Compare Resulting Systems
Red Hat Linux comes in a variety of configurations and distributions with more advanced support options available for its commercial, business-oriented distributions. Microsoft's server products provide far fewer software applications, and are meant only to provide a modicum of services over a networkno client applications are included. Additional desktop operating systems must be purchased for a Microsoft-based server environment. A Red Hat solution could also require purchase of additional desktop operating systems, but ACME has an alternative approach if free Red Hat Linux distributions are used (and Red Hat offers a complete printed set of its manuals in hard copy for $49.95 if such documentation is required).
Linux System Diagram and Commentary
Depending on ACME's needs, a Linux-based server system will require only power and a network connection after installation. Such a system can also be installed using only a single floppy disk if an Internet connection is present, or if a local Web or FTP server is present on ACME's LAN.
An additional and perhaps essential element of the server component of ACME's LAN could be a UPS to ensure safe shutdown in the event of a power outage (a UPS is cheaper than a backup generator). Adequate cooling and physical security needs should also be addressed. ACME's LAN will obviously need a firewall or gateway at ACME's Internet connection (with possibly more used to segregate internal divisions on the network). Wireless portions of ACME's LAN should not originate at the server because current hardware and software support does not adequately address security and performance issues; a much better approach is to use 100Mbps or Gigabit Ethernet controllers for serving other divisions within ACME's LAN.
Windows System Diagram and Commentary
Most of the issues discussed in the previous section apply to a Microsoft-based server component of a LAN. Implementing advanced features of Microsoft's Windows 2000 AS, such as clustering and fail-over, will require additional hardware (similar to that for Red Hat's Advanced Server).
Clearly, a Red Hat-based server solution will cost ACME much less than a Microsoft solution.