A Linux server is a server built on the Linux open-source operating system (OS). The term open source refers to software whose source code — the medium used by developers to create software — is available for free download. This is remarkable when compared with the source code for proprietary commercial software like Windows, which is zealously protected by the companies who create it. Linux servers are high-powered versions of the Linux OS that are able to handle the specialized demands of business applications from network administration to database management to web services. A Linux server gives an organization a lower-cost option when they are looking for a way to deliver content, apps and services to their clients and employees. Linux servers are known for their flexibility, security, and stability. They offer consistently high performance and can handle huge user volumes, parallel connections, and multitasking.
Linux distributions (distros) have been considered the best choice for server operating systems for many years – as early as 2006, eight of the top ten internet hosting companies ran Linux on their web servers. Linux is also popular on mainframes, and IBM has even created a series of mainframes called LinuxONE which are specifically designed to run Linux and open-source software. Linux distros are also the preferred OS for supercomputers used for high-performance computing used in things like quantum mechanics, weather forecasting, aerodynamics, and molecular modeling. As of November 2017, Linux is running on all of the supercomputers on the TOP500 list.
Today there are over 500 Linux distros in active development which specialize in their preferred form — from mobile phones, to netbooks, to servers and desktops to embedded systems. There are some commercially backed distros, such as SUSE and Ubuntu. SUSE was the world’s first provider of an enterprise Linux distro, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is particularly well-suited to handle physical, virtual and cloud-based business-critical workloads and create an agile IT infrastructure. It supports LinuxONE, IBM Power, IBM Z, AMD and SAP HANA.