Is a Windows or Linux Server Better for Business Continuity?

The answer is clear, says the Linux fan. The Linux operating system has proven its dependability time and time again. If NASA uses Linux for the International Space Station, and Oracle and IBM make it a strategic plank in their systems platform, organisations everywhere can also rely on this open system for day-in, day-out business continuity. Not so fast, says the Microsoft Windows Server aficionado. Not only has the latest version, Windows Server 2012, made even bigger strides towards robust, continuous operation, but you’re also forgetting about several other BC factors that are just as important.

The debate over which server operating system is best for businesses has been going on for some time. Historically, Linux has scored business continuity points for its scalability and flexibility, as well as its technical excellence. However, it’s less highly rated in terms of ease of installation and overall user-friendliness. The barebones command line interface of the core Linux system looks decidedly primitive compared to the graphical user interface of the Microsoft Windows Server. At the same time, Linux is extraordinarily rich in terms of powerful multi-option system commands. The flip side to that however is that you also need to know how to use them.

The overall result is that Linux server administrators tend to be more specialised and more expert, and therefore harder to come by. If your Linux server needs fixing, better make sure you can lay your hands on what is a relatively scarce and more expensive commodity. If your Microsoft Windows Server has a hiccup, then administrators exist in larger numbers. This may be due to smart marketing on the part of Microsoft. But it’s also true that thanks to the mouse-driven graphical interface you can ‘feel your way’ around a Microsoft server in a way that isn’t always available to the Linux community. In the light of these different business continuity pros and cons for each operating system, it’s not surprising that many organisations don’t choose between one or the other, but now run a mixed environment with both.