A recent report indicates that 97 percent of the world’s top 500 supercomputers run Linux. That statistic seems unfathomable, as if no other operating system even exists or is even worth mentioning. Most of the remaining 3 percent are some other Unix variant, and Windows barely registers at all. The question one should ask is: Why? Why do organizations, system administrators and programmers routinely turn to Linux for their server needs?
If you talk to any of these system administrators about Linux, they will throw out terms like scalability, high performance, reliability, security and even usability. Above all flexibility seems to be one of the most important factors. Linux, after all, is not a single operating system but rather the kernel that powers a myriad of operating systems. Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, CentOS, Scientific Linux, Debian, Ubuntu and many others power many of the world’s servers and supercomputers.
Cost is also a major factor. Even the most commercial of Linux distributions is more cost effective than its Unix and Windows competitors, and when you factor in that organizations can essentially develop their own unique Linux distribution for free to meet their large server and cluster needs, it becomes a winner by a landslide.
Above all, Linux is free and open source. Its development is transparent, so you know exactly what goes into and what to expect to come out of it. It is easy to scale, cheap to deploy and made for customization.