Which Linux Is Best for File Servers? Survey Says: Debian and Ubuntu

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With so many Linux distributions out there to choose from, there's nothing like a good survey to offer fresh insight as to who's using which ones.

Focusing on the server realm, I already reported earlier this year about data from W3Techs suggesting that Debian Linux is the most popular choice today for Web servers.

Now, a new set of data released Monday takes a close-up look at file servers and--in particular--their use by small and medium-sized businesses.

The top choices there? Debian and Ubuntu Linux.

67 Percent Prefer Debian

This new survey comes from cloud storage and backup service firm Symform, which found that smaller businesses prefer Debian and Ubuntu over Red Hat distributions for file servers, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS.

A full 67 percent of respondents using Linux on a file server, in fact, said they use Debian distributions, while only 54 percent use Red Hat-based ones.

The survey included 100 small and medium-sized business users, and was sponsored by Symform with the goal of identifying the most common distributions among Linux users interested in additional data backup, particularly cloud-based solutions.

Symform is using the data to prioritize which Linux distributions to support in upcoming product releases, it says.

"When it comes to Linux market share information, there is good data about Web server deployments from organizations such as W3Techs, but we wanted to shed light on SMBs' use of Linux for file servers, such as what Linux chains organizations use to store their data," said Margaret Dawson, vice president of product management and marketing at Symform.

A Perspective to Consider

Of course, like all surveys, this is just a single snapshot of what's being used, and popularity among one set of users doesn't necessarily mean you can assume that their preferences will also be right for you.

Still, if you're in the process of making a decision about the operating system to use on your business's own file server, data like these are at least worth considering.

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