An almost equal percentage also said they planned to accelerate Linux on the desktop, especially for basic office functions, technical workstation users, and in the school education market.
The Asia Pacific region is the most bullish on increasing Linux adoption worldwide, the survey said.
Almost three-quarters of respondents in the region said they would increase deployments on the server and 70 per cent on the desktop.
The survey revealed key drivers of the burgeoning interest in Linux.
The number one motivation executives gave for migrating to Linux was economic and related to lowering ongoing support costs.
As a consequence, more than 40 per cent said they plan to deploy additional workloads on Linux over the next 12-24 months.
Notably, however, those who are hesitant to adopt Linux cited lack of application support and poor interoperability with Windows and other environments as their primary concerns.
Some 67 per cent of respondents stated that interoperability and manageability between Linux and Windows is one of the most important factors when choosing an operating system.
"Economic downturns have the tendency to accelerate emerging technologies, boost the adoption of effective solutions and punish solutions that are not cost competitive," said Al Gillen, program vice president of system software, IDC.
"This survey confirms that Linux users view it favourably, and this view places Linux in a competitive position to emerge from this downturn as a stronger solution."
The survey is of "more than 300" senior IT executives worldwide. It was conducted in February.
Participating organisations had to have more than 100 employees and the survey "was looking primarily for IT decision makers familiar with Linux usage and adoption plans".
Among the survey participants, 55 per cent had Linux server operating systems in use, 39 per cent had Unix, and 97 per cent had Windows-based servers.
Novell was not involved in recruiting, and respondents did not need to be Novell customers, IDC said.
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