Before we jump into how to choose between a Windows or Linux dedicated server for your business, let’s refresh what we mean by dedicated servers.
Dedicated is simply another way of saying Private.
This is a server that is all yours. Never mind sharing resources with other companies (or countries) – this is a private environment that you can control, customize and scale as you see fit.
Public clouds save on costs but little else. If your organization has sensitive information, strict regulatory standards or restrictions around where the data can live – you should be looking at dedicated servers.
So we know what dedicated servers entail, but how do we manage them?
Hosting providers like Fpweb.net offer a budget-friendly, white glove service for maintaining, patching and supporting your server infrastructure so you can maximize your environment’s security, performance and availability.
Essentially, by outsourcing this role to specialists, your team is free from the headaches of putting out fires all day and keeping critical applications running so you can focus on innovating for your business.
COMPARING WINDOWS VS. LINUX:
This will be one of the first decisions your business will need to make. But it’s all about context.
According to IDC, Windows (thanks to Microsoft’s presence) garners an estimated 45% share of the server market compared with Linux’s 21%. But as high school taught us, popularity isn’t everything.
Your team must consider a handful of factors before they can make a decision. Depending on the application or platform you plan on running – the decision may already have been made for you.
Consider these factors when choosing your dedicated server:
Your Development Language:
Businesses that run Microsoft’s SharePoint or any ASP or ASP .NET-based applications, for instance, have only one choice: Windows. This carries over to the use of SQL Server or Access databases as well. However, as the Open Source world continues to grow in popularity, more and more small to large businesses are finding applications that free them from vendor lock-in and make it easier to train their employees and improve user adoption.
Your Ability to Scale on Demand:
You won’t find much push back from either box here, though, once again, you must find the programming features that are compatible with the type of server you choose. For Windows servers, SQL Server is the best choice whereas Linux works better with PHP or MySQL.
Your Access to the Server:
You can use FTP access for either box, but, if you prefer SSH or Telnet access, Linux is your huckleberry. Either way, total server control will again run concurrently with your choice in hosting provider. Shared servers will rarely give you full customization and control since breaking your environment tends to break everyone else’s.
Your Enterprise-Grade Security:
This will depend, more than anything, on who you chose to host your server. Hosting providers boast state-of-the-art security measures that can rarely be matched by organizations that don’t specialize in datacenters or security. It’s simply a matter of being able to pay for the best and most current security strategy because that’s what your customers pay you for. Hosting providers can also protect against specialized assaults like DDoS attacks and other direct intrusion attempts. Many CIOs are beginning to lean towards Linux because they feel open source is more secure since the community develops and shares the good and the bad immediately, whereas some of the private companies hide or have no impetus to fix a security flaw until it is exploited.
And, of Course, Your Budget:
Finally, one trump card will always exist, and that is your ability to pay for what you need. Linux is free. Windows is not. Since Microsoft requires some hefty licensing terms, Windows can get pricey depending on what application you are running on it. Similarly, certifications and training is free for Linux because it is driven by the community so your IT can train up faster and it only costs your time not your money.
Both server types are excellent within their respective space and you can expect stability and performance from each.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
A Black Duck Software and North Bridge survey concluded that 78% of companies are running open source software but very few people are managing it properly. Those numbers are a big jump from five years ago when the same survey revealed only 42% of respondents ran their business using open source.
Businesses aren’t just using it now, they’re growing with it – but in order to reduce operational risks, security flaws, governance and more, you should always consider having your environment managed by a trusted hosting provider.
Establishing what applications you need to run your business will determine which server box is right for your business, and choosing the correct hosting provider will give you the enterprise resources and peace of mind to move your business forward.