The platforms that operate as Server Operating systems, application servers, database servers, email servers, or other platforms that run on a dedicated server are intended for server operating systems.
In comparison to normal operating systems, server operating systems have a number of advantages, such as unlimited user connections, additional memory, and sophisticated network optimizations.
This article will teach you about the various server operating systems and how to select the most appropriate server OS for your requirements.
What is a Server Operating System?
An advanced operating system created specifically for servers is known as a server operating system. It has all the components and functionality required to function in a client-server architecture and fulfil client requests.
A Server Operating system for servers is created from the bottom up to offer features appropriate for multi-user, mission-critical applications. It offers the main user interface for handling user management, security setup, and other administrative tasks. Security, stability, and cooperation are often the three main objectives of a server operating system.
Server operating systems make it possible to use different server platforms, including:
- Web Hosts – When a client requests web pages or other web-based services, a web server answers and stores the requested data and applications. Apache, Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS), and Nginx are three popular web servers.
- Mailing Systems – A mail server manages individual email accounts based on a certain domain and enables users to forward and receive emails for and from their company.
- File Servers – A network drive is a shared storage location used by a company to store documents or other data.
- Data Storage Devices – Database integration is a feature of some server operating systems that makes it easier to create dynamic web pages based on database information.
- Servers for Applications – Whether it’s a SaaS or a self-hosted CRM, server operating systems must be able to operate business-critical apps. Typically, a server OS serves as a shared setting for numerous collaborative applications.
- Printing Systems – Print sharing, which enables numerous computers to use a single printer, is additional functionality that server operating systems facilitate.
If the duties don’t demand a lot of resources, server operating systems can manage a number of the functions listed above. Diversify the functions across numerous servers if there are a lot of clients or users to serve or if the hosted apps demand a lot of processing power.
The most prevalent server operating systems are listed and described in the section that follows.
Server Operating Systems for Common Servers
Today, there are many different operating systems available. Statistics show that over 80% of servers utilize some form of Linux, while only 20% of servers run Windows.
The main variations between Linux and Windows.
Because Linux is open source and doesn’t require user-based licencing as Windows does, the sharp discrepancy in market share is probably due to this.
Each OS has advantages and disadvantages, and how easy it is to use depends on how technically competent the user is. The list of server operating systems that follows is not all-inclusive but does include the most popular ones.
1: Windows Server
Microsoft created the Windows operating system family for both business and private server use. Enterprise-level management, data storage, and a wide variety of applications are supported by the Windows Server OS.
Virtual memory management, a full desktop GUI experience, multitasking, and support for multiple peripheral devices are all aspects of Windows Server. For Windows Server, Microsoft typically offers 10 years of support.
The advantages of a Windows server OS include the user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI), support for symmetric multi-processor systems, excellent third-party programme support, and a variety of versions. The drawbacks include the requirement for user-based licencing and increased security risks from viruses compared to other platforms.
UNIX-like Server Operating Systems with all of the UNIX features make up the Linux family. It supports multi-user, multi-process, and multi-threaded operations and is open-source and free. Linux servers, however, demand a higher level of technical expertise, from installation through upkeep and problem fixes.
The LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MariaDB/MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python) is one of the most widely used internet hosting platforms.
Here are a few of the most widely used Linux server distributions:
- Linux Server.
- Ubuntu Server.
- Leap Opens USE.
- SUSE Enterprise Linux Server.
- Linpus Linux.
High security, a large selection of distributions, integrated open-source software, including high-level language compilers, and the capacity to be controlled via a GUI are the benefits of a Linux server OS.
Cons include some distributions’ lack of long-term support and some difficult tasks, like system updates.
3: Red Hat Business Linux (RHEL)
Red Hat developed the RHEL Linux desktop and server distribution. The Red Hat Linux Advanced Server, originally known as RHEL, was later renamed Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS, which also contained the Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES and Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS versions.
Although Red Hat applies stringent controls to restrict the redistribution of their official Linux OS version, the RHEL source code is openly accessible. Third-party derivatives, such as Red Hat’s trademarks, that do not contain non-free components are exempt from these restrictions.
The comprehensive support and readily available patches, upgrades, and fixes for security flaws are advantages of RHEL. The drawbacks of RHEL include the high cost of training programmes and the absence of specialized assistance.
4: Server Operating Systems Based on UNIX
UNIX was initially designed as a time-sharing operating system for compact computers, but it has since evolved into one of the most popular client-server environment operating systems. The C programming language used by UNIX made it easier to develop UNIX ports for several devices.
A multi-user environment, integrated TCP/IP support, and a high level of reliability and security are some advantages of UNIX. There is no standard UNIX version, which is a drawback, and it is paid for by different suppliers who sell different UNIX versions.
A dedicated server is necessary for Novell NetWare, a server-based network Server Operating System. In the first LANs, it was a widely used OS.
The benefits of NetWare include its support for multiple processors, high-capacity physical memory management, first-rate file sharing, and superior printing capabilities in business networks. A wide variety of management interfaces, including a Web interface, are also provided by the OS.
The drawbacks include the cost, subpar support, a difficult installation procedure, and scant third-party software support.
6: MacOS Server
A server operating system based on macOS called the macOS Server was created by Apple. The OS extends the capabilities of macOS and includes tools for managing iOS and macOS devices, as well as server capability.
Given its capability to simply add features for Mac clients, the macOS Server is a fantastic option if you employ Mac clients in your network.
The advantages of macOS Servers include simple management, a clear user interface, excellent support, and simple task distribution across numerous servers. As a result, increasing processing power is simple. The OS includes an unrestricted user licence.
The drawbacks of macOS Servers include the fact that it can only run on expensive Apple hardware and that there aren’t many third-party applications. Additionally, even though Apple uses open-source software in its system, adjustments made specifically for macOS necessitate getting past some problems that aren’t present in Linux.
A Unix-like operating system with free and open source is called FreeBSD. The OS provides a whole system, including the kernel, drivers, utilities, documentation, and a sizable software library for servers. FreeBSD may therefore be quickly set up to function as a mail server, Server Operating System, firewall, etc.
The security team at FreeBSD examines all the programmes included with the base distribution and permits the installation of additional software from binary packages.
The advantages of FreeBSD include its speed, complete freedom, good security that makes use of the ipfw firewall, and abundance of tools that are provided and controlled by the FreeBSD Team.
FreeBSD’s drawbacks include its lack of driver support and difficult learning curve due to its weaker community support than Linux.
Best Server OS for Businesses
Depending on the size of your firm, this section describes which server operating systems are ideal for you. Although not comprehensive, the list illustrates the top server operating systems.
Depending on the server type, budget, and level of knowledge of the maintenance crew, the ideal OS for a small business server can be determined.
Windows Server Essentials is a good OS option if your budget allows for the purchase of a server operating system (formerly Windows Small Business Server). For businesses with less than 25 users and a small maintenance staff, it is a good option.
The Server Operating system is reasonably priced and offers a wide range of third-party programme support. Along with email clients, remote access, support for mobile devices, file and printer sharing, backup and restore, and other capabilities, it improves connectivity.
Opt for a free Linux distribution like Debian or Ubuntu Server if you prefer a stable and cost-free production operating system.
Both Linux distributions are widely used, stable, and have excellent official and community support. For instance, updates are provided for five years for Ubuntu’s LTS (long-term support) editions.
Linux demands a depth of understanding, so be sure to have a skilled system administrator handle configuration and trickier tasks.
It’s crucial to select an OS for your medium-sized organization that enables expansion. You don’t want to make large investments you might not need, though.
Linux distributions may be the greatest option for medium-sized organisations due to their scalability. An example is Ubuntu Server, a well-known, free, stable, and simple-to-install operating system. Since it is open-source, you can fully customize it to meet your unique company requirements.
Saving money on an OS allows for more funding to be allocated for scaling and adding security measures.
RHEL and Windows Server Standard Edition are other choices that have a cost but are efficient.
The type of server and its purpose will determine the OS that is best for a huge corporation. A decent option for a file server, authentication server, or email server, for instance, is a Windows Server in an Active Directory domain. On the other hand, Linux and Windows are both excellent options for web servers.
For a highly virtualized data centre or a cloud environment, for instance, the Windows Server Datacenter Edition is a suitable choice. The operating system permits as many physical and virtual Windows server instances as needed on a single server.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), on the other hand, is an open-source operating system. It is built for heavy workloads in big data centres as well as environments with just one server. Through the SLES customer site, SLES subscribers have access to patches, fixes, and security updates.
After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of the most popular server operating systems and how to select the one that will work best for your company.
Read our Arzhost blogs on CentOS vs. Ubuntu and Linux vs. Windows servers if you’re still having trouble deciding.