IDC Publishes Its Annual Server Operating Systems Market Share and Forecast Reports; Research Highlights Critical Role of Operating Systems in 3rd Platform IT

NEEDHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#OpenSource–International Data Corporation (IDC) today published its annual server operating system environment (OSE) market share and forecast reports as well as in-depth survey work conducted over the past several months. In 2021, the commercial OSE market grew revenue 7.4% to $14.6 billion. IDC forecasts the commercial OSE market to grow to $17.7 billion in 2026 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.9%.

Operating systems (OSs) have for decades been at the forefront of IT, yet with drastic shifts over the past several years in terms of cloud uptake and a trend toward next generation use cases, including high performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), the dynamics of the OS market have shifted considerably. It has become ever more incumbent on enterprises to consistently reevaluate their infrastructure strategies as they pursue and undergo digital transformation.

IDC believes operating system selection to be one of the key pillars of this decision-making process. We continue to observe aggressive competition between commercial operating system suppliers themselves as well as the open source community as the core OSE market finds a new post-pandemic normal. The core OSE market has accelerated considerably from where it was a few years ago, which prompted us to pose a variety of questions to ourselves and ultimately enterprise end users.

Key topics addressed in IDC’s new research include the following:

How the COVID-19 global pandemic has accelerated growth in the operating systems market, particularly in the cloud.

Changes in business preferences for Windows, Linux, Unix, and other operating systems, their use cases, and their underlying hardware architectures.

Operating systems as a driver of digital transformation at the edge, in the cloud, and on-premises.

“IT over the past several years has proven itself to be resilient and ever-changing to meet the needs of societies around the world,” said Greg Macatee, senior research analyst, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies Group at IDC. “Core operating systems are at the heart of this activity, providing the foundation of enterprise stacks in an increasingly hybrid and multicloud world. Our new research highlights these trends with key themes ranging from how the global pandemic affected core operating system environment dynamics and selection criteria to our market expectations over the next few years. We have published several market share and forecast documents as well as conducted in-depth survey work related to these topics.”

The IDC report, Worldwide Server Operating System Environments Market Shares, 2021: OSE Momentum Persists (Doc #US49340322), provides worldwide market share data for server operating system environment new license shipments, subscriptions, and nonpaid deployments for calendar year 2021 (CY21), for both S-OSEs and virtualized deployment types. It also provides revenue market share data for a selection of commercial operating system suppliers.

The IDC forecast, Worldwide Server Operating System Environments Forecast, 2022–2026: The Public Cloud Shifts the OSE Market into Overdrive (Doc #US49426022), provides worldwide forecast data for server operating system environments new license shipments, subscriptions, and nonpaid deployments for major platform types from 2021 to 2026, both for S-OSEs and virtualized deployment types. It also provides a revenue forecast for commercial OSE revenue by major platform, which is a key addition to this year’s data set.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,300 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.


Greg Macatee


Michael Shirer


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