The Next Chapter

Predictions: Security will be the No. 1 factor in choosing a server operating system. And Linux will be hugely successful but fragmented.

More Important

Server operating systems will continue to ascend in importance as more and more Web services are implemented. The underlying security and reliability models of Windows Server, Solaris and Linux will become the basic points of competition and differentiation. As the use of Web services grows, companies will make server OS selections based on their security and reliability rather than just basic price/performance.

Sheldon Laube, chairman, CenterBeam Inc., Santa Clara, Calif.

Less Important

Operating systems will become irrelevant for application development. Instead, developers will write for the next layer up -- application servers -- for new, Web-enabled applications. Application servers will become the new operating systems by 2005. They are higher-level constructs and offer portability across the old-style operating systems.

Marc Fleury, president, JBoss Group LLC, Atlanta

Three, Two ...

Within five years, there will be three prominent server operating systems that dominate the market: Linux, Windows and Solaris. Five years after that, there will be two: Linux and Windows.

In addition, more enterprise functionality will be bundled in the operating system -- like Web servers, volume managers, messaging and transaction managers -- making the lines between operating system and middleware even more blurred and causing great pain for some enterprise software vendors.

Pete Manca, vice president of software engineering, Egenera Inc., Marlboro, Mass.

Bye Bye, .Net

In April 2004, Microsoft will abandon the .Net platform due to irresolvable scalability problems and the slow adoption of C#. This will cause no discernable change in enterprisewide planning, however, because no one is really sure what .Net is.

Gerald Boyd, director of research, NCS Technologies Inc., Piscataway, N.J.

Proprietary Dinosaurs

Proprietary operating systems for servers are the dinosaurs of the Web-enabled world. Over the next five years, server operating systems will inevitably consolidate toward two alternatives: expanded versions of Linux, and Windows running on rapidly scalable blade servers with industry-standard processors.

While a few OS niches may remain for specialized needs, such as nonstop reliability, even these are likely to be provided by extensions.

Shel Travis, vice president of research, MigraTEC Inc., Dallas

Web Services

Support for distributed component architectures and Web services will become a standard embedded layer in all widely used server operating systems. By 2004, Windows, Unix and Linux will evolve to advanced Web services capabilities, such as federation and collaboration features.

Michael Katz, managing director, PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global Technology Centre, Menlo Park, Calif.

Financial Services

Linux and open-source software will experience substantial growth in 2003, particularly in the financial services industry, which has been an early and successful adopter.

As the Web services model for application integration takes hold, Linux and open source will find increasing use, because the specific technical profile of the Web services provider will be irrelevant as long as it complies with the published standard at the interface.

Craig Miller, chief technology officer, Dimension Data North America, Reston, Va.

Fragmentation, Again

Within 10 years, Linux on the server side will make up over 75% of the market, but it will become fragmented, just like Unix. The players will be Red Hat Inc., UnitedLinux and various flavors of Linux from hardware vendors such as Dell Computer Corp. and IBM.

Scott Testa, chief operating officer, Mindbridge Software Inc., Norristown, Pa.

A Windows World

The winner in the server operating system wars will be the one that does the best job at enabling a robust and easy-to-use Web services framework. Until the major Linux players join together on an effective and uniform Web services strategy, we're destined to live in a Windows world.

Joel Young, vice president, Digi International Inc., Minneapolis

Security Is Job 1

In the wake of Code Red, Nimda and the recent SQL Slammer worm, security will be come the determining factor in choosing an operating system during the next 12 months.

The major vendors will be forced to integrate security patch management, nonintrusive upgrades and better logging and detection systems to participate in the corporate world.

Open systems like Linux, running on standardized hardware from traditional vendors, will gain more and more market share due to a fear of Microsoft products' security and license fees.

Jeff Guilfoyle, vice president of systems and security, Solutionary Inc., Omaha

Windows Advances

Windows Server will gain increasingly complex features, including workload and partition management capabilities. The sophistication of Unix operating systems' current workload and partition management features will increase as well.

Michael Katz, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Uncle Sam Meets The Penguin

Before the year is out, several state governments and departments of the federal government will announce strategic initiatives to convert all or part of their IT infrastructures to Linux. Government users are attracted to Linux because of the lower cost of ownership (at a time of budget deficits), better security and the use of nonproprietary data formats.

Ben Reytblat, co-founder and president, Quadrix Solutions Inc., Piscataway, N.J.

Linux will be the operating system of choice in the U.S. Defense Department before 2010, probably by 2005. This is because the system is open, can be fully documented, is secure, supports virtually all processors and is supported by major computer and defense contractors.

Chuck Jacobus, CEO, Cybernet Systems Corp., Ann Arbor, Mich.

Special Report

Users in the OS Slow Lane

Stories in this report:

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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