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What big advantages have you to use Solaris instead of Windows?

Posted on 2004-08-13
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My company is a middle-size company with six locations, 40+ server, and 400+ network users. Now all servers use Windows 2000/2003 as OS and all users use Windows XP/2000/98 as OS. Now I have a chance to think if I should try Solaris for a new server. Please advice.

1. What big advantages have you to use Solaris instead of Windows? (please do not tell me because your company is a large company or it was the way when you joined your company, but tell me from technology perspective.)

2. Which area is a good start for Solaris, for example, file server, web server, email server (I am using exchange 5.5/2000), or other?

3. Any other input?

Thanks in advance

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Question by:slu2003
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9 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:jschonholtz
ID: 11798434
In my experience, the sweet spot for Solaris is generally in the "other" category--in particular, application servers running an application that lives directly in the OS (i.e. not in the J2EE server or database).  I once worked for a company that sold several such products, and the tools for monitoring applications and (especially) troubleshooting crashes were much better for Solaris than Windows or any other platform.  Not surprisingly our products were more stable and scalable on Solaris as a result.  This is especially true of newer and/or less widely-deployed applications (that is to say, those that are most likely not to have had all the bugs shaken out).


 
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Expert Comment

by:ahoffmann
ID: 11800976
what should this (Solaris) server do?
if you only run M$ application you better keep your homogenous network
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Expert Comment

by:Otetelisanu
ID: 11808819
you have very few  virus ...
 
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Expert Comment

by:ahoffmann
ID: 11809082
.. AFAIK none ;-)
(not talking about trojans, worms)
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Accepted Solution

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PsiCop earned 125 total points
ID: 11817362
1) Generally speaking, you can plan on a Solaris based environment being more stable, more reliable, and more scalable than an equivalent Windoze-based environment. Those are the primary advantages. These drive down IT costs (the hardware tends to be less expensive per service delivered, lowering capital outlay; there is less hardware needed overall, reducing ongoing hardware and personnel expenses; the higher reliability reduces downtime and increases user productivity).

There are two main areas where Solaris tends to fall short of Windoze. One is user administration in the enterprise environment. NIS/NIS+ just doesn't scale worth a darn and is relatively crude when compared to a modern directory service. Sun's directory service (Sun ONE?) isn't a whole lot better in my opinion. A directory service shouldn't be master-slave, it should be multi-master. Frankly, I'd look into Novell's eDirectory (http://www.novell.com/products/edirectory/index.html) and Identify Manager (http://www.novell.com/products/nsureidentitymanager/index.html), both of which run *natively* on the Solaris platform (no, NetWare is not required). I think that those would be a lot better user management and administration tools than Sun's offerings, or that laughable "ActiveDirectory" crap from Redmond.

The second area is file and print services when dealing with modern PCs. Native Solaris just doesn't cut it, you're limited to NFS, which is chatty and not terribly secure. Altho I suppose you could use AFS. There's always SAMBA, which will make the Solaris server look like a Windoze server, just without the BSODs. But stock Solaris is lacking in this.
 
2) If you want a pilot, I'd look at migrating either your E-mail infrastructure or your web services. Depends on how much Redmond has a choke-hold on you, and what can be most easily piloted.

3) Yes - this is a BIG change you're looking at. There are a lot of bad habits that would have to be unlearned, and a lot of administrator training needed to minimize the impacts on the user population. That said, this idea has the potential to free your company from a lot of onerous licensing terms and expensive software costs. You will gain an amazing amount of flexability and adaptability that you don't have now. Its difficult to put a dollar (ruble, rand, rupee, dinar, pound, deutchmark, franc, whatever) amount on that. But the ROI *is* there.
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Expert Comment

by:ahoffmann
ID: 11818371
> A directory service shouldn't be master-slave, it should be multi-master.
SunONE aka Java Enterprise 5.2 is multi-master (and even can be tweaked to serve AD:-))
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Author Comment

by:slu2003
ID: 11819822
Thanks again to everyone
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Expert Comment

by:PsiCop
ID: 11820971
ahoffman,

Glad to hear they've made that change. Last time I looked at it (which was right before Netscape sold it to Sun) it was the master-slave model.

Of course, the cynic in me asks if its REALLY multi-master. AD claims to be multi-master but it isn't (gee, imagine that, Bill Gates lying). I hope that Sun made theirs truly multi-master and included important things like timesync and partitioning.
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Expert Comment

by:ahoffmann
ID: 11822824
PsiCop have a look at  http:#Q_20554775.html (check the date, if you like:)
and about AD, I've seen admins kicking off "so-called LDAP", right after a ldifde.exe followed by a ldapmodyfy on true multi-master systems,they have fun now, instead of waiting for unsatisfied LDAP queries ;-)
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