Unix Vs. NT: 2004

I just bought an NT server and a Linux server. Can you guess which is more cost efficient?

February 3, 2004

2 Min Read
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Constants, you can always count on them

In the August 18th issue of Network World, that's 1997 folks, I wrote an article entitled, Doing The Math To Resolve The NT Vs. Unix Debate.

In this piece, now a Unix/Linux literary masterpiece, I extolled the virtues of price efficiency of running a Unix or Linux server. (This is not to say all Linux gurus are particularly nice people. See Some Linux Supporters Are Overzealous.)

Anyway, in 1997, the hardware requirements of NT vs. Unix permitted me to buy four Unix configurations (essentially motherboard, chip and ram) for the one configuration of NT. Software costs for Unix ranged from free to $995. Costs for NT and an e-mail software package cost $1,234. Anyway I figured it, in 1997 at least, Unix was cheaper.

By the way, performance was superior on a Unix box.Fast forward to 2004. I just bought a server to run Microsoft Exchange for a client. That's all this server will do. The cost for a Dell 2.8-Ghz machine with 1 GB of memory (plus some extras, all needed to support Exchange, less the cost of Exchange) was $3,000.

I just bought a new server that I intend to run FreeBSD as a Web server, an e-mail server, a mailing server, a secondary DNS server and a database server. It too was from Dell, and it's a 2.0-Ghz machine with 120 mb hard drive. No extras, no frills. None needed. I will load FreeBSD, plug the server into my switch and presto, its ready to rock and roll. Total cost (after discounts and promotions off their web site) $540.

A small glitch ensued when I tried to load FreeBSD. It wouldn't load. Seems that the new Dells have a Gigabyte on-board NIC card. After running all over the Internet trying to find some help, Jeffrey Posluns of SecuritySage Inc. suggested I try Fedora Core 1, from RedHat. That not only worked, but will lead me to write another article on the experience, a new one for me. Anyway, I now have a Unix (OK, Linux) box for $540.

Anyone need a calculator??

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