Microsoft Windows Servers vs. Linux Servers
Windows or Linux? It’s a tough question — many IT professionals passionately defend one server operating system over the other.
A comparison between Windows and Linux while selecting the server operating system is like being in stalemate while playing the chess game where the outcome is unpredictable. Various versions of the Microsoft—from Windows—and the Linux-based operating systems are available in plenty today. But deciding the best option is a tougher task, rather, finding the right solution that fits the organisational requirements is easier.
Stability is one of the most important aspects for consideration while choosing a server system. Linux systems are widely renowned for its ability to run without failure for several years. Moreover, Linux crashes are too rare, which means there are really fewer probabilities for a downtime. Linux also handles a large number of processes running at once.
Unlike other systems, Linux servers typically never require a rebooting. Almost all Linux configuration changes can be done while the system is running and without affecting unrelated services. The option of defragmenting also is never required in a Linux system.
Gazing at the security aspects, Linux is innately more secure than its competitors, as Linux, which is based on UNIX, was designed from the start to be a multiuser operating system. Only the administrator, or root user, has administrative privileges, and fewer users and applications have permission to access the kernel or each other. That keeps everything modular and protected. On Linux, the system admin always has a clear view of the file system and is always in control.
Another added advantage of Linux is that the system is slim, trim, flexible, and scalable. It performs admirably on just about any computer, regardless of processor or machine architecture. The Linux server operating system can be reconfigured for running all the applications that are based on the organizations requirements, thus further reducing memory requirements, improving performance and keeping things even simpler. Moreover, the total cost of ownership is free with Linux, as the OS is completely free of cost as well as Open-Source.
The Windows operating system from Microsoft, is widely used among organisations due to its standardised features and user-friendliness. Regardless of the cost and license factors, most admins across organisations prefer the Windows server OS. Microsoft server operating system, in addition, provides the ability to operate applications with the Remote Desktop Services over the Internet, enabling end-users to run software without installing it on their PCs. But when using Microsoft, if the user is looking to run physical servers, then they will likely keep the physical hardware for around five years before a hardware refresh. This ultimately will make the product's support from Microsoft end before a hardware upgrade. Then, using an operating system beyond its lifecycle opens up potential security issues also.
Another aspect is that the Windows server is highly equipped for supporting the majority of Microsoft products. Windows Server provides seamless support for the Active Server Pages (ASP) that is a widely used programming that empowers developing database-determined and element site pages.
When considering Microsoft Windows OS, the cost is also an important factor as the license fees are expensive. The more employees, the more expensive it will become.
Windows Server 2016 Benefits
It’s also worth noting that the newest iteration of Microsoft’s offering, Windows Server 2016, comes with a number of key benefits, including:
- Software-defined networking. According to Microsoft’s official site, Server 2016 now offers support for SDN, allowing companies to “both mirror and route traffic to new or existing virtual appliances,” in addition to managing the entire SDN stack with the System Centre Virtual Machine Manager.
- Hyper-convergence. As noted by Virtualisation Review, Server 2016 uses Storage Spaces Direct, which allows IT admins to create Storage Space volumes by leveraging internal storage in nodes; storage can be SAS, SATA, SSD or even NVMe. With hyper-convergence, one of the most-hyped paths for server evolution, this is a key addition.
- Nano server. Also of interest is the new “Nano Server” offering, which is a 64-bit OS that comes with Server 2016. It has no default GUI or embedded server roles, and is built to order to handle a specific task. The result? An incredibly lightweight server deployment.
Beyond specifics, however, Windows comes with the big benefits of reliability and familiarity — there’s no need to find workarounds or custom solutions; common software, services and cloud offerings simply work with Windows Server.
Making the Choice
In the market for a new Linux or Windows dedicated server? VpsCity can help. While we’re a pro Linux provider, we’re also Windows experts who can guide you through the right custom deployment based on your preferences, personnel skill sets, and applications. Let us design a migration plan, spin up new servers, and ensure that your shift happens as quickly and painlessly as possible.
To sum it all up: Linux remains a popular choice among IT pros thanks to its flexibility and agility. The fact that Linux is ideally suited to be utilised as a server than Windows cannot be denied. Moreover, Linux is generally free while Windows comes at a price, but offers seamless support options and features. In addition, with Linux, there is no commercial vendor trying to lock the users, thus allowing full freedom to mix and match various applications depending on the user requirements. While it may not be the most cutting edge or customisable, it offers what many IT pros need more than anything else: Straightforward setup, predictable performance and the ability to play nicely with existing infrastructure.
Open-Source versus Closed-Source
Microsoft has long protected the company’s operating system source code. The problem with keeping source code closed is that only Microsoft can add to the operating system’s functionality. This includes finding security flaws or issues with the code. With open-source, any coder can add to the operating system and customise it to how he wants. Security flaws can be found by anyone who wants to hack away at the system. The end result is a more secure operating system.
Command Line Access
Linux has always been considered the command line operating system while Microsoft makes its user interface for a mouse. Microsoft tries to make the interface more new user friendly while Linux requires some knowledge of the command line to configure software and hardware. Overall, Linux caters to people who are more familiar with command line configurations, and there are more options with the command line for network administrators to take advantage of.
Community versus Paid Support
Linux is free, open-source software with dozens of community support forums. However, not having that paid support turns many companies away. Linux still has plenty of supporters, but companies lean towards an operating system with phone support from a professional. Some Linux packages offer paid support, but Microsoft also has tech support teams you call and pay for support. Again, this goes back to having a better understanding of computers and hardware. Linux administrators can usually find answers from the community. Microsoft also has a support forum, but administrators can call Microsoft and get support from the company.
Microsoft has a strict policy about altering source code or attempting to reverse engineer the operating system code. Any changes to the operating system void out any agreement, and Microsoft might not help with support. Since Linux is open-source, you have support for issues regardless of changes. Again, support might be on a forum, but there is support and you aren’t breaking any laws when you change the operating system code.
Corporate Integration versus Personal Computers
Although some backend network processes use Linux or Unix, most corporations prefer Windows, because users know Windows. Linux fans would argue that Linux is as easy to use, but Windows still dominates the market, and it’s easier for users to acclimate to their new computers with Windows.
Team Windows or Team Linux?
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