Many companies use cloud resources for storing data, processing information, and running applications. Cloud computing allows organizations to scale and focus their efforts on business processes rather than managing complex IT infrastructure.
One of the most important aspects for businesses is the selection of an operating system to be used in the cloud. Cloud providers usually offer a variety of operating systems, including well-known OSes like Windows and Linux, as well as less popular ones aimed at addressing specific needs.
In this article, we'll look at statistics on the share of operating systems used in cloud computing and discuss the benefits they offer.
The most popular OSes in the cloud
Linux-based operating systems
Linux has established itself as the leading operating system in cloud computing, taking a large share of the market. Popular Linux distributions include Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, and others. Linux's widespread adoption is conditioned by its open-source nature, adaptability and compatibility with various hardware and software platforms.
Microsoft Windows Server
Windows Server ranks as the second most prevalent choice for cloud computing, particularly in enterprise environments. It is recognized for its user-friendly administration, familiarity, and seamless integration with other Microsoft products and services. In 2021, Windows Server accounted for 32.8 percent of the cloud server OS market, according to StatCounter’s report.
BSD-based operating systems
BSD-based operating systems such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD and NetBSD have a smaller share of the cloud computing market. However, they are highly regarded for stability, security and performance. Their use remains stable in niche markets and specialized applications.
For instance, OpenBSD, known for its security features and secure-by-default approach, is used for implementing virtual private networks (VPNs).
Container-optimized operating systems
The advent of containerization has led to the emergence of lightweight operating systems, including CoreOS, RancherOS, and Google's Container-Optimized OS. Designed specifically to run containerized applications, these operating systems offer benefits such as reduced overhead and increased security.
Container-optimized OSes are frequently used in conjunction with container orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes, which automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.
Proprietary operating systems
Some cloud providers, such as IBM and Oracle, furnish their own proprietary operating systems, such as IBM AIX and Oracle Solaris. These options are primarily targeted at customers with legacy applications or specific infrastructure requirements.
Linux has emerged as the top choice for operating systems in cloud computing for several reasons:
- Ecosystem and Community. Linux has a vast ecosystem of software, tools, and libraries specifically designed for or compatible with the platform. Additionally, as an open-source platform, Linux offers a collaborative environment for developers to contribute to and improve the software. This collective effort leads to constant innovation and enhancement, resulting in a reliable and high-performing system.
- Flexibility and customization. Linux provides an adaptable framework that allows users to tailor the operating system according to their specific needs. This level of customization is crucial in cloud computing, as it enables service providers to optimize their systems for diverse workloads and applications.
- Cost-effectiveness. Linux's open-source licensing model eliminates the need for expensive licensing fees, making it an economical choice for cloud computing providers. This cost savings can be passed on to customers, resulting in more competitive pricing for cloud services.
- Stability and security. Linux has a well-earned reputation for its stability and robust security features. The extensive developer community behind Linux constantly reviews and updates the code, promptly addressing any vulnerabilities or performance issues that arise. This commitment to security is essential in the cloud computing environment, where data protection is of utmost importance.
- Scalability. Linux is highly scalable, allowing it to manage significant amounts of data and handle large workloads. This makes it ideal for cloud computing environments where workloads can be unpredictable.
Even though Linux-based operating systems dominate the cloud computing market, the choice depends on the specific requirements and preferences of an organization. At ProCloud, we offer a range of OS options to cater to the diverse requirements of our clients. These OSes include major Linux distributions (Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, RHEL), Windows Server, and other operating systems.