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Looking for (preferrably) some hard data or at least some experienced anecdotal responses with regards to hosting a MySQL database (roughly 5k transactions a day, 60-70% more reads than writes, < 100k of data per transaction i.e. no large binary objects like images, etc.) on Windows 2003/2008 vs. a Debian-based derivative (Ubuntu/Debian, etc.). This server will function only as a database server with a separate Web server on another physical box; this server will require remote access for management (SSH for Linux, RDP for Windows).

I suspect that the Linux kernel/OS will compete less than the Windows Server for resources, but for this I can't be certain. There's also security footprint: even with Windows 2008, I'm thinking that the Linux box can be locked down more easily than the Windows Server.

Anyone have any experience with both configurations?

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why would you use windows if you already have linux in house? – tony roth Jun 9 '10 at 20:27
This is a client actually; I'd like to move them to Linux but not going to pitch that if besides preference, there's no real reason performance/security-wise. – gravyface Jun 9 '10 at 20:36
I don't think the OS makes much difference but I have only ever run large DBs on Linux. Also see for some anecdotal responses – Richard Holloway Jun 9 '10 at 22:49
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would say that familiarity counts for a lot; as such, you should have good reason to switch platforms. If you already understand securing Windows machines, there's no real benefit to bringing in an unfamiliar platform "for security reasons".

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Welcome to the ranks of the Stack Athletes. – Dennis Williamson Mar 17 '11 at 14:10

We've recently completed a migration the other way, from linux to windows 2k8 however that was for some 3rd party app that would only run on windows SQL. The database was converted from MySQL to MSSQL and nothing was noticed really in terms of slowness. They probably work with about 10x the number of transactions, there are at least a few million records.

It was installed on a new server with 8GB RAM and seems to work fine, I don't have full information but I know it fits inside of 6GB because they run a 1GB winXP VM as well leaving 1GB for underlying system.

As for security, on the whole linux might be generally safer but as always if you are a proactive sysadmin windows is fine (think of the millions of DB servers out there). Performance footprint isn't going to be much different, in terms of the DB, though obviously server 2k8 uses more ram than linux but not significantly.

I would say, if you 'have' to do the upgrade, use the opportunity to future proof the hardware (if the DB will grow much that is) as well as clean up the DB (most people never do DB maintenance) and anything else you can do to improve performance, stability, reliability, etc.

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