Server Operating Systems



  • I recently had a run-in with an IT Manager about the definition of a “server operating system.” I don't claim know anything about IT, so I thought I would just post it here and let the mob have a laugh at both of us. I'm sorry if it's a bit long.



    I work in a lab at a university. The department has its own IT staff of three: a programmer/analyst, an systems administrator and the IT manager. Each lab operates more or less autonomously except for coordinating IP addresses through the IT office. Each user is an “ad-hoc administrator” and each lab has an unofficial “administrator” who coordinates with IT and ensures that everyone follows university policy. In other words, it's chaos. This might qualify as a WTF by itself.

    Since I know how to turn a computer off and on, I was treated as the administrator for our lab. I received the following email addressed to the entire department and then things just fell apart.

    Manager: If you administer and have a server in your research group on the [DEPARTMENT] Network, please email to [EMAIL@UNIVERSITY].edu the IP address(es) of all your servers in your research group by [DATE]. We do not need your DNS information (hostname), -only the IP address(es). And we -do not- need any IP addresses for other networked equipment: (workstations, laptops, printers, hplc's, networked lab devices.) We only need IP addresses of computers running Server Operating Systems.
    Thank you.
    Perhaps naively, I assumed that they meant webservers, FTP servers and so on. The sort of things that might be inventoried by someone working on the firewall. So I asked for a little clarification of exactly what type of servers were of interest.
    Me: I'm not entirely sure what is meant by Server Operating System. We have assorted machines running various combinations of Apache, SSH, SMB, AFP, DAV and VNC servers on Windows XP and Mac OS X. About which configurations should I report?
    Manager: Just the IP addresses is all I need. You are confusing Operating systems with TCP and UDP protocols and services. SSH, SMB, AFP, DAV do not have IP addresses they are protocols and services not servers. VNC is a remote control software solution, not a server operating system. Here is the definition of an operating system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_system Your apache web software may or may not have a sep IP address depending on how you set it up, but we do not consider that server with an operating system.
    Hope that helps.
    This is where I said WTF. Although it sounded condescending, the sentiment might have been genuine. However, it didn't clarify anything. How could a machine running Apache not be a server? Can't almost any modern OS be used as a server operating system? So I decided to just get a list of exactly what they wanted.
    Me: I still don't understand which machines running server programs count as Server Operating Systems and which do not. If a machine running Apache does not count as a server then I am totally flummoxed. Do you want to know which machines are running the Server edition of their particular OS, as in Mac OS X vs Mac OS X Server? Please provide a list of operating systems, servers and protocols that would qualify a machine.
    Manager: I'm not looking for server programs. Just the ip address of any server operating system you have.
    That was no good, it was just the original question again. Since we were running in circles, I went to the IT office to get this straightened out. As soon as I opened the door, I was berated for making the Manager's life difficult. Somewhat taken aback, I tried to figure out what they had meant by server operating system that was neither an Apache server machine or an operating system marketed as “Server.” I asked what the IP list was for, thinking that key words like firewall or licensing might come up. Nope, more yelling. Eventually, I got them to explain it to me as if I was a child. They started enumerating: "Windows 2003 Server, Red Hat Enterprise Edition..." I left quietly.

    After it sank in, I wrote a sternly worded email that was too long and boring to post here. I never heard back from the manager. I figured that they just didn't read my emails anymore. Eventually, a WiFi access point failed and the manager had to come into the lab to fix it. When I started to describe the problem, the manager looked at me and flat-out asked to speak to someone else about the problem. I guess I'm not the administrator anymore.


  • Well to be fair, the IT manager was probably expecting the unofficial "administrator" to have some technical skills. Pretty fair guess if he didn't know the situation.

    One would have to assume that if he's saying "Running server operating systems" he's doing inventory control for licensing etc, so he just wanted a list of anything running an operating system that was server related as opposed to any machine running some application which might be considered a server (EG: Apache is a web server, but if I install it on an XP box I wouldn't consider it to now be running a server operating system).

    So on to the WTF's...

    1. Your assumption that "server operating system" was implied by having an application running as a service (Though tbh if you're non-technical that's not really to be expected, tbh if I was talking to someone introduced as the admin I'd expect them to know that)
    2. His response. While everything he said is true, he could've solved the whole thing at step 1 by adding "For example Windows Server 2003 is a server OS, Windows XP is not".

    Tbh everything he said was correct, but his explaination was terrible...



  • @fyjham said:

    Well to be fair, the IT manager was probably expecting the unofficial "administrator" to have some technical skills. Pretty fair guess if he didn't know the situation.

    Agreed.  Also, the OP is now surprised that he is no longer the administrator after sending a "sternly worded email" to the manager.  So basically he's a whiny, pedantic twat who would rather quibble over semantics than actually use any kind of judgement of his own.  Thank God he's not out in the workforce (yet)...



  • Did you consider writing something like "We have a computer running Windows XP which is acting as a file server but is not actually running a server operating. Does this count?"



  • @fyjham said:

    One would have to assume that if he's saying "Running server operating systems" he's doing inventory control for licensing etc


     The OP indicates that the IP list was not for licensing purposes, so asking for the IP addresses of only "server" operating systems seems pretty asinine. There really isn't an effective difference between Redhat running Apache and Fedora running Apache.

     

     

     

     



  • From the replies so far, it would seem that I was making the better half of the WTF. Fair enough. I guess I should have a little more faith in our IT manager.




    fyjham: I should point out that this is not a CS or related department and that there are no qualifications, instructions or training involved in being the "administrator." There should have been no assumptions about the skill level of the people being contacted. There isn't even a list of these people in case IT wanted to contact them. I ended up acting in that role simply because I was the guy that turned things off and on when they stopped working.
    As for licensing, there is no central licensing. Each lab manages its own licenses, so IT probably wasn't interested in that. But, I did ask explicitly if they wanted to know about "the Server edition of [a] particular OS, as in Mac OS X vs Mac OS X Server."



    morbiuswilters: The sternly worded email that I omitted opened with an apology if I was acting like a gadfly, followed by a summary of our discussion in their office to document what was said and finished with a request that the manager act in a more professional manner in the future (not raising their voice and accusing me of jerking them around). I even ran it past a coworker to make sure that it didn't sound snarky. Since the manager never responded, how was I to know that I was no longer the administrator? But not to worry, I won't be joining the IT workforce.

    I did like "whiny, pedantic twat who would rather quibble over semantics than actually use any kind of judgement of his own." As they say, "oh snap."



    fourchan: I said something to that effect, "We have assorted machines running various combinations of Apache, SSH, SMB, AFP, DAV and VNC servers on Windows XP and Mac OS X. About which configurations should I report?"



    HaunchesMcGee: That was my line of thinking and I think it's where I went wrong. With my limited background I didn't see the difference between a Windows XP webserver and a Windows 2003 Server webserver.



  • @HaunchesMcGee said:

     The OP indicates that the IP list was not for licensing purposes, so asking for the IP addresses of only "server" operating systems seems pretty asinine. There really isn't an effective difference between Redhat running Apache and Fedora running Apache.

    Fair point, I must've missed that. I guess then yeah it's pretty hard to determine the intended use the guy has for the information...

    And yeah, the distinction of what constitutes a "server OS" is a much more blurred line when you get into the Linux area rather than Microsoft seeing as most linux distributions could just as easily be used as a server or client machine by changing the config/software (That can also be said for windows too, but seeing as there's specific server versions it's pretty clear where to draw the line on a server OS). I sorta assumed it wasn't a Linux computer lab because if it is the question is completely unanswerable 😛

    @DKNewsham said:

    fyjham: I should point out that this is not a CS or related department and that there are no qualifications, instructions or training involved in being the "administrator." There should have been no assumptions about the skill level of the people being contacted. There isn't even a list of these people in case IT wanted to contact them. I ended up acting in that role simply because I was the guy that turned things off and on when they stopped working. As for licensing, there is no central licensing. Each lab manages its own licenses, so IT probably wasn't interested in that. But, I did ask explicitly if they wanted to know about "the Server edition of [a] particular OS, as in Mac OS X vs Mac OS X Server."

    Yeah, I know, at that point WTF#2 of my list came up. His responses were 100% useless and his questions were very much open to interpretation. And I get that there's no real reason to assume technical skill, but does the IT manager know this? What I meant to imply was he may have assumed a level of technical knowledge above what you had simply from the name "Administrator", or even worse assumed that all the labs (I'm assuming there'd be a few by the first email) would have technically savvy "administrators" and has a full inbox of "what's a server OS?" and by the time you visited his office just wanted to murder something 😛 Though tbh as pointed out that question can be impossible to answer depending on your operating systems.

     



  • @DKNewsham said:

    Manager: .... And we -do not- need any IP addresses for other networked equipment: (workstations, laptops, printers, hplc's, networked lab devices.) We only need IP addresses of computers running Server Operating Systems.

    Thank you.



    So... that means if you have a laptop running Windows 2003 Server Edition, you:



    A) Email the IP to the manager

    😎 Don't Email the IP to the manager

    C) Write the Email but don't send it

    D) Send an Email but don't put the IP in it

    E) Laud the desktopworthiness of the laptop since it's never actually been used and may be even chained down, therefore making it technically not a laptop per se; though it is only running apache on plain Windows XP.... eventually resulting in your ban from communicating with the IT team.



  •  What a mess. You should have just sent a list of everything, right down to the network enabled printer (Protocol: SMB (Services: 1 (printer), HTTP, SNMP, TELNET; OS- unknown, (firmware GPL licenced), Processor: Unknown, non-x86; ip 10.16.38.45(dhcp) ) and let them sort it out.

     You were quite right to ask for clarification, and could not reply sensibly until you got it.

     Your question was also very clear, and their reply - like mud. Best of luck, you are best out of it.



  • Manager: We only need IP addresses of computers running Server Operating Systems.

    I believe the request was unclear. I was confused too when I read it. The manager should have said "We only need IP addresses of computers running as servers."

    Therefore, a machine running Red Hat Linux with an Apache webserver would count as a server. The same machine running Red Hat Linux but no service that is used by other computers in the lab (an example of such machine is your workstation from where you surf the WWW) would not count as a server. This as nothing to do with the OS, although of course some OSes (e.g. Windows 2003 Server) are meant to run in a server. That's how I interpret it.

     



  • @fyjham said:

    What I meant to imply was he may have assumed a level of technical knowledge above what you had simply from the name "Administrator"...

    My interpretation here, is that the OP seems to have a greater technical knowledge then the manager. It seems like the manager doesn't understand why his question was ambiguious in the first place. Even when asked outright if he meant X, where X was what it turned out he did mean, he just repeated the question again, which suggestes that he didn't understand the question himself.

    @fyjham said:

    ...or even worse assumed that all the labs (I'm assuming there'd be a few by the first email) would have technically savvy "administrators" and has a full inbox of "what's a server OS?" and by the time you visited his office just wanted to murder something 😛 Though tbh as pointed out that question can be impossible to answer depending on your operating systems.
     

    This does seem rather likely.



  • I've always advocated returning icompetent obstinacy with enthusiastic incompetency. Such as sending them a list of every IP address used in the lab, without any note of which IP corresponds with what device in the lab. Technically, that's all they asked for.

     I argee that it's likely that the IT manager didn't understand what he was asking for, either. Probably some sysop or admin told him they needed a list of 'servers running on each labs network' or something, and he interpreted it in some strange way.



  • There was an article on /. this morning about using W2k3 Server as workstation OS because it can work out better than Vista.



  • @OzPeter said:

    There was an article on /. this morning about using W2k3 Server as workstation OS because it can work out better than Vista.

    Oops .. that was really meant to be W2k8 server. My bad.



  • @SpoonMeiser said:

    @fyjham said:

    What I meant to imply was he may have assumed a level of technical knowledge above what you had simply from the name "Administrator"...

    My interpretation here, is that the OP seems to have a greater technical knowledge then the manager. It seems like the manager doesn't understand why his question was ambiguious in the first place. Even when asked outright if he meant X, where X was what it turned out he did mean, he just repeated the question again, which suggestes that he didn't understand the question himself.

     

     

    I got the same impression.  It is common for semi-technical god-complexed MS-Certified goons to mistake MSs OS titles for real technical distinctions rather than pricing strategies. 

     



  • It's possible that the list was being requested for a BSA-type audit (while a licensing thing, the manager may not have understood that, given the apparent lack of knowlege), for a firewall/proxy config setting (so that one could apply a different outbound filter to servers than to desktops), for a skills inventory, and probably a dozen other uses.

     If I had been in the same situation, as a seasoned professional, my first email would have been something along the lines of:

     

    Which Operating Systems specifically are you interested in?  In particular, I'm uncertain which Linux distributions count as server OSes versus desktop OSes.  A list would be helpful.  PS: if you want the IPs of all systems which are used as servers, that would be a different list than you just requested.)

     

    Actually, having them enumerate them is not having it explained to you as if you were a child, but rather as if they knew what they were talking about and realized you didn't - because there's no other way to do it. 



  • @DKNewsham said:

    From the replies so far, it would seem that I was making the better half of the WTF. Fair enough. I guess I should have a little more faith in our IT manager.

    I wouldn't assess the composition of your WTF based on the rantings of the whiny petulants on this board. Their sole purpose seems to be to dissect every forum post like some breed of malcontented forum vulture.

    I found the request vague as well and would have asked for clarification in the same situation. Probably after finding them incapable of clarifying themselves, I would have just sent a list of every IP in the office with its associated operating system rather than trudging myself over there to get berated in person. I guess you're a nicer guy than I am. I actually think the written word is a better tool for technical clarification than verbal communication.



  • I might be completely off base here, but you did mention that you have to coordinate IP Addresses. From that, it seems unlikely that any sort of DHCP server was running. If that assumption is correct, this scenario may have been an attempt to gather data to setup DHCP reasonably intelligently, and remove the burden of coordinating IP addresses. Under some conditions, it makes sense for servers to have IP addresses reserved in the DHCP scope; netting you the advantage of a "static" IP address for your server, as well as the ease of maintenance of DHCP should you have to change, for example, your DNS settings.

    Many of the SysAdmins I've worked with assume that any "server" requires a static IP address, and that anything running 2003/2008/etc was a server, while anything running XP/etc was not.If it was for a firewall, I'd expect them to want a list of require protocols as well- A SMTP Server, Web Server, and FTP Server all have very different firewall requirements.

    If it was for licensing, they'd want the version of the OS. Of course, if it was for a DHCP Server, and I was running the show, I'd also like the IP addresses of any network printers, and for you to do the work of collecting the MAC Address. Given the IP, of course I could do myself; probably have the script to add the information to the DHCP Server lookup the MAC address when it did the addition, assuming the server was on. But I'd rather not have to.

     



  •  @Finwolven said:

    I've always advocated returning icompetent obstinacy with enthusiastic incompetency. Such as sending them a list of every IP address used in the lab, without any note of which IP corresponds with what device in the lab. Technically, that's all they asked for.

     I argee that it's likely that the IT manager didn't understand what he was asking for, either. Probably some sysop or admin told him they needed a list of 'servers running on each labs network' or something, and he interpreted it in some strange way.

    Agreed. Until you know somebody well enough to know whether they're smart or stupid, always assume stupid. Don't waste your time trying to clarify issues with stupid people. Just send back something that answers the question under reasonable interpretation. It's probably just busywork anyway.



  • Really all a matter of definitions... here's a couple invented definitions of my own...

    Server (n): a computer that provides a service (generally, if not always, over a network) to other computers (clients).  Since a "mostly server" machine will almost always be a client in some situations, and a "mostly client" machine will usually be a server in some situations, labelling a machine a "server" or "client" refers more to its overall role in life, rather than a 100% accurate description of everything it will ever do.

    Server Operating System (n): clearly defined for any Microsoft operating system -- basically anything with "server" in its name.  Much more nebulous for any other operating system vendor.  Since any modern operating system, "server" or otherwise, is capable of acting as a server, this term is technically meaningless, except where the server or non-server operating systems impose different terms of service, usually with respect to licensing, or restrict certain applications from running on non-server operating systems (e.g., try running Active Directory service on a non-server OS).

     

    While the phrase "server operating system" makes me cringe, it does have a clear meaning when used only in the context of Microsoft operating systems.  Otherwise, seeking clarification is definitely a good thing.



  • @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    Server (n): a computer that provides a service (generally, if not always, over a network) to other computers (clients).

    You obviously haven't considered the X-windows definitions of client and server. That really screws around with your head :D. The server is the display system, and the client is the back end program.

    But in the context of MS, I regularly set up XP machines to act as servers. As long as you won't exceed the connection restrictions you are fine. Although that is really what separates the types of MS offerings as servers and client systems of the same era share the same code, but the client systems have artificial limits on the number of connections.



  • @OzPeter said:

    @AssimilatedByBorg said:
    Server (n): a computer that provides a service (generally, if not always, over a network) to other computers (clients).

    You obviously haven't considered the X-windows definitions of client and server. That really screws around with your head :D. The server is the display system, and the client is the back end program.

    But in the context of MS, I regularly set up XP machines to act as servers. As long as you won't exceed the connection restrictions you are fine. Although that is really what separates the types of MS offerings as servers and client systems of the same era share the same code, but the client systems have artificial limits on the number of connections.

    I remember in college when we set our DISPLAY environment variable to point to someone else's dumb terminal. And then running all sort of programs, in particular ones that made sound.

    Ah, memories... 



  • @Zecc said:

    I remember in college when we set our DISPLAY environment variable to point to someone else's dumb terminal. And then running all sort of programs, in particular ones that made sound.

    This getting OT, but I remember working with a guy who hacked the compiler installed on another colleagues computer (probably Turbo Pascal given the era). The hack caused a fixed set of code to be attached to every program that the second guy compiled. Initially the code was set to wobble the display every so often. Then the wobbles became more aggressive. Finally the code was also set to output a high pitched squeal from the speakers. Eventually the target guy had had enough of this, and ended up requesting a new monitor.



  • @OzPeter said:

    Finally the code was also set to output a high pitched squeal from the speakers. Eventually the target guy had had enough of this, and ended up requesting a new monitor.
    It sounds like there's more to this story.  Did the perp fix the compiler when the new monitor arrived?  Did the new monitor fix the squeal?



  • @belgariontheking said:

    It sounds like there's more to this story.  Did the perp fix the compiler when the new monitor arrived?  Did the new monitor fix the squeal?

    It was 22 years ago and thats not a detail that I bothered to carry around with me any more.



  • @OzPeter said:

    @AssimilatedByBorg said:
    Server (n): a computer that provides a service (generally, if not always, over a network) to other computers (clients).

    You obviously haven't considered the X-windows definitions of client and server. That really screws around with your head :D. The server is the display system, and the client is the back end program.

     

    You're right that I didn't consider X while I was writing that, but it still fits in, if you think of it this way: the X Server provides the services of display output, and keyboard & mouse input.  The client program uses those services to obtain its input and display its output.

    This example just further confuses, of course, whether a specific machine should be labelled a "server" or "client".  Which is another reason that "server operating system" makes me cringe, since it's so artifical and arbitrary.



  • @D0R said:

    Manager: We only need IP addresses of computers running Server Operating Systems.

    I believe the request was unclear. I was confused too when I read it. The manager should have said "We only need IP addresses of computers running as servers."

    Therefore, a machine running Red Hat Linux with an Apache webserver would count as a server. The same machine running Red Hat Linux but no service that is used by other computers in the lab (an example of such machine is your workstation from where you surf the WWW) would not count as a server. This as nothing to do with the OS, although of course some OSes (e.g. Windows 2003 Server) are meant to run in a server. That's how I interpret it.

     

    I've got the following computers at home:


    1. Gentoo Linux, running SSH, qmail, Apache, MySQL, tinyDNS.
    2. Gentoo Linux, running SSH, Lighttpd, MySQL, tftpd, rarpd, and exporting several shares via NFS.
    3. Gentoo Linux, running SSH, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, svn-server.
    4. OpenSolaris, running SSH.
    5. Windows 98SE, exporting a RAID-1 array via File & Printer Sharing.



      Which one is the workstation, and which ones are servers?


  •  Simple: a server is any machine that responds (with anything other than rst) to any unsolicited packets

    Although i may make an exception for icmp (ping [i]et. al.[/i]).



  • @robbak said:

     Simple: a server is any machine that responds (with anything other than rst) to any unsolicited packets

    Although i may make an exception for icmp (ping et. al.).

    So a desktop running SSH or remote desktop is a server?  FAIL. 



  • @DKNewsham said:

    From the replies so far, it would seem that I was making the better half of the WTF. Fair enough. I guess I should have a little more faith in our IT manager.
     

    Not at all. With a request like that your follow-up question was reasonable and shouldhave gotten you some informaiton about why the audit was being conducted. Only after knowing what the request is about can you correctly classify things.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    So a desktop running SSH or remote desktop is a server?  FAIL. 

     

     

    Yes. Any machine running a ssh server or a remote desktop server, is a server. Pass.

    The answer was not wrong. The question was.



  • @robbak said:

    Yes. Any machine running a ssh server or a remote desktop server, is a server. Pass.

    The answer was not wrong. The question was.

    By your definition then every modern desktop OS is a Server OS, rendering the term useless.  Good job. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @robbak said:

    Yes. Any machine running a ssh server or a remote desktop server, is a server. Pass.

    The answer was not wrong. The question was.

    By your definition then every modern desktop OS is a Server OS, rendering the term useless.  Good job. 

     

    I think we've already established that the term is useless.

     



  • @HaunchesMcGee said:

    I think we've already established that the term is useless.

    Bullshit.  All that's happened is that the term has been broken down into its component parts and then picked at until you've convinced yourself there is no such thing as a server OS. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @HaunchesMcGee said:

    I think we've already established that the term is useless.

    Bullshit.  All that's happened is that the term has been broken down into its component parts and then picked at until you've convinced yourself there is no such thing as a server OS. 

     

    What makes a "Server OS" so special then?  I think it's mostly marketing.



  • @HaunchesMcGee said:

    What makes a "Server OS" so special then?  I think it's mostly marketing.
     

    If you really think XP == Server 2k3 then you have some serious lack of understanding.



  • @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @HaunchesMcGee said:

    What makes a "Server OS" so special then?  I think it's mostly marketing.
     

    If you really think XP == Server 2k3 then you have some serious lack of understanding.

     They certainly aren't the same, but I think many of the features found in 2k3 aren't provided by the OS so much as they are provided by software. Also, some of the other features like the increased user limit were probably left out of XP to sell 2k3.   XP definitely is unsuitable
    for many server applications, but I think this is largely because of
    intentional feature crippling.  In this case though, I'll concede that the fact that 2k3 is a "Server OS" is significant.  I was wrong.

    What about Linux though?  The IT manager in the OP listed RedHat EE as an example of a Server OS, but a desktop edition of Linux can do everything a server edition can. So, the term "Server OS" is pretty pointless in this case.  

    Maybe instead of saying "Server OS" we should just say Server 2k* because that seems to be what it really means.


     

        



  •  Tbh I'd have to say a server can be defined by three things...

    Hardware (EG: You can typically refer to a computer as physically a server or desktop machine, for example I don't think many people would argue that a rack mounted machine isn't server hardware. And yes I know plenty of people run server applications off desktop hardware or even gaming consoles)

    Operating System (EG: Windows Server, though this doesn't really apply to Linux environments which due to their market share in the server environment renders that definition fairly useless except in a purely Microsoft environment)

    Intended Use (EG: Is it going to have someone sitting at it using it at?)

    Personally I'd have to go off intended use most the time, and by that definition while I'm not at home my laptop which runs remote desktop, windows file sharing, IIS web/ftp and a streaming audio server (All of which are only accessible via VPN before anyone says the security sucks :P) is a server, but while I'm sitting there using the machine I probably wouldn't... which really leads to the point for me that 99% of developers basically turn everything they touch into at least a part-time server 😛

     

    PS: Yes the difference between Windows 2003 server and Windows XP is all software/licensing... but an Operating System is in itself software. So I guess it's a question of what point you consider the OS to stop and the applications to begin as to whether that's grounds to claim that it's not really the OS that's the difference. I would agree it's not the kernel of the Windows OS that determines server (Though I think there are performance tweaks etc in server), but while that may arguably be all that an OS should provide while applications provide the rest in Windows's case it definately isn't the extent of the OS.



  •  @fyjham said:

    Tbh I'd have to say a server can be defined by three things...

    Hardware (EG: You can typically refer to a computer as physically a server or desktop machine, for example I don't think many people would argue that a rack mounted machine isn't server hardware. And yes I know plenty of people run server applications off desktop hardware or even gaming consoles)

    Operating System (EG: Windows Server, though this doesn't really apply to Linux environments which due to their market share in the server environment renders that definition fairly useless except in a purely Microsoft environment)

    Intended Use (EG: Is it going to have someone sitting at it using it at?)

    Normally, the set of computers in these three groups should match. You need to have a very good reason to run a server on a desktop OS or hardware or else it is a WTF. The lack of money is not a good one. Running a production server from a gaming console is an even bigger WTF. Yes, I know that it is possible, that it is cheap and stuff.



  • Then tell me. Is Debian a server OS or a desktop OS?

    What about RHEL? That's used both as server and as workstation quite often too.

    But yes, intended use and hardware "quality" should indeed usually match. It's just the operating system that is ambigous here. IMHO most Linux distros can be classified BOTH as server OS and as workstation OS, depending on how they have been installed (or later changed by installing/removing packages).



  • @HaunchesMcGee said:

    @MasterPlanSoftware said:

    @HaunchesMcGee said:

    What makes a "Server OS" so special then?  I think it's mostly marketing.
     

    If you really think XP == Server 2k3 then you have some serious lack of understanding.

     They certainly aren't the same, but I think many of the features found in 2k3 aren't provided by the OS so much as they are provided by software. Also, some of the other features like the increased user limit were probably left out of XP to sell 2k3.   XP definitely is unsuitable
    for many server applications, but I think this is largely because of
    intentional feature crippling.  In this case though, I'll concede that the fact that 2k3 is a "Server OS" is significant.  I was wrong.

    What about Linux though?  The IT manager in the OP listed RedHat EE as an example of a Server OS, but a desktop edition of Linux can do everything a server edition can. So, the term "Server OS" is pretty pointless in this case.  

    Maybe instead of saying "Server OS" we should just say Server 2k* because that seems to be what it really means.


     

        

    XP 32-bit = Windows NT 5.1
    Server 2k3 = Windows NT 5.2
    XP 64-bit = Windows NT 5.2



  •  This is how I read it:

    Manager:  We need some information. Here is a vague description and no explanation or context of why we need it.

    Employee: I'm not sure exactly what you are requesting.  Maybe if you explain what you need it for, it will help me decide which information to send.

    Manager: You don't need to know what it's for. Here's a wikipedia article to clarify.

    Employee: I don't need to know what it's for because I'm being nosey.  I just need to know what you consider to be a server for your purposes.

    Manager: F*** YOU BUDDY!



  • @fyjham said:

    One would have to assume that if he's saying "Running server operating systems" he's doing inventory control for licensing etc, so he just wanted a list of anything running an operating system that was server related as opposed to any machine running some application which might be considered a server (EG: Apache is a web server, but if I install it on an XP box I wouldn't consider it to now be running a server operating system).
     

    The real WTF is that you think there is a difference between "server" operating systems and other operating systems. How quaint.



  • @shakin said:

    The real WTF is that you think there is a difference between "server" operating systems and other operating systems. How quaint.
     

    The real WTF is that you don't think there is a difference and that you haven't read the rest of this thread. How quaint.



  • @HaunchesMcGee said:

    What about Linux though?  The IT manager in the OP listed RedHat EE as an example of a Server OS, but a desktop edition of Linux can do everything a server edition can. So, the term "Server OS" is pretty pointless in this case.

    You are a dumbass.

     

    A "server OS" is an operating system intended for the specific purpose of serving requests to clients.  This is distinctly different than a desktop OS, the primary role of which is acting as an interface for a human.  There are significant differences in how the two types operate at a low level, and not just with Windows.  Linux can definitely be made into a good server OS but there are lots of specific kernel options and software packages that are used to better fulfill the role of server.  That's why server versions of Linux distros exist.  Additionally, a lot of the features that sysadmins need to run a successful server are proprietary add-ons in the Linux world.  That means you will be paying money to Red Hat, Novell or IBM.

     

    Just because you can run Apache on your Ubuntu desktop does not make it a server OS and it does not mean your desktop "can do everything a server edition can". 



  • @shakin said:

    The real WTF is that you think there is a difference between "server" operating systems and other operating systems. How quaint.

    Wow.  When did this forum jump the shark?  Seriously, it's like nobody in here understands basic concepts anymore.  This place has been overrun by Slashdot retards.  Great. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Just because you can run Apache on your Ubuntu desktop does not make it a server OS and it does not mean your desktop "can do everything a server edition can". 
     

    Indeed. I have used Ubuntu server for a while now, and I have tried the desktop version.

    The server version is night and day from the desktop. The lack of a GUI would be the first major and obvious difference, but the different default tools and packages is another major difference.



  • There is no such  thing as a "Server OS" when it comes down to it, an OS's role is to act as the layer between applications and the hardware, not to serve data. The only reason why there's some "Enterprise grade" "Server OSes" is because often those "Server versions" of the OS come with services packaged in not available with the workstation/desktop installs. This is usually a marketting tactic by vendors to charge more for the services included in the "Server versions" that aren't available in the workstation/desktop versions.

    System Operations 101: 

    A server is a computer specifically designated and configured to serve data to other systems, Servers can utilize any OS capable of communicating via a network, what differentiates servers from workstations is that a workstation does not serve data over a network without local user intervention whereas a server does. A server is called a "server" because it serves resources and data to various systems on the network through the use of clients on the systems in which it serves.



  • @DigitalXeron said:

    A server is called a "server" because it serves resources and data to various systems on the network through the use of clients on the systems in which it serves.
    Hey, thanks for that information that everybody already knows! We're all aware of the textbook definition of a server, but it doesn't fully apply to the real world. A server OS is one which is tuned -- often at the system level -- to facilitate better performance in a server role.
    @DigitalXeron said:
    what differentiates servers from workstations is that a workstation does not serve data over a network without local user intervention whereas a server does.
    It has nothing to do with serving data without user interaction.



  • @bstorer said:

    @DigitalXeron said:
    A server is called a "server" because it serves resources and data to various systems on the network through the use of clients on the systems in which it serves.
    Hey, thanks for that information that everybody already knows! We're all aware of the textbook definition of a server, but it doesn't fully apply to the real world. A server OS is one which is tuned -- often at the system level -- to facilitate better performance in a server role.

    Precisely.  Unfortunately most of the people here don't seem to have a clue what they are talking about.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.