The world's largest technical support, software and hardware companies use Linux on a daily basis for a variety of tasks and solutions. This post gives you an overview of all the ways in which large companies use Linux. Most don't use Linux on the desktop but do use it in ways you might expect (and a few you might not expect) a company of that magnitude to use it. They've leveraged Linux for some of the most critical workloads and 100% uptime service levels. Welcome to the world of enterprise Linux.
10. Intrusion Detection Systems - Linux provides the perfect network intrusion detection services platform because it's free, runs on just about any available hardware and is the favorite platform of open source developers. Applications such as Snort, the most widely deployed intrusion prevention and detection technology in the world, were built upon the free, open source ideal in mind.
From the Snort website:
Snort® is an open source network intrusion prevention and detection system (IDS/IPS) developed by Sourcefire. Combining the benefits of signature, protocol and anomaly-based inspection, Snort is the most widely deployed IDS/IPS technology worldwide. With millions of downloads and over 270,000 registered users, Snort has become the de facto standard for IPS.
If you're not using Snort, you might want to.
9. Google Search Appliances - Google builds its search appliances on the Linux platform. If you're using one in your company, you're using Linux. Sure Google uses a special version of just about everything for their appliances but it's built on the solid stability of Linux.
8. Monitoring Services - If you're doing any network monitoring or system performance checking, chances are good that you're using Linux to do it. Large companies use commodity hardware and free software to do their bidding where possible. Projects like Orca make life easier for IT professionals who must find and deploy tools that are scalable, inexpensive and return a lot of bang for the amount of effort applied. Orca and Sysstat are absolutely indispensable for large networks where you have to manage thousands of disparate systems.
7. Development Platform - Since Linux comes standard with so many development tools such as Eclipse, C, C++, Mono, python, perl, PHP and many, many others; it's no wonder that it's the world's most popular development platform. It contains thousands of dollars worth of development software all free of charge and that's good news for developers in all parts of the globe.
6. Log Servers - Linux makes an excellent platform for processing and storing log files. I know it sounds like a lowly task for Linux but its low cost, low hardware requirements and excellent performance make it a wise choice for anyone who needs such a service. Large companies make use of this low cost platform for their log services in a big way.
5. Jump Boxes - A "jump" box to people in enterprise-sized networks are systems that do little more than provide a gateway from a public network (such as the Internet) into more secure networks (such as client compartments). An inexpensive Linux system provides that service as cheaply as any system possibly could for the greatest number of users. A comparable Windows system would cost into the tens of thousands of dollars for Terminal Services Access Licenses and Client Access Licenses plus the cost of the operating system and the high-end hardware to support it.
4. Application Servers - Tomcat, Geronimo, WebSphere and WebLogic are all examples of java application servers. Linux provides these services with a stable, memory stingy and long-lived platform. As you can see from the links, IBM and Oracle both support Linux as a primary platform on which you may run these extreme services.
3. Web Servers - I think by now everyone knows that the Apache web server dominates the Internet--and has for at least ten years as the de facto standard web server. Which platform runs it? Linux, of course. In 90%+ of the cases, Linux and Apache are the pairing of choice for Internet HTTP services.
2. Database Servers - Oracle and IBM both have enterprise versions of their software that run on Linux. Why? Because it works. Linux has a low overhead and therefore doesn't compete with the needs of a database server. An RDBMS needs a stable, non-memory leaking, fast disk I/O and non-CPU competing operating system that provides the substrate on which the RDBMS resides but stays cleanly out of its way. Linux is that platform.
Linux is so good for databases that developers around the world have developed the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python) and LAPP (Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, Perl/PHP/Python) platforms on which to run their critical applications.
1. Virtualization - The rise of virtualization from the desktop to the cloud and back again. It began with VMware's original product that only ran on Linux to the new products that use Linux as the preferred Dom0 platform that lies between the Hypervisor and the virtualized guest operating systems (DomU). Linux is the basis for all the big name virtualization systems, except one. Amazon uses Xen. Citrix and Red Hat are other major Linux-based contenders.
I hope you realize that companies with huge networks use Linux. It's not a niche operating system nor is it just for desktops, home users or small companies; It works very well in the enterprise.
How do you use Linux in your network? Do you have some uses that I haven't mentioned here? Write back and let me know.