Choosing the Right Operating System for Your Virtual Machines

Operating System With a Coding BackgroundIf you want to run a successful online enterprise, you will need to be able to run your virtual platform with as few headaches as possible for your customers and employees. The good news is that your servers can run using a variety of operating systems and it does not have to be consistent amongst all virtual machines. If you desire, you could have a different OS for each one picking and choosing ones that are individually better suited for your needs. However, almost all businesses choose one main OS to run the majority of their servers and programs. So how do you choose the one that is right for you?

Popular OS Options for Running Large-Scale Online Operations

Servers, although more commonly run with either Linux or Windows, can be run using a plethora of OS’. The open-source OS Linux has many distributions (such as Red Hat, Ubuntu, and Fedora) and is popular with coders and IT professionals who take a hands-on approach to both software development, management, and deployment. On the other hand, there’s Windows. Windows OS provides companies with a more user-friendly, easy to use, and ready to go out of the box environment. However, a downside is users must purchase the operating system as well as pay a reoccurring licensing fee.

The right operating system for your business’ servers will depend on your needs:

  • Software. Windows applications (such as Outlook and Office) will integrate with Windows servers seamlessly, so this may be a better option if the majority of your software is owned by Microsoft. Linux servers can also be used to run Microsoft programs, but users must install a Windows emulator and purchase a copy of Windows, resulting in unnecessary spending.
  • Programs. Linux is often used to solve compatibility problems when using software designed for other operating systems. A Linux VM that has been configured to run Windows can even have the ability to run an outdated version of an operating system, which can be invaluable if your business relies on important applications that only run on defunct OS’ (such as Windows XP).
  • Power. The operating system used to run your VMs can directly affect the amount of power needed to run your online platform. Linux systems are designed to be streamlined and less complex, and typically use less power than fully-integrated Windows systems. However, your OS is just one of many factors that play into the amount of power a system will require.
  • Scale. Windows offers quick and easy access to a variety of Microsoft programs. However, servers may slow down considerably when processing tasks using multiple databases, increasing the risk of a crash. Linux servers and their applications generally use fewer computer resources, making their simpler structures less likely to slow down with normal use. This is important to keep in mind as the size of your environment is also a contributing factor.
  • IT proficiency. Linux is a system created by and for developers. Users can manipulate the source code to fix bugs, add features, and update the way the software functions. While this offers distinct advantages, it also requires a high level of programming proficiency—and if you run into problems, tech support is only available through its community of users. This means it would be advantageous to have an engineer that is highly knowledgeable with Linux. Depending on your IT department resources, this could be an issue. On the other hand, Microsoft offers customer support for all of its products, including Windows, as part of its server package.
  • Industry. While no OS is infallible to attack, Linux may offer security benefits over Windows simply because the majority of the software in the world is run on Windows. Hackers design their programs to invade the most machines and systems as possible, making Microsoft systems a premium target.

The data specialists at ATI Solutions would be happy to consult with business owners about the options we provide. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and service selections in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.