Knowledgebase: FAQ
What Operating System Should I Run?
Posted by Victor Goodman on 29 November 2010 09:23 PM
Since you own your servers, you can install and run any operating system you desire. For generic web applications, we suggest the use of Red Hat Enteprise Linux, or its free, community-supported clone, CentOS. These operating systems have the broadest range of compatibility with mainstream servers software, and are exceptionally easy to administer. Many customers are familiar with Microsoft Windows Server, or need to run Windows Server applications. Windows Server is an excellent, highly capable operating system, and it can be used in a safe and secure manner; we simply recommend that you follow Microsoft's best practices for Windows Server security, available here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb625087. aspx.

For demanding, high-performance applications, many customers achieve great results with Oracle Solaris, or the free OpenSolaris derivative, or the FreeBSD operating system. These are UNIX-derived systems that are optimized for maximum performance in application environments. If your environment requires an extreme level of security, the OpenBSD operating system is a popular choice (you can also use it to setup firewalls). Note that Solaris, FreeBSD and OpenBSD are demanding operating systems to configure and administer; however, a wealth of documentation on how to use them is available.

If you intend to run virtual machines, we suggest the freely downloadable VMware ESXi hypervisor, which you can get by visiting VMware's website. This system provides a compact hypervisor with just enough facilities needed to efficiently run large numbers of virtual machines; however, it requires a modern server with 64 bit CPUs and fast disk drives. If you need to run virtual machines but your server cannot run VMware ESXi, we suggest the use of the freely downloadable VMware Server product, which you can also get by visiting http://www.vmware.com.
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