If it's the Linux operating system, well, apparently its enough to warrant a lot of new attention from a number of businesses, homes and organizations. There's no doubt, Linux adoption is spreading-an August 2010 report from Jeffrey Hammond, the principal analyst at Forrester Research, declared that "Linux has crossed the chasm to mainstream adoption.' And then there is the fact that everyone's favorite new computer, IBM's Watson, relies heavily on open source software, including Linux. Take that, Ken Jennings.
For many companies, Linux just makes strategic sense. As businesses continue to increase their risk tolerance toward open source software within the enterprise, it's not surprising that the following benefits begin to look even more attractive:
Cost structure-Linux is inexpensive (often free), as the cost of ownership, compared to licensed OSes like UNIX and Windows, is relatively minimal.
Support-Like any open source platform, Linux boasts an extremely rich user support community.
Security-There is a reduced susceptibility to virus, malware and spyware issues.
Customizable and flexible-Linux provides greater freedom for customization and it also supports a wide variety of hardware options and installation configurations.
Without the limitations of proprietary OS dependencies, and as more IT organizations are tasked with 'doing more with less,' it's easy to envision Linux's low-cost scalability, flexibility and performance gaining increased traction.
But like with any IT operation there are limitations. Constraints of open source software aside, which certainly should not override the benefits, one of the biggest roadblocks to enterprise adoption may be the dearth of IT professionals who are proficient enough in the technology to handle design, implementation and support.
So how will Linux-ready enterprises approach finding these talented individuals in the meantime? It looks like contractors are in prime position to fill the void until the knowledge gap is cleared. Companies that anticipate this gap, and put enough of an investment into their training budgets, will have a distinct advantage. Ongoing success will then depend on balancing the right mix of contractors while also developing employees.
Like the relatively uncharted waters of enterprise adoption of Linux, it will become increasingly necessary for businesses to embrace the contractor model as IT organizations continues to progress as a lean, but fully functional, operation.