IIS is not losing to Apache where it matters

According to a survey by Netcraft, Microsoft's Web server, Internet Information Server (IIS), continues to be dominated by the open source Apache Web server. Or does it? Apache's perceived dominance might be less sure than you think, since Netcraft doesn't provide any sort of meaningful data about the Web servers it surveys. For example, Apache sailed past the 10 million mark, which sounds impressive. But what are these sites? Do they make any money, or are they just personal sites? And will they be still be around a year from now? According to ENT, a Windows NT Web site and magazine, the Netcraft data is almost meaningless as-is. So ENT took a look at the largest U.S. corporations to see what Web servers were in use on those machines that really matter. The results, of course, were surprising.

According to ENT's survey of Fortune 500 companies and their Web sites, IIS is the most commonly used Web server, with 41% of the market. In second place is Netscape/iPlanet with 35%. And the supposedly dominant Apache brings up the rear with only 15% of Fortune 500 deployments. Thanks to the success of IIS, Windows NT/2000 is also the most commonly used operating system on Fortune 500 Web sites: NT is used on 43% of such sites. Sun Microsystems Solaris comes in second with 36%. But the real surprise for those people that religiously follow the Netcraft surveys is that Linux "falls into the noise level," according to ENT, with only 10 companies in the Fortune 500 using the upstart open source OS to deploy their production sites. Even IBM AIX and HP/UX have 15 deployments each, and BSD/OS tops Linux with 14.

Compare these statistics to Netcraft's survey and you find a wild discrepancy. Netcraft says that Apache is in use on 60% of the 15 million sites it queried, with IIS a distant second with only 21%. And Netscape/iPlanet comes in third with 7%. But ENT's survey, arguably, is more meaningful, as it omits home-based systems, enthusiasts, experimenters, and smaller commercial sites that likely won't be around for any appreciable amount of time anyway. In the upper tier of the Fortune 500, most Web servers are actually running Netscape/iPlanet, not Apache, and IIS owns 25% of the top 100. Companies such as Ford Motor Company, Philip Morris, Compaq, and Albertsons are all using IIS.

But even the ENT survey doesn't answer what is perhaps the most important question: Which Web servers are in use on the top "x" Web sites on the planet? If anyone has any meaningful data about this more relevant statistic, I'm listening

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