Counting the Days: Future of UNIX at a Crossroads


With a predicted slip in market share of Unix from $10.2 billion in 2012 to $8.7 billion in 2017 by IDC enterprise server group, and for spending on new deployment and innovations in Unix to drop from 16 percent of the server market in 2012, to 9 percent in 2012, this core server operating system in enterprise networks is in for a tough time over the few decades due to several issues like platform migration from the RISC platform to x86-processor based alternatives; competition from Linux and Microsoft; more cost effective, efficient hardware with powerful processor cores requiring lesser maintenance; and the abundance of Unix-specific apps that can now also run on competitor’s servers. Though the Relational database management systems (RDBMS); in terms of software revenue on Windows and on Linux have each, individually, already surpassed Unix but the average size of each Unix deployment is much larger than the average Windows and Linux deployment.

The future of Unix lies in understanding the benefits it provides in terms of reliability which has developed over the last three decades and thus have the customer confidence for rare events like a ‘Black Friday’ or ‘Cyber Monday’; preference of applications in the areas such as telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing and government; in enormously huge single-system-image databases running on Unix servers, where re-hosting on other platforms may be too expensive.


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