Unix, Linux, and Windows Server Critique For Kudler Fine Foods POS/420 Unix, Linux, and Windows Server Critique Kudler Fine Foods is an upscale specialty food store located in San Diego California, with 3 locations in La Jolla, Del Mar and Encinitas. Kathy Kudler opened Kudler Fine Foods in June 1998, and grew quickly to open the 3 locations in as little as 5 years. While the mission is to provide the finest products and to assure Kudler is the purveyor of choice for customers aspiring to purchase the finest epicurean delights, the company must have the best possible technology to meet the business needs.
The objective is critiquing possible Servers that will improve the protection of data, provide a stable environment to support business, allow transaction monitoring, store sales transactions from POS terminals, backup data, and manage databases. The purpose is to weigh the pros and cons of the different servers, find the one server that will meet the needs of the business, and implement the server to the end users. The critique will include security, administration, networking, performance, and programmability.
Security When beginning a discussion of computer security, a number of variables come into play. From patch availability to OS popularity, antivirus offerings, user/administrator knowledge and even physical user controls, many elements must be considered to create a computing environment that is secure. While Windows and Linux each have their advantages and disadvantages, neither operating system is, at its core, more or less safe than the other from attacks and data theft.
All operating systems have vulnerabilities before they ever ship, and it is up to the administrator of those systems to maintain a level of security that protects the valuable data stored on those servers. Windows and Linux operating systems have a few large advantages and disadvantages that are worth analyzing when considering security. Interestingly enough, the largest advantage is probably also the largest disadvantage. Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world, so there is a large user community and thousands of employees at Microsoft that work to improve security daily.
By the same token, it is also the operating system that is most widely targeted by virus and malware programs that individuals create either to profit or just create general mayhem. Since the Linux user base is much smaller, it is less advantageous for individuals to create viruses and malware for Linux systems, since the impact would be much smaller. Additionally, Linux is a less familiar and more difficult operating system to install and maintain, so the user base for Linux is widely more knowledgeable than that of Windows operating systems.
This was exacerbated in previous versions of the Windows OS because user access control was much looser than it is currently. Since the inception of Unix and later Linux, the operating system was predicated on the idea that users should have as limited access directly to the system kernel as possible. (“Is Linux Really More Secure Than Windows? “, 2011). Another item that is frequently referenced when comparing Windows and Linux security is the configuration of, well, everything. Windows takes the approach of doing as much as is efficient for the user, rather than the user having to do it themselves.
Linux forces users to take much more control of any software they install or connections they set up, which adds flexibility but gives birth to a wide array of human error possibilities. There are pros and cons to both of these philosophies, because the Windows approach means the software is probably more secure out of the box, but the Linux software gives users the ability to enhance security in greater detail without having to wait on someone else to develop a security patch. Administration
The duty of the administrator is to solve problems that arise when workstations go down and maintain the system to run consistently without errors or interruptions. According to Gite the duties of the system administrator are a wide-ranging and vary widely from one organization to another. The administrators not only put out fires but also manage user accounts, password resets, software patches, backup creation, and other various system maintenance tasks (Venezia, 2011). The decision to use any particular server over the other will be based on the business needs.
Kudler Foods will need to employ at least one IT employee, and this employee‘s skills will need to be with either the Windows server, or the various flavors of UNIX or Linux. Automating tasks is much easier to do using UNIX and Linux than with the Windows server. UNIX and Linux are both more economical in terms of licensing than the Windows server. Windows servers are able to run batch scripts but are very limited without the available commands that are found in UNIX. Administrators will need to reboot the system only a few times a year while using UNIX or Linux, but will need to reboot the Windows system weekly.
All servers have support available, if users are not familiar with servers, then it isn’t necessarily any more difficult to learn one server over another (Jensen, 2007). The recommendation for administration on which server to use for the business depends on the needs of the business and what experience the administrator has with servers. It is recommended in any case that outside tech support is obtained for support that may arise that cannot be maintained by the administrator. Networking Choosing Windows server over Linux has several up and downsides to it. Linux is a freeware, and said to be about 25% faster than windows.
Also, the open source software allows for endless possibilities for the IT team. One of the downsides is that a higher level of expertise is needed to keep the environment going. Also, kernel modifications are needed in order to make changes to how things operate. Kernel changes need to be performed perfectly or damage could be done to the entire OS leaving all data inaccessible. Windows may come with license fees but the operating system is pretty fail safe to use, and hard to break. Applications are easier to implement on windows than Linux, as most applications are created for windows use.
Access controls are far superior in Windows as well letting the user set access control without having to use software add-ons. Patches are used in both systems however windows patches are all packaged through Microsoft and downloaded with updates, whereas Linux patches are available through open sources as well as commercial providers such as Red Hat (when available). Searching for applications to use with windows are easily found and downloaded. Searching for packages on Linux is much harder and they are sometimes not found (which means having to create them or use a modified version that needs tweaking).
Windows server supports standard features such as: The ability to bind multiple network adapters with different media types; this is a great feature to have when using multiple network adaptors, and need them to be used in a certain order. Physical and logical multi-homing; Granting multiple IP addresses access can be a pain, because some may be static and some assigned by DHCP. Sometimes both are not accepted to allow access at the same time. Duplicate IP address detection; Duplicate IP addresses can cause problems locking up one user, and letting the other user have access to areas they should not have access to.
Detecting these addresses saves hours of troubleshooting time. Dead gateway detection; Having gateways open and not being used is a security risk that will let outside users gain access to servers. Automatic Path Maximum Transmission Unit discovery; Having to find and set the pathway for certain programs can be a pain using Linux. Having it done automatically can save large amounts of time with multiple programs. Performance enhancements are included such as: Protocol stack tuning; Default window sizes are increased, and new algorithms for high delay and high loss links are included.
Round Trip Times as well as timeouts are improved. Number of connections management is improved, and has higher performance. TCP fast recovery and fast re-transmit helping to overcome errors. Windows server has an overall simplistic layout that is a failsafe OS to use. For a smaller company that needs a server for basic use, windows server is the way to go. Using a Linux server will require more expert knowledge to setup and use costing the company the salary of a highly paid employee to manage the server. Basic IT employees can use a windows server to its max, and receive higher levels of tech support if needed.
Windows may come with a cost, but it is a fast install that will be ready to go, and use right away. Performance The choice of integrating either a Unix server or a Windows server can be a decision that all comes down to performance. As for Kudler Fine Foods, it will be a decision that will shape the success of a company. There are multiple areas to focus on when looking at system performance. One must take into account system uptime, security impact on performance, hosts accessing the server, database application integration, ability to customize, etc.
The different impacts on performance and company expectations help dictate which server to implement into the working environment. The Unix server is vulnerable and has drawbacks just as the Windows server. However, the flaws for the Unix server are less impacting on a company such as Kudler Fine Foods. The Unix server does not provide as many resources for end user support and would require trained and knowledgeable staff that knows the Unix server to operate the system. All features of a Unix server are accessed through the command line and some features are accessed through the Graphical User Interface.
The Unix server requires re-boots on a rare occasion such as when system updates occur, application implementation, and application failure. The uptime for a Unix server is generally higher than a windows server. The windows server has more frequent system updates. Updates are common occurrences for the Windows server compared to the Unix server, thus requiring more re-boots for implementation. The server does have an abundant amount of support through Windows, forums, and other organizations.
The Windows system does require more re-boots to clear the system out, allow for updates, and address critical software failure. However a system reset every once in a while is not grounds for a final deciding factor on which operating system to implement. Programmability Windows and Linux both come in different “flavors. ” Windows is exclusive to Microsoft but the different versions of Linux come from various companies, including Red Hat, Ubuntu, Xandros, and Knoppix (Tackett & Gunter, 1997). Both operating systems have a desktop and server version. Both rograms have a GUI and a command line interface. Linux uses fewer resources than Windows and does not suffer from the infamous “Blue screen of death” faced by many Windows users. Linux is a UNIX based open source operating system designed by programmers scattered around the world. It is capable of operating on a variety of computer platforms (Hart, 2010). Because Linux is an open source program, anyone can access the code to modify or enhance its capabilities to perform a multitude of tasks. The disadvantage to having an open source code is the potential danger of someone deleting vital data.
Since Microsoft is proprietary software, this capability is not available in Microsoft’s operating system, reducing the threat to its source code. The original version of the Windows OS was announced in 1982 and shipped in 1985. The Windows NT based OS has been in use since 1993 (Microsoft, 2011). Current versions support direct and sequential access to files systems, multiple processors, long descriptive name, task to task communications and synchronization, with increased protection against unauthorized and accidental access or corruption to its files.
Several versions support the Windows Application Processing Interface (API) (Hart, 2010). Windows has evolved over the years to a more efficient application with improved graphical capabilities. Current versions of Windows run on a variety of media which include cell phones, handheld devices, laptop PCs and enterprise servers. Both Windows and Linux offer a trial version of their OS but because of its smaller file size, Linux can be run from a CD or flash drive, a feature which Windows can no longer provide.
As a supplier of upscale gourmet foods, Kudler’s website uses a variety of graphical designs. The Windows server is a better solution for this company because of its graphical capabilities. Despite Kudler’s consistent growth, the company is committed to keeping its expenses down and its profit margin up. Linux may seem like a programmer’s dream come true, but the extra expense of hiring a programmer to maintain a Linux environment would be detrimental to the company at this time. Unlike Microsoft’s OS, Linux does not provide an 800 number for support.
The company must weigh the benefits of a free open source operating system against the benefits of a paid but supported operating system. Conclusion/ Recommendation Since Linux and Windows both have their individual advantages and drawbacks, a blended solution would meet the needs of the business best. By combining the two operating systems and using them in tandem, Kudler will be able to draw on the strengths of both operating systems to overcome the drawbacks of each. References Jensen, J. (2007). UNIX vs. Windows. Retrieved from http://www. networkbits. et Gite, V. (2006). What is the role of the system administrator?. Retrieved from http://www. cyberciti. biz/faq/what-is-the-role-of-the-system-administrator/ Hart, J. M. (2010). Windows system programming. 4th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Addison-Wesley. Microsoft. (2011). A history of windows. Retrieved November 24th from http://windows. microsoft. com/en-US/windows/history Tackett, J. and Gunter, D. (1997). Special edition. Using Linux. 3rd edition. Indianapolis, IN. QUE Corporation. Venezia, P. (2011). The decline and fall of system administration.
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