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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

One of the projects I'm working on is looking like we're going to need to migrate from CentOS 5.4 over to something else (we need to run Postgresql 8.3+, and CentOS/RHEL only support 8.1), and one of the options will be Windows Server.

Since 2008 R2 is out that's what I'm looking at. I'll need to run Postgres and Tomcat and don't really require anything that Windows has like IIS (if I can run Server Core, even better!). The other kicker is it will be virtualized through VMWare ESXI 4.0 so that we have three separate boxes: development, Quality, and Production servers.

From a licensing standpoint though, and I good enough with just the Web Server edition? Am I right in assuming that will be three licenses? Or should I just jump up to Enterprise so that I get 4 VM licenses?

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marked as duplicate by Mark Henderson Jan 14 '12 at 3:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

As you're going to be using ESXi I don't understand why you are considering Windows at all when you don't need anything it has. Why not use a version of Linux that does support the version of Postgres you require? Or am I missing something? – John Gardeniers Mar 18 '10 at 9:46
@John, depends I guess. If I was told that I had to administer three Linux-based Postgres/Tomcat servers, I would be able to do it but I'm sure it wouldn't be up to best practices. Do it on a Windows server however... and the cost of hiring someone just to maintain three linux servers is much less than the cost of a few Windows Server licenses – Mark Henderson Mar 18 '10 at 10:32
@John Vendor requirements, plain and simple. The vendor is a Windows/Java shop and while they initially said they support Linux it turns out not so much. A decision needs to be made to either switch distros (to Ubuntu, in this case) or go to what they 100% support, which is Windows. – dragonmantank Mar 18 '10 at 11:16
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Depends on pricing.

  • You need to license either physical or virtual processors. Now, you also need VM rights.
  • It may be cheaper to go with a web edition licensed per virtual processor (count processors in public vm), OR with a datacenter licensed per physical processor (of the vm).
  • In general that does not account for dev and test. Sorry - no SPLA here to rent.
  • For dev and test you leglly need proper licenses, but you may be able to use them from MSDN, which you may get cheap from Biszspark / Webspark programs. Or buy.

So, I think cheapest is Web edition licensed per virtual server.

Btw, do yourself a favour and drop as much of the Open Source stuff for Microsoft stuff as you can. You are probably looking for PHP anyway - so use PHP on IIS. Reason? LESS MAINTENANCE. You dont have to apt-get on Windows, and the Microsoft stuff (IIS, etc) has automated central updates. I wish that was that standardised for other software too, but it is not.

Server core: Stay away unless you are a pro. Or willing to learn ;) Try it out - but expect going back to full server during trials. It is a lot more complicated to configure and a lot less people can help you out ;)

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You really shouldn't move to Windows for your PostgreSQL server - you will get a lot worse performance and a harder to maintain system.

But really, you can run PostgreSQL 8.3 or 8.4 just fine on CentOS 5.4. Packages are at CentOS/RHEL 5 is definitely one of the by far most common deployment platforms for PostgreSQL these days...

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Evidence please? – Sam Mar 18 '10 at 14:39
While I'm wary of the performance issues between Windows and Linux, the link did get me to a repo with the 8.3 (and actually 8.4 and 9 packageS). Got it all set up and CentOS is running 8.3 now! – dragonmantank Mar 18 '10 at 16:48
Performance contrasts between the operating systems will likely depend on the specific workload. Hardware configurations being equal, there will be a difference in the connection limits and filesystem performance. Poor choices for the workload on the Linux side could very well make it perform worse than the Windows configuration. – J.Zimmerman Mar 21 '10 at 8:36
PostgreSQL uses a multiprocess architecture, which Windows is not optimized for. PostgreSQL uses shared memory, which Windows is not optimized for. PostgreSQL uses the filesystem in a way that NTFS doesn't quite like. Obviously, we're talking properly tuned systems in both cases. If both are untuned, Linux wins. If the Windows install is tuned and the Linux one isn't, the Windows one wins. If both are tuned, Linux wins in almost every case. And yes, I know a lot more details around that than I'd like to, since I hit many of them while writing the Win32 port of PostgreSQL. – Magnus Hagander Mar 21 '10 at 10:03

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