Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The softer side of servers

Hardware is only one part of the server equation; there is also the operating system software to take into consideration. And as with the servers themselves it depends upon your application as to what would be the best software solution.

There are three leading products to choose from: network from Novell, Microsoft Windows NT and Unix --- the latter coming in a number of flavours, but all basically the same. Of these, network is still very much the frontrunner when it comes to file and print server, having been developed specifically to provide file and print sharing capabilities, and enjoying substantial performance advantages in this area as a results. Well over half of the PC network already in use have network servers installed on them.

That said, network doesn’t make a very good application platform. Application have been ported to the necessary netware loadable module (NLM) format, but few developers have bothered a this remains difficult to program. Instead, Unix (and now LINUX) has become the predominant application platform, although windows NT is now challenging that dominance. That is because Microsoft has made it a lot easier to develop for the NT platform, and with so many windows desktops and windows application around there is a lot more expertise to top into.

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