Linux Vs Windows : For Oracle Database?

The Debate Linux Vs Windows

A few years ago the debate was Unix Vs Windows. Now a days, with Linux  dominating the  OS world the debate has been changed naturally to Linux  Vs Windows. In the earlier debates , while Performance considerations, availability considerations  and Security considerations used to  give Unix an upper hand, but ease of management was always in favor of windows. However how true is the perception that Windows is easy to manage than Linux?. What are the important facts  people often forget  when making this claim?. A closer look on the complete life cycle of the system clearly proves  the ‘ease of managing’ of windows is just a myth.

Why would somebody choose Windows for their Oracle Server?

Most of the  IT decision makers who select Windows as their Operating system for Oracle  often have the common  justification – the shop does not have enough expertise to install,configure  and manage a Linux Operating system. Are they right in their decision here? Should n’t they look into the complete life cycle of the system rather that just the ease of installation and configuration?Is it possible to use a Linux system with existing IT resources and with a lesser TCO(Total Cost of Owning) compared to Windows?. What are the other important factors ,which can make IT department’s life miserable in later stages of system life cycle?  Is it true that it is easy to manage a Windows system compared to Linux? The Answer would be  a “NO” , when ‘ease of managing ‘ is looked upon from  all the angles of complete system life cycle. Let us take closer look here.

What are the important facts to consider before selecting an Operating system?

Of course small or midsize shops should give much attention to ease of managing the system with limited resources they have. However ease of managing should be looked up from all angles. Which Operating system is easy to manage when the following key  factors are evaluated? 

  1. Reliability and Stability.
  2. Security  (especially from viruses,worms).
  3. Cost of license.
  4. Quality and Cost of Support for OS.
  5. Support for Oracle Software on the selected OS.
  6. Ease of Troubleshooting problems.
  7. Ease of Management (Read below more about this aspect which is favor of Windows to understand how negligible it is and how to over come this difficulty on linux)


1 Reliability and Stability..

There are UNIX and Linux system that runs for years without  a reboot. How many days can one run his laptop which has a Windows OS without a reboot?  Windows servers are also of no exemption.  Issues like memory leaks, poor memory management etc  would often make reboot as an essential part of Windows’ daily or weekly routine.  This is just one point, there would be not anybody (even windows fans due to its ‘ease of management’) who would dare to argue on the reliability  and stability of Linux or Unix .Consider the effort that would need to mitigate the problems arising from the stability of operating system. This includes the time when application is not available purely due to OS issues. So which operating system is easy to manage when one consider the reliability and stability  – The answer is certainly Linux.

2 .Security  (especially from viruses,worms).

Linux has a big hand over Windows  when the talks are about security. The number of viruses that exists and spread  over windows machines are unimaginable. Every day is a birth day of  several new viruses. One need to have  a constantly updating  Antivirus software on windows to  keep the OS running. What does this mean for an IT Decision maker? He need to consider the cost and effort needed for maintaining  one more piece of software. That means additional overhead  in the entire life cycle of another software product from third vendor , just because windows in most vulnerable to the threats of  viruses and worms. It would be wrong to assume that the server is  not connected to internet and thus free from threats of virus. On the bad day it will get  infected from a  usb device that somebody in the organisation connect to anywhere in the network on which the server is connected. On other hand Unix and Linux are almost free from this threat and there is no need of having an antivirus software. So which operating system is easy to manage when one consider security aspects? Certainly the answer is  Linux from this perspective.

3.Cost of license.

In  any small or mid sized  organisation the important consideration would  be cost. The cost of Windows license can be in several thousand dollars for each server. While most of Linux distributions are available as free downloads . Also, even for those Linux distributions which needs a payment to get the media, once  you pay negligible amount the software is all yours. It can be installed on any number of servers unlike windows.The amount spent as license cost for windows itself is more than sufficient for buying the expertise and resources needed to install and configure a Linux Server. So which Operating system is easy to manage in terms of cost -Certainly the answer is  Linux.

4 Quality and Cost of Support for OS.

One quick search on Google would reveal how incompetent and less efficient is the support for Windows. On the other hand Linux flavors like Oracle Enterprise Linux provides world class support backed by Oracle’s  support infrastructure. Cost of Oracle Enterprise Linux support is also far less compared to the Windows support options. Ideally quality of support for the software should be a prime factor when a decision is taken on the software. Inefficient support can make life of  IT department miserable. So which operating system is easy to manage when  the Quality and Cost of support is considered? – Certainly the answer is Linux.

5.Support for Oracle Software on the selected OS.

Next important consideration would be the quality and availability of support for the application(Oracle DB) on the selected Operating system. When the discussion is about a server OS for the Oracle database , one need to  study if there is any difference in the support application vendor (here Oracle) offers for each of these platforms. While no  explicit differences are stated or documented, people who have dealt with troubleshooting and fixing problems on both Linux and Windows platforms knows how less efficient are the options to diagnose  and  fix a problem on Windows compare to Linux. When talking about diagnosing a problem, options for process tracing etc are far more easier on Linux.On Linux where each oracle process runs as independent processes even killing a process is pretty easy  with native Linux tools itself. This  not that easy or feasible with thread model that is followed on Windows. Another important aspect is the availability of bug fixes. Bugs are integral part of any software , Oracle database is also of no exception. So the consideration would be how easy to get and apply patches for Oracle rdbms on Linux Vs Windows. For Oracle on Linux one-off fixes available for most of the issues that are identified. However on Windows one-off fixes are not available and customer  need to wait for windows patch bundles.  The new  capability of online patching aka “oracle  hot patching” is available on Linux , not on Windows. This allows Linux Oracle software to be patched even without a down time. So which OS allows easy handling of  oracle software running on it –  The definitive answer is  Linux.

6. Ease of Troubleshooting problems.

Important aspects of this point -ease of diagnosing the problem – is discussed in the previous  discussion itself. Windows lacks the ability to do process tracing etc  with native tools where are Linux has lot of free tools for the same.So which operating system allows easy troubleshooting of  Oracle issues-  The definitive answer is  Linux.

7 Ease of Management.

This is the classic answer from  most of the decision makers who favors Winodws. This is  in favor of Windows when somebody looks  just on it from a perspective on installing the Oracle software or copying some files or taking backups etc. It is true that installation and configuration  Oracle may be easy on windows systems compared to Linux platforms. This is merely because of the fancy GUI which Windows provides. However Installing and configuring the Oracle software is just  one time activity. If the IT department is not staffed with Linux experts, the needed expertise for Installation and configuration of OS and Oracle on Linux can be easily procured from third party service providers. The cost involved in doing this would be much lesser than the license cost one need to put for Windows. A small portion of windows license cost saved would be sufficient to get Linux system installed and configured by an external agency, if your IT department lack Linux skills. Once it is configured  and most of the tasks are automated , there is no need of great OS expert in the shop to run the daily show.

How oraInvicta can assist you ?

If you are convinced that Linux would be wiser  choice for your organisation and need assistance in Installing and Configuring Linux and Oracle oraInvicta is there to assist you. With  bare metal machine and Software Installation media (Linux and Oracle) provided oraInvicta can Install both Linux and Oracle and configure it in such a way that there is  not much manual intervention needed to run the system. All this  would be done under supervision of renowned Oracle DBAs  and Linux Experts and with cost  that is less than what you would have paid for Windows license otherwise.

We do the following :

  • Install and Configure Linux OS .
  • Install Oracle RDBMS Software.
  • Install Oracle Recommended patches.
  • Create Oracle Database.
  • Configure Oracle networking for Application’s access to database.
  • Develop  and Implement backup and recovery strategy.
  • Deploy scripts to monitor space, and server resource and to automate alerts.
  • Provide IT staff a detailed documentation and necessary training.
  • Any Other configuration/requirement as specified by your application vendor.



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