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RE: Solaris vs Windows 2000

From: Reardon, Bruce (CALBBAY) <>
Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2002 20:53:27 -0800
Message-ID: <>

I've never managed a UNIX server, but we do have some VMS servers and some Windows servers.

Some thoughts:
Some changes in your Network require a reboot on each server - specifically consider the following: your DNS server changes - AFAIK need a reboot your WINS server changes - AFAIK need a reboot Yes, you can get around most of this by using a local hosts file - but that's more administration
(and have you ever tired (for example) to do a net send to a server specified by name where the name is in a host file
It didn't work for me - maybe a lmhosts file will get around this - don't know. You want to change the domain the server is in - AFAIK time to reboot

Now, I'm not against Windows servers as such and I know you can run them for long uptimes, but it can be frustrating when events external to the administration of that box force you to reboot (eg you can't just stop the IP component reconfigure it and restart that bit).

Which company (Dell or Sun) will give you (for free) spares to locate on your site to allow quick replacements? Do you get Dell's premier support, or just standard customer support

Out of band remote console
Yes you can use PC Anywhere / VNC / whatever, but doesn't help if it freezes during the reboot. I take it you're aware of Dell's DRAC / ERA (Embedded Remote Assistance) cards that provide this.

Have you looked into Dell's IT Assistant for monitoring its servers.

Disk Infrastructure
With the disk infrastructure you are going to be using for your Dell box, can you add new disks without rebooting? It's frustrating to require a reboot just to add another disk.

Oracle support
What's your company's sway with Oracle?
Many big customers seem to be on Unix, meaning that any particular patch may well come out first for Solaris.
(Then again the consolidated patch sets that they release for Windows are handy - get all the fixes in 1 go (once that patch set is released).

SAP - how many SAP customers have their DB on Unix vs Windows? ie if you run into a SAP specific Oracle issue, is it more likely to be fixed first on Solaris or on Windows?

Scalability -
Do you get the free Dell Power solutions magazines (articles are also available on their web site)? They've had a few articles on benchmarking on some on migrating Sun based BEA Weblogic servers to Dell servers running Red Hat / W2K. Their cluster special edition in 2002 had an article comparing performance for 2/4/8 CPUs (admittedly this test was using SQL Server).

Have fun & let us know what you find...

Bruce Reardon

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, 12 November 2002 1:59 PM

-----Original Message-----
Now that that's out of the way, what I am trying to do is find objective material comparing the use of MS Windows 2000 Server on Intel HW to Solaris on Sun HW.

My personal bias against Windows is based mostly on three things.

  1. Incompatibility with everything else. Microsoft makes its products as incompatible as it can get away with so that once you start going down the Microsoft path, you become more and more locked into that path.
  2. It is a single-user operating system. Microsoft has done a pretty good job of making it look otherwise by tacking on some multi-user extensions; but it is, in fact, NOT a multi-user OS. Just try creating a general user so that user can install, upgrade, and maintain their application without having administrator privilege. It ain't gonna happen. And that brings up the main problem with this arrangement: Every user that must support an application on the box must have administrator privilege. This, of course, presents a completely insecure environment.
  3. In its "normal" form, there is an amazing lack of the kind of support and scripting utilities the are normal on Unix. True, if one wants to spend the time, many of the utilities can be set up on NT; but that involves additional setup and maintenance time -- which your NT admins might not be inclined to do if the bureaucracy of your organization requires that they do it. If your scripting abilities are substantial, then you, no doubt, automate many things with scripts. If you have built these scripts with a non-standard environment, then you have built your house on shifting sand.
    (By the way, this is why I do not fully support Linux.)

I must agree that I do like the Dell Poweredge stuff. I was using it years ago, and the value is certainly compelling. It's too bad that Sun did the same thing with Solaris on Intel that IBM did to OS/2 (got very stuck up about it and over-priced the crap out of everything until it was too late). But the Sun hardware (and IBM too) ain't all that shabby either. And my past experience -- when I was a sys admin work -- with Sun customer support was very positive. IBM .... eh, so-so ... maybe.

Perhaps another thing to consider: If you have ever tried to upgrade the OS on a NT box supporting third-party applications, I suspect you discovered that it can be an excrutiatingly painful experience ... If you even succeeded at all.

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Author: Reardon, Bruce (CALBBAY)

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Received on Mon Nov 11 2002 - 22:53:27 CST

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