IT Stacks: How They Stack Up

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2006-06-19

What is an IT stack? How does one stack stacks? And how do IT stacks stack up against one another?

Put simply, an IT stack is essentially the base for most enterprise applications, generally consisting of a server operating system, a Web or application server, a database, and a scripting or development language.

Two of the best-known stacks are Microsofts .Net—which consists of the Windows Server operating system, IIS (Internet Information Services) Web server, SQL Server database and ASP scripting language—and the open-source LAMP stack—comprising Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (or Python or Perl). However, an IT stack doesnt always stack up in these ways, as much mixing and matching of a stacks various components can and does occur. This is especially true of stacks built around J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) technologies.

eWEEK Labs has set out to see how IT stacks compare and how mixing components affects performance and functionality.

In this podcast, eWEEK Labs analysts discuss the results from their tests of IT stacks. Click here to listen.

In fact, Im currently neck-deep in testing several different IT stacks (and various permutations of those stacks). My tests so far show that a dark-horse candidate has surprisingly good performance. For lack of a better term, Ill call this unheralded option the WAMP stack—a Windows server running the open-source Apache, MySQL and one of the P-languages.

My final results and analysis will appear in the July 10 issue and at

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