high-end DELL workstations! *brain asplodes*
    • Re:correction (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jrock-jr (880162)
      I would also venture a guess and say that the 25% they're talking about here are the servers they've sold that come pre-installed with Redhat. We buy our servers from Dell without an OS, but we still use linux.
  • by cheezus_es_lard (557559) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (71zeehc)> on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:49AM (#15502176) Homepage
    Don't Fear the Penguin
    (to the tune of Don't Fear The Reaper, by Blue Oyster Cult)

    Servers powered on
    Hackers don't fear the penguin
    Nor do the geeks, the nerds and the brains, we can be like they are
    Come on baby, don't fear the penguin
    Baby take my hand, don't fear the penguin
    Baby I'm a slack man...

    ISO burn is done
    laptop powered on
    Romeo and Juliet
    Today would be kids of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, Romeo and Juliet
    40,000 men and women installed today, like Romeo and Juliet
    40,000 men and women installed today, we can run fedora
    Come on baby, don't fear the penguin
    Baby read your man, don't fear the penguin
    Your computer will fly, don't fear the penguin
    Baby read your man

    Love of ubuntu is fun
    PCs, Macs and Suns
    All of them can run a distro
    Boot it up and watch the daemons run
    The windows were cracked when linus appeared
    Bill's users grew discontent over many years
    Then one day acceptance of the GPL, happened to spur adoption again
    And then linux, owned the desktop
    And they ran to it, and bid their windows goodbye
    They looked backward and said goodbye, she had become like they are
    She had booted debian, she had adopted .ogg
    Come on baby, don't fear the penguin

    (no, I'm not bored. at all.)
  • Sad for others (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:50AM (#15502180) Journal
    Dell keeps growing while other companies are missing the mark. Basically, companies like Leveno announce that they will not support linux (only to retract it, for whatever reason; I would bet that Leveno lose more than 10% of their business just over that remark and retraction). And of course, small to medium size computer companies have the opportunities to grow in size by moving into Linux esp on the desktop (an area that Dell forsakes). But they would rather take the fork that everybody else does.
    • Dell keeps growing while other companies are missing the mark.

      You do know this was Dell's slowest growth quarter in a long time and that HP made a lot of progress towards catching up, right? I think Dell is at 16.5% and HP at 15% right now, with the rest spread among many other players.

      • Yes, and but where have they been at for the last 4 years? Do you think that Dell just started supporting Linux? Not quite. In addition, HP/compaq is one of the major supporters of Linux and unlike Dell, they do push Linux on the desktop.
    • Re:Sad for others (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcrbids (148650)
      Dell keeps growing while other companies are missing the mark. Basically, companies like Leveno announce that they will not support linux (only to retract it, for whatever reason; I would bet that Leveno lose more than 10% of their business just over that remark and retraction). And of course, small to medium size computer companies have the opportunities to grow in size by moving into Linux esp on the desktop (an area that Dell forsakes). But they would rather take the fork that everybody else does.

      You thi
      • You can bet that more than 25% of the customers run thinkpads due to IBM's past support of Linux. Now that Lenovo has made the comment, it is on-line. It is easily googled. [google.com] What I see is a lot of links saying that Lenovo will support Linux, but they mention that lenovo did state that they would not support linux. IOW, there is now doubt about lenovo's support of Linux. Who are you going to call? A company that has had major support on Linux for years (IBM, HP, etc), or a company that just bought a division
    • HP just recently overtook Dell as the number 1 pc manufactor.

      I dont know how they are doing in the server space but their products have gone from extradinary in reliablity and quality to crap. If I were an IT manager I would be weary of any dell products in the server room unless they are really alot better than the desktops/laptops/printers that they make.

  • Now when will Dell start offering Linux as an alternitive on their main line laptops and desktops.

    And more importantly when will their tech support stop trying to use the "we don't support linux" when you phone up for an obvious hardware issue under a warranty (like a dead cmos battery).
  • Skewed a bit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:52AM (#15502196) Journal
    I know that when we order servers from Dell they are ordered w/o operating systems as we install Debian. We order about 15 a month, not a lot but here is the point: when we order and choose the operating system, there are two "no operating system" options -- No OS Microsoft Windows and No OS Red Hat Linux. It defaults to No OS Microsoft Windows and I know our admin person doing the auditing never changes it.

    I would not be surprised to learn that the server sales are higher than they think.

      -Charles

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:53AM (#15502205) Homepage
    I nuked the DOS that my server came with, and replaced it with Linux. Does that 25% count my server? I expect not, nor many others.
    • No it doesn't. But I suppose it also doesn't really matter since Microsoft undoubtedly got *paid* for the copy of Windows that came on the server you bought. Right?
      • I could be wrong but he said DOS not windows. Dell offeres Freedos as an option to work around Microsoft's no OSless PC rule.
      • Most bussinesses get the no OS or the freedos and just wipe and install linux or windows. A good IT department has a blanket license anyway to prevent an audit by the BSA.

        Also I may had customers buy linux preinstalled where freedos isn't an option (US I think) and install windows on them so they dont have to pay twice.

        For a server or a pc in Asia you do not have to pay the MS tax anymore as this was part of the DOJ deal. FreeDOS is included because MS just changed the agreement to include any os and were n
        • Most bussinesses get the no OS or the freedos and just wipe and install linux or windows. A good IT department has a blanket license anyway to prevent an audit by the BSA.

          Windows volume licenses are not full licenses. [microsoft.com] I.e. you must already possess a full version of Windows, be it retail or OEM. The applicable text from the link:

          Note: It's important to understand that Volume License Agreements do not cover the full windows operating system; Volume Licensing provides for Windows OS upgrades only. Custo

  • Imagine what it's like trying to get any Linux support from them. It's a waste of your time. You're better off with anyone else or any site but Dell's. the techs will tend to send you some boilerplate statements and a few "white paper-esque" documents that are supposed to help... Well, that's Dell support's style -hasn't changed just cuz they are packaging Linux in their boxes.
    • I have nothing but good experiences with Dell's Linux support. Granted, I have not asked them Linux questions. I have usually had a hardware problem. However, they have not choked on the fact that we run Gentoo. Their people seemed knowledgable about Linux in general. You could also tell they are not drones cause they answer the phone "Hello" not with some scripted speech.
    • If you were to subscibe to the Linux-Poweredge mailing list (http://lists.us.dell.com/mailman/listinfo/linux- p oweredge), you would find that Linux is alive and well and that questions are quickly answered by a small band of hardy Linux experts in house.

      If you're running an unsupported distro, you expect Dell to fix it? Fix it yourself, you've got the source code.

      Likewise, it you are paying $$$ to RedHat or Suse for a supported distro, you'll get decent answers as I understand it.

      Granted, their embedded RAI
  • love my dell servers (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hohlraum (135212) on Friday June 09, 2006 @11:09AM (#15502335) Homepage
    We moved from Solaris 8 on E420R and Netra T105's to Debian Sarge on Dell 2850 and 1850's. Sarge installed without a hitch on these machines (granted I'm using the default 2.4 sarge kernels and not the 2.6 addon kernels) and most/all have been up without a failure/restart for nearly a year now.
  • by Necroman (61604) on Friday June 09, 2006 @11:14AM (#15502374)
    They are only saying that Linux is 25% of their business sales. Which I could see Microsoft twisting to say that 25% of people that buy servers from Dell are pirating Windows Server 2003 to run on the machines.

    (side note: Thanks for moving the Read More link and the Post Scores back to where they used to be)
  • Under the radar (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I have a set of customers that require Dell servers. I install one about every 6 weeks. We order them without an OS and then install CentOS Linux. Does Dell only count the official Red Hat installs ordered with the servers. As an aside, Dell servers aren't bad. They are better than their desktops. However they are still cheap (in the bad sense). For example, if you order their server and DAT tape drive separate, you have to go through the hassel of locating a power cable! for the tape drive. My preferred se
    • Re:Under the radar (Score:3, Informative)

      by robertjw (728654)
      My preferred server vendor (HP) always includes cables and rails in the base server package for most anything you would install.

      Interesting, things must have changed. The last time when I purchased servers, which was 2 or 3 years ago, HP didn't included jack in the basic server package. Rails, cables, etc... all had to be ordered separately. I didn't purchase directly from HP, and the sales rep from my vendor had a difficult time figuring out what we needed to order. I have little love for Dell, but
  • I gave up on Dell (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anon-Admin (443764) on Friday June 09, 2006 @11:27AM (#15502501) Journal
    I ditched dell when I called support. 50+ laptops to set up, and all of them were blue screening when you plugged in the USB port replicator.

    Dell's support suggested reinstalling the OS from the supplied CD. I did it and it still blue screened.

    Dell's response

    "Well, if reinstalling the OS did not solve the problem. You need to reformat the drive and reinstall the OS."

    What a solution.

    It is good to see them claming support of Linux, the question is will there support be better than it has been?
    • Re:I gave up on Dell (Score:3, Interesting)

      by llefler (184847)
      You should have called your Sales Rep and told them you were returning 50 laptops. With a purchase like that, if you aren't getting acceptable support, you aren't sufficiently torturing your Rep. The support guys will happily give you all kinds of 'solutions' to solve a problem. We once had one ship us a new motherboard for a PC that didn't work right out of the box. But your sales representative sees that you've just spent $50k with them, and would like to see you do it again in the near future.
  • No OS orders? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by brianlmoon (322719)
    I wonder how many of their orders don't include an OS? When we order our servers from them, we don't get an OS. We then install Gentoo when we get them.

    Brian.
    dealnews.com
  • Where's the love for Netware?
  • Every relatively new server dell server we have runs Linux, well kind of. They run vmware's ESX server which is based off of I believe redhat. Of course every one of those 'linux' installs has 8-10 Windows virtual machines running on them.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:26PM (#15503649)
    And just how fair is Dell being to Linux purchasers?

    1: Are non-Windows preloaded Linux servers as easy to find as Windows 2003 Server machines?

    2: Does Dell try to convince you go buy Windows software anyway, even when you don't want it (to keep Microsoft happy)?

    3: Has Dell ever reported purchases of non-Windows based hardware to the BSA, or any other such organization (haven't heard of it myself, but it's a valid question)?

    4: Are comparable Dell Linux machines without Windows installed truly available at a price that fully reflects the lack of the Microsoft Tax?

    5: Does Dell preload adware/advertising crap on their Linux boxes?

    6: Do you get the same level of customer support for a non-Windows box as you do for a Windows loaded one?

    That's some of what I'd like to know to assess just how well Dell treats its Linux purchasers.

    We already know how well it doesn't treat those customers who must not be demanding AMD processors yet.

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