SCO Lawsuit: will the Enterprises take notice?

To analyse the web technology choices made by large enterprises Netcraft reviews the operating systems run on around 24,000 sites run by 1500 leading enterprises around the world, compiled from the Fortune 1000, the Financial Times European 500, and various FT regional lists.

Two months ago SCO sent letters to 1500 of the largest companies globally warning them of risks involved in running Linux. Although SCO did not make the identities of these companies public, Chris Sontag described the list as “the Fortune 500 and effectively the global 2000. It ended up being about 1,500 top international companies”. This makes it likely that the list of companies that received letters from SCO will be quite similar to the list of sites we use to study enterprises’ web site technology choices.

At the time many analysts speculated that SCO’s behaviour might deter enterprise companies from using Linux. However, this has not happened to date, at least in respect of their internet visible web sites. In the last two months Linux has made a net gain of over 100 enterprise sites; sites which have migrated to Linux including Royal Sun Alliance, Deutsche Bank, SunGard,T-online and most noteworthy, Schwab.

It may well be that although SCO has generated an enormous amount of attention from the media and the Linux evangelists, it does not presently have the attention of IT practitioners in large companies. Companies may be continuing with Linux migrations because they believe:

  • The likelihood of a successful conclusion to SCO’s lawsuit is extremely small;
  • The costs of migrating from Linux to FreeBSD at a later date are also small;
  • They are committed to a migration strategy and don't intend to change course;

In practice we think that conventional competition from Windows and Solaris currently presents more of a barrier to Linux adoption in the Enterprises than SCO. Although Linux has enjoyed a net gain over the last two months, it is not by any means one way traffic; in the past twelve months over 1600 enterprise sites have changed operating system in one direction or another.

Enterprise sites moving off Linux include Valaro Energy and National Service Industries and Colt which have moved to Windows, while Cadbury Schweppes have appropriately adopted a suck it and see approach, trying all three operating systems on their main site in the space of the last two years, and currently on Windows 2000.

JSP continues fast growth, on a surprisingly diverse set of operating systems

Last December we reported that the number of JSP sites had grown quickly during 2002, albeit from a small starting point. Reviewing the growth over the past year since July 2002, JSP continues to enjoy fast growth with a 94% increase in ip addresses running JSP based sites to over 44,000 ip addresses running some 105,000 active sites.

More surprising is the composition of these sites choice of operating systems. One might expect that by far the most common operating system amongst JSP based sites would be Solaris, given JSP's links with application servers such as Weblogic, IBM Websphere, Oracle, and Apache Tomcat. However, Solaris is only placed 3rd with 17% behind Linux with 40% and Windows with 26%.

jsp_osshare.PNG

It’s hard to predict what Sun’s assessment of this might be – would they be delighted at JSP’s increasing adoption, establishing a bridgehead for Sun into Windows and Linux territory, or would they be shocked and appalled at the numbers of JSP sites not choosing Solaris as an operating system platform? Probably, they would verge towards the former interpretation on the basis that use of any of the company’s technologies has to be a good thing.

Netcraft can report deployment of a wide range of technologies on the internet, aggregated by hosting company, or analysing specific choices made by enterprises. Please contact us (sales@netcraft.com) for further information.

Windows Server 2003 approaching 100,000 active sites; 8,000 sites switch from Linux

When we first reported on Windows Server 2003 we gave an indication on the numbers of sites that had been put up prior to the official launch. In the three months since the launch the number of active sites has increased by over 300% and now stands at 88,400.

Windows Server 2003 Growth - July 2003 windows2003.PNG

Largest Microsoft Windows Server 2003
hosting companies by Active sites, July 2003
CompanyActive Sites
  Myhosting.com13,504
  Fasthosts11,978
  AdvancedAccess10,301
  Interland6,655
  Internap4,729
  ViaWest4,476
  1&1 Internet3,790

Over the past 3 months many new hosting providers have released Windows Server 2003 hosting packages. Myhosting.com is now the top hoster of active Windows Server 2003 sites, and apparently has stopped offering Windows Server 2000 and Microsoft-IIS/5.0 to new customers, inisisting that they should run Microsoft-IIS/6.0.

Comparing the sites which are now hosted on Windows 2003 with their operating system in December 2002 shows over 42% of these to be new sites, 43% (68K) to be upgrades from other Windows platforms (mainly Windows 2000), 5% (8K) to be migrations from Linux and 1% from other operating systems.

Microsoft will take some considerable encouragement at the number of sites that have switched from Linux.

Nearly 2 Million Active Sites running FreeBSD

One of the clearest unbroken trends of the Web Server Survey has been the rise and rise of Intel based operating systems. Although nearly all of the public focus is geared around advocacy of Linux and Windows, there is a third Intel based operating system, which generates a tiny fraction of the publicity surrounding these operating systems, and has a much smaller user and developer community.

FreeBSD secured a strong foothold with the hosting and internet services communities at the genesis of the web and has anything but gone away. Indeed it is the only other operating system that is gaining, rather than losing share of the active sites found by the Web Server Survey.

Hostnames and Active Sites running FreeBSD Jan 2002 - July 2003

FreeBSGrowth_200307.PNG

Top FreeBSD Hosting Providers - July 2003
Hosting
Provider
Active Sites
Yahoo 159,354
NTT/Verio 152,054
Infospace Inc 129,378
Datasync 100,103
Pair.com 72,626
Tierranet 41,811
Global Internet 39,365
Telus 38,525
Addr 38,310

The reason for this is FreeBSD’s deployment with the operators of shared hosting systems, where tens and even hundreds of thousands of sites are collectively administered as part of a single system. In this respect a relatively small number of people control the technology choices for an enormous number of people, many of whom have no idea what operating system they are using.

Several of the companies that pioneered and succeeded in shared hosting, including best.com, now part of Verio and Pair Networks based their businesses on FreeBSD. These companies have stayed with the operating system while developing hundreds of thousands of customer accounts. However, much of the surge in FreeBSD sites over the last year has been caused by the rampant growth of Yahoo!’s shared hosting offering.

To misquote Churchill, never has an operating system used by so many been administered by so few.

Linux uptimes comparable with Solaris on busy sites

Comparisons of mean time between reboots on Linux and Solaris are very topical, as the two are often thrown head to head in cost benefit analysis of server platforms. It is interesting to review the uptimes of some of the internet's busier servers hosted at Sun, Google and Akamai. Perhaps the most remarkable thing is how few reboots there are on the networks, given the amount of traffic they see, though in absolute numbers the average number of days between reboots is higher at Sun than either of the two Linux based companies.

Who are the Fastest Growing Hosting Providers?

Over the last two years the most common reason for a Hosting Provider making the news was when the company went bust. Hoswever, outside of the mainstream newsflow, some companies have been growing strongly.

A table of the Hosting Providers who grew the fastest during 2002 is provided as an excerpt from our Hosting Provider Server Count. Companies are included in the filter if they started 2002 with more than 500 servers, finished with at least 1000, and grew at a rate of better than 33% year on year. This removes hosters which can show a significant percentage increase simply by virtue of starting small.

Fastest Growing Hosting Providers by % Increase in Web Visible Servers
December 2001 to December 2002
Parent CompanyDec 01Dec 02% ChangeMain Business Area
1&1 Internet AG 8127,203787%Mixed Hosting
Rackshack 1,2087,356 509%Dedicated
Colt 9992,049105%Telecoms & Colocation
Host Europe 1,6063,248102%Mixed Hosting
Tele Danmark Communications 7561,46994%Telecoms
Global Media Online Inc6421,19085%Mixed Hosting
Korea Telecom2,1783,67569%Telecoms
Rackspace2,8074,51861%Dedicated
Datapipe7461,13152%Dedicated
Deutsche Telekom1,8692,82451%Telecoms
Speakeasy1,1521,70648%Broadband
Advance Technology Works1,1611,68145%ISP
Interland1,9902,85143%Mixed Hosting
Sprint Communications2,2773,23842%Telecoms
Dialtone Internet2,2433,18242%Dedicated
Qwest Communications2,5203,54641%Telecoms
Telecom Italia1,9802,66234%Telecoms

Of the top 4 companies in the table 3 have recently issued their financial results for 2002 which confirm their continued growth. (1&1 Internet , Colt , HostEurope ).

The top of the table shows that fast growth in the hosting industry is closely linked to providing good value at a low price. 1&1 and Host Europe both offer extremely cheap shared hosting packages, while Rackshack has more or less defined the market for low-cost dedicated servers. Colt is often amongst the cheapest quotes for bandwidth in the cities in which it operates.

Several of the leading dedicated server companies have produced annual growth over 40%. Additionally, many of the larger telecoms companies are showing good rates of growth of web servers on their networks, in part from Hosting Resellers and DSL and Cable connections as well as their own hosting operations.

Limitations of the Hosting Provider Server Count include the following;

  • Only sites found by the Web Server Survey will be included. The number of hosts found running internet web sites by the Web Server Survey is large [over 40 million in April 2003], but not exhaustive.
  • Sites are attributed to companies by performing a reverse DNS lookup on each responding ip address in the Web Server Survey. If reverse DNS lookups have not been configured or otherwise fail, the count for the company will correspondingly reduced. To mitigate this we provide an additional view of the data compiled by Netblock registration. In practice the most successful hosting companies seem to set up reverse DNS correctly.
  • Backend machines such as database servers not running web sites will not be counted, as they are unseen from the Internet.
  • At most one server will be counted for each site. Round robin DNS, reverse web proxies, load balancing products like Cisco Local Director and BIG-IP and some connection level firewalls hide multiple web servers behind a single hostname.

Full details of the Hosting Provider Server Count are available.