As Linux gains acceptance as a desktop operating system, IT professionals in growing numbers are evaluating Linux server applications. How does Linux measure up to Windows server platforms? Is Linux server ready for the data center? Here are seven key areas of comparison between the two that should help the evaluation process.
Performance: Linux server platforms are far less resource-intensive than their Windows counterparts. With the operating system making fewer demands on processor and memory, servers running on Linux typically show a higher level of performance for the crucial apps they host.
Cost: Linux is essentially a free operating system. Even Red Hat, the primary commercial Linux server distro, is comparatively inexpensive. This is especially true when contrasted to Windows server platforms, with expensive per-server and per-seat licensing and costly software assurance packages.
Security: Both Windows and Linux server have their security drawbacks. Most hacks and exploits are written to target Windows servers. On the other hand, Windows server platforms have better user access control right out of the box, while Linux platforms require a separate application to gain a finer level of control over permissions.
Uptime: Everyone who has ever used Windows at home or in the server room has disaster stories. Services hang, apps crash and then there’s the infamous “blue screen of death.” Microsoft has improved Windows’ uptime, but it can’t compare to the lightweight stability offered by Linux server.
Updates: Depending on the choice of Linux server distro, Linux updates may be right on schedule and dependable or they could be spotty and untested. Since Microsoft is the only source of Windows updates, their monthly server OS updates are typically more timely and reliable on the whole.
Skill: Linux server skills are far more specialized, especially with the ability to alter the system kernel inherent in Linux but unavailable in Windows. It may be tougher to find Linux server admins or at least more expensive.
Vmware: Virtualization in the data center is a booming industry and Linux is a big part of it. Linux is so integral to Vmware that a flavor of Linux is packaged with the Vmware server installer. There is simply no reason at all to use Windows server to host a Vmware environment.