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Unix vs. Windows Server


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Unix / Linux vs. Microsoft Windows Server
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Unix / Linux vs. Microsoft Windows Server
Pace Glass Company is a global cutting, polishing and bending company with operating facilities in two U.S. cities. Pace Glass Company's major clientele include RV manufacturers, specialty car manufacturers, automotive parts manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers, appliance manufacturers and most prestigiously N.A.S.A. With manufacturing plants in Southwest Michigan and Northwest Ohio, Pace Glass Company's online business plays a vital role in continued growth and as such there is heavy consideration underway as to which type of computer operating base the company upgrades will be implemented against. Pace Glass executives and partners recognize that security and reliability are key to the continued growth in their online presence which plays a substantial role in system determination.
The purpose of this study is to discuss the differences between Unix, Linux and Microsoft Windows and server environments. This study will discuss facts that cover security, administrative, networking, performance, programmability as well as provide a briefing in conclusion.
A fundamental difference between the Unix approach to system security and the Windows approach is that significant security characteristics of Unix systems are a consequence of good architectural design as well as modularity. These differences in the design and relative security of Unix and Microsoft operating systems illustrate a distinct difference in philosophy between them. A couple of factors considered in regards to the security features are the importance of privilege separation, user control, and automatic execution. Unfortunately, the difference appears to be that where Unix has a philosophy of security built into the fundamental design of the system by default, Microsoft Windows has a philosophy of security as an afterthought (Unix vs. Microsoft Windows: How system designs reflect security philosophy, 2010).
According to "A Comparison of Microsoft Windows and Linux Security" (2011), "Computing security is more than just technology, it's also attitude. It begins with the acknowledgment that security is an important issue. Security also has to permeate the business processes used to create and use software." It is understood that Unix culture values code which is useful to other programmers, while Microsoft Windows culture values code which is useful to non-programmers. For this reason, Unix and Linux have traditionally been used and developed more regularly by computer programmers and enthusiasts of Unix and Linux.
Unix Security
Unix has a higher degree of security features and permissions Microsoft Windows, including a more secure server environment. Unix is very secure if you have it setup correctly making it very difficult to attack. Microsoft Windows, by contrast, is fairly easy to attack and infect with malware (Practical Internet and Unix Security, 2010).
Unix Interface
The graphical interface for the Unix operating system and applications are normally optional with most also including the ability to control the applications using only command from the terminal. A user can decide if they wish to use the graphical interface or not. For the best control, the operator can use the command-line interface. With the vast flavors of Unix available, a user can choose which graphical interface to be used and can be made to look much like Microsoft Windows. When the Unix operation system is up and running, and the choice of graphical interface is made the graphical interface will run over top the operating system.
Windows Interface
A majority of users and professionals take the graphic user interface in windows for granted. The typical person may regard this interface as being Microsoft Windows itself and for the most part they would not be far off. Generally, the Microsoft Windows graphical interface is static with very few customization options and the command line interface is no longer promoted because Microsoft has moved the majority of users toward the graphical environment (Unix vs. Microsoft Windows - The Religious Debate, 2005).
Unix Maintenance
There are many facts the stipulate that the maintenance and manpower requirement for Unix is far lower than that of Microsoft Windows. For example, a Unix network running six programs would have one configuration point and one point of updates to be applied. Workstations on a Unix network are setup to be data free where the data is stored on a server instead of a workstation and the workstation are loaded with the basic operation system.
Windows Maintenance
Also, Microsoft Windows requires more routine maintenance than a Unix environment. For example, a Microsoft Windows network running multiple software applications would require that each workstation have the available applications installed and that, in turn, requires configuration and ongoing updates. This is the type of extensive maintenance requirements that is required to maintain and utilize Windows.
Unix Access
Unix has been well developed and allows for multiprocessing and multiuser login capabilities to make user management, remote access, and remote administration more robust and reliable. In essence as long as there are no connectivity issues, any machine on the network can be used to handle administration. Also, there is no need for a user to log off an account to have administration work done on the users account therefore they can continue to work.
Windows Access
Windows contains sound user ID and group but lacks in ability to establish interactive control sessions on a server from remote systems. Microsoft Windows does not adequately integrate the features allowing simultaneous users which often requires a system administrator to physically access the console if something goes wrong. This diminishes the qualities of a truly reliable remotely accessible system.
Within a Windows environment, the implementation of TCP/IP refers to protocols to communicate with many different operating systems. Developed by Microsoft, its compatibility for Windows based networking makes TCP/IP the industry standard and number one choice for computing environments.
Unix has a strong TCP/IP backbone but, connecting a Unix computer to the internet is a task that can be quite cumbersome. There are some issues with security because the manner in which Unix handles TCP/IP opens some holes when connected to the internet. One of the primary issues in dealing with security flaws over TCP/IP is the slow response from vendors or open source groups. These entities often take some time to issue the necessary security patches to handle security flaws.
With Unix and Internet servers, files consist of server names, network port numbers, protocol names, and aliases (Practical Internet and Unix Security, 2010). Request for Comment describe actual standards, proposed standards, and operational characteristics of the Internet. The following is an excerpt that specifies the Telnet, SMTP, and Network Time Protocol (Practical Internet and Unix Security, 2010).
The performance of a network is important because of the substantial influences that it has on the overall presentation for the rest of the program. It can also affect the consistency of the applications in the system. Since certain issues caused by the performance can cause multiple network faults, it is important to utilize an operating system that is easy to maintain. Linux provides components and tools within the system to help monitor and maintain the performance.
Linux is versatile, customizable and delivers high performance. The operating system is versatile, in that it is compatible with many different types of hardware. The system is very user-friendly and can manage multiple users simultaneously. Linux uses a kernel that controls how programs interact with each other using inter-process communication.
The kernel's primary function is coordinating and controlling access to system hardware. It allocates how the computers infrastructure is utilized, including the memory, input/output, and disks. As part of the performance, the server memory usage is used a bit different by Linux.
Operating systems normally utilize two different types of memory to perform tasks, the virtual memory, and the physical memory. Physical memory being the space found on the computer's hardware. The virtual memory is disk room, which is usually set to the side to supply additional cache for system and user's applications. Usually, these two types of memory are used together. Linux uses something called a "swap" space (, 2012).
Swap space is a method in which a page of memory is copied on the hard disk, to free up that page of memory which increases system performance by providing more memory to currently running applications. It normally takes a greater amount of memory to start a new application and then those pages are never needed again. Utilizing the swap method, that extra memory can go to other running programs to assist in running more efficient and smoothly (Linux: How the Swap Works, 2014).
Microsoft Windows is more commonly used than Unix or Linux and therefore provides more familiarity with how the program works. Pace Glass Company would either have to ensure the programs employed are familiar with Unix/Linux programs before pursuing the use of it. The familiarity of windows can also be a benefit in terms of user knowledge. Unless Pace Glass Company would want to sit down with all users and show them the differences between the programs Microsoft Windows would most likely be a safer choice (Compare and Contrast: what are the programming capabilities of Unix to Windows, 2016).
One of the benefits that come from using Unix/Linux is the flexibility of the flavors available. While Microsoft Windows occasionally releases new software and patches to fix any issues that are made known Unix/Linux is non-proprietary; therefore, can have updates or changes made by anyone with enough knowledge to create a working program. The amount of flavors of Unix/Linux available makes it more customizable to the needs of Pace Glass Company.
Since most peripheral devices are designed to be Microsoft Windows friendly, compatibility with Unix/Linux is a concern that sometimes requires intervention. Because Pace Glass Company has multiple branches with multiple external devices, all the equipment would need to be evaluated for compatibility. It is important to note that the time necessary to evaluate compatibility of all hardware may negate any cost savings gained by moving away from a Windows environment.
When an organization is first starting off or opening a new branch, purchasing equipment that matches whichever operating system is wanted is fairly simple. However, when realigning equipment into different areas the importance of having all software and hardware compatible is extremely important. When there are any possible compatibility issues, the solution can be expensive. Ensuring all equipment and software are compatible can ultimately dictate whether a change in operating systems is a failure or success (Biculturalism, 2003).
The advanced security that Unix/Linux has enables it to be a more reliable and stable operating system. The advanced security features reduce the chance of viruses and attacker attacks. Because Pace Glass Company has multiple locations, there are increased security concerns to consider.
Unix/Linux is open source and therefore does have the advantage of being lower cost. However, open source sometimes equates to a substantial reduction in technical support. Since there is not a designated group to fix the issues as there is with Microsoft Windows any bugs could remain an issue longer. Therefore, Pace Glass Company would be required to decide which is more important; cost or technical support.
For purposes of this study, we now understand some key differences regarding the strengths and weaknesses of Unix, Linux, and Microsoft Windows regarding cover security, administrative, networking, performance, programmability. In considering the supplied information, a choice of operating platform will be relatively simple to make once the compatibility of the database software is evaluated. Because of the many advantages of the core components and design, a Linux-based operating system is recommended but not mandatory.

A comparison of Windows and Linux security. (2011). Retrieved from
Biculturalism. (2003, December). Retrieved from
Compare and Contrast: what are the programming capabilities of Unix to Windows. (2016). Retrieved from (2012). Retrieved from
Linux: How the Swap Works. (2014, August). Retrieved from
Practical Internet and Unix Security. (2010, April). Retrieved from
Unix vs Microsoft Windows - The Religious Debate. (2005, June). Retrieved from
Unix vs. Microsoft Windows: How system designs reflect security philosophy. (2010, October). Retrieved from

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