Figures published by Springboard Research show that Linux server use is higher in the SME sector (8.3%) than among enterprises (5.9%). Springboard defines enterprise sites as those with more than 1000 devices.
The study covered sites with a total of 408,756 server devices.
A variety of factors are cited as promoting the adoption of Linux as a server OS: low cost of ownership, a perception of minimised security threats, lack of piracy-related issues, a strong online support community, and the availability of staff with the necessary technical skills.
"An interesting trend that has gained momentum in the recent past is the SMB demand for customised solutions. Today, enterprises look for products and solutions specifically designed to meet both their and their customers' needs and open-source solutions offer that flexibility," said senior research analyst Sameer Bhatnagar.
So SMEs are leading the way to Linux - but which vertical markets are seeing the most adoption? Please read on.
But Linux is still small beer. Springboard's figures show that Windows still accounts for 91.8% of the installed base. And despite the existence of Windows Server 2008, Server 2003 adoption is still growing - it has risen 2.8 percentage points in a year to 70%.
"In spite of Linux's gains in the SMB market, Microsoft's platforms continue to monopolise India's overall OS market and Linux is still only a distant threat, especially considering that many customers are not convinced of Linux support for mission-critical business requirements," said Manish Bahl, director, India and research operations.
"To make headway in the large enterprises segment, the priority should be to increase Linux awareness by building an ecosystem of ISVs that support deployment while training partners for better reach," he added.