So you’re setting up a server and are having a hard time deciding between using a Linux home server or a Windows product, like Windows Storage Server 2008 R2. Making the call can be tough, especially when you’re looking to save money both immediately and down the road, and need a reliable and flexible solution. There’s no one right call- everybody’s needs are different, and the solution that’s right for you may not be right for another. But while you’re deciding, here are a couple of things to consider.
For most, speed and stability are a deciding factor and here, Linux is king. Linux servers will run most processes faster than a comparable Windows server, and will experience less downtime. There’s a reason that Linux servers are currently the most widely used in the industry, and this is it. For many, this is as far as the consideration goes, especially when the server will be under constant use, and where extensive downtime is simply unacceptable.
Another important consideration is the cost. Linux home servers are absolutely free, now and forever. Obviously, this makes Linux more cost effective now and in the future, as the cost of upgrade is nonexistent. Any version of Windows will cost money, and will require upgrading down the road, which will cost more money. What you do get with Windows, however, is dedicated tech support, a service that could prove invaluable. Most versions of Linux have a “do-it-yourself” mentality, meaning that finding a solution to your problem requires either expertise or a good network of knowledgeable individuals.
The last aspect is that of the supported software, applications, and languages. Windows’ main advantage is the built-in support for Microsoft software such as MS SQL, Active Server Pages, Visual Basic scripts, and more. Linux and Windows servers both can handle the common PHP, Perl, MySQL, and other non-proprietary software and languages, making Windows an obvious winner if you need to use proprietary development tools. If you do not, Linux can be the right choice for you.
In summary, Linux home servers are faster and more stable, as well as being more cost-effective. However, they do not come with support for Windows-only developmental tools that you may require. If you require these kinds of software, you will necessarily use Windows. Whichever choices you make, know that both Windows and Linux servers are highly popular and respected choices. The only wrong choice when deciding on a server is the one that you’re unhappy with.