Study Finds Windows More Reliable than Linux

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-04-06 Print this article Print

A Microsoft-sponsored study finds Windows Server 2003 is more reliable and robust and allows IT administrators to execute various tasks more quickly than those using Red Advanced Server 3.0 running on the same hardware.

Microsoft Corp. has moved its focus away from sponsoring studies that compare the total cost of ownership for Windows and Linux, and is now turning its attention to reliability, an area where the perception favors Linux. The Redmond, Wash., software company on Wednesday will release a reliability survey it commissioned and paid for, which finds that Windows Server 2003 is more reliable and robust and allows IT administrators to execute various tasks more quickly than those using Red Hat Inc.s Red Advanced Server 3.0 running on the same hardware. The full study is expected to be available here on Wednesday. Microsoft has also posted its own interview with Katrina Teague, vice president of solutions for VeriTest, which performed the study.
Martin Taylor, Microsofts general manager of platform strategy, told eWEEK in an interview that there is a pervasive perception that Linux is far more reliable than Windows, and he wanted to see if that was in fact the case.
Touting his commitment to "getting the facts," Taylor said he asked VeriTest, a division of Lionbridge Technologies Inc., to undertake a "completely independent study of the issue" for Microsoft. Taylor said Microsoft paid for the research because "if we didnt, it wouldnt get done. But that does not mean the report is not independent or that the results are not valid." Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes that companies that use both Linux and Windows are finding that Windows has no cost advantage over Linux. Click here to read his column. VeriTest measured the time it took a group of IT administrators—18 Linux and 18 Windows who had passed a screening process—to execute various tasks associated with improving the reliability and robustness of back-end infrastructure and end-user services in Windows and Linux production environments within a simulated medium-sized business. VeriTest configured test environments with three Hewlett-Packard Co. ProLiant DL380 G3 servers running as an infrastructure server, e-mail server and file/print server. One set of test environments ran Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003, while the other ran Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 3.0. "The test environments were also specifically configured in a failure prone state. The systems were functional, but lacked basic hardware/software fault tolerance, up-to-date patches, and data access security," the test report states. The administrators were given a series of proactive and reactive tasks and spent 26 hours over four days on these. The proactive tasks ranged from configuring new devices and printers to implementing system backups, system monitoring and remote access. As the administrators executed these tasks, a VeriTest test proctor initiated reactive events like device or system service failures that simulated typical system problems and required troubleshooting to resolve, the report said. VeriTest captured timing and task completion results from a variety of sources including administrators journal files, instant messaging logs and system service probing script log files, and exit interviews. Next Page: Initiating downtime.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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