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I called my Hardware vendor this morning to ask for server hardware configuration.He in turn asked me what Server Operating system I am going to use on my server.They decide the hardware configuration based on Operating system.

Does the Operating System and Hardware have some relation in terms of reliability,performance or above all compatibility ?

I want to setup Windows server 2007 with Sql server 2005.

Please help.


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So where to look for the issues regarding hardware - OS compatability ? Any suggestions. – Hakim Aug 16 '10 at 10:28
OS vendor websites typically list a compatibility matrix for hardware. May have to search out information from individual component suppliers as well. It can be an ugly time-consuming task to make sure everythings compatible. The good news is that in a Windows situation, pretty much everything will have a driver available somewhere... *nix is more of a problem. – Brian Knoblauch Aug 16 '10 at 16:57

As Richard notes, some hardware might not work well (or even at all) on certain operating systems. At this level, this is a fairly fundamental case of the OS deciding (or at least suggesting) part of the server config.

There's also things like what RAM configuration is supported / optimal for certain operating systems (e.g. if you're running 32-bit OS to server a few files then this suggests a very different hardware profile to a 64-bit DB back end.

Things like clustering / virtualisation / high availability configurations also impose limits on hardware choices, even if you don't change the base OS you're doing these things on.

More than just the operating system though, there's also an element of the application that makes an impact on the hardware choice too - as I mentioned earlier, a typical DB host might want more RAM than a file server, and it might also want a more complex disk configuration too.

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above all compatibility ?

Yes. If there are no drivers for a piece of hardware then that hardware won't work on that OS. It is also possible that a driver for an OS is lower performance (e.g. cannot take advantage of hardware acceleration).

This might be down to the hardware vendor only supporting the more popular OSs, it might be down to the OS only supporting more popular hardware.

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+1 - this is the most important point... money spent on hardware the OS doesn't support is money wasted. – RobM Aug 16 '10 at 8:27
Yes, BUT: modern OS, modern vendor for a server pretty much = compatibility unless you have VERY unusual needs (niche market). – TomTom Aug 16 '10 at 9:12
TomTom, I think the issues are likely to be around whether or not you're doing virtualisation or clustering these days, more than whether or not you're doing either of the above in Linux or Windows... But things like clustering or virtualisation with ESX, say, still have a fairly strict HCL. – RobM Aug 16 '10 at 9:49
@Tomtom: not so true when you're looking at servers. Vendor support is likely to require their RAM and HDDs -- however much we know they are the same. – Richard Aug 16 '10 at 20:21

There are processing and memory capacity considerations. Some combinations of OS and application(s) are more demanding on one or more system aspects, so the short answer is yes.

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Are there? Sorry to be picky, but for a SERVER I dont think so. The OS needs nearly no CPU anyway, and for a server (16+gb ram) the difference in the OS memory requirement is - pretty much non-existing. We do not talk netbooks here. So, yes - this is an issue, but not so much an OS level issue but an application level issue. – TomTom Aug 16 '10 at 9:13
If you are virtualizing or running a large database (guess what is behind a lot of web applications these days), then absolutely. If you are envisioning a simple file and print server, the you are absolutely correct. – user48838 Aug 16 '10 at 12:44
But I wouldn't use 16GB ram on a simple file and print server... and with low memory, OS RAM requirements has to be considered. – laurent Aug 16 '10 at 14:10
I would - or not run a file server only on a computer. But then, DB was mentioned -t hat is a lot, but NOT an OS ;) – TomTom Aug 16 '10 at 16:28
"The OS needs nearly no CPU anyway, and for a server (16+gb ram) the difference in the OS memory requirement is - pretty much non-existing." "or not run a file server only on a computer" Hmmm... Contradicting statements... – user48838 Aug 17 '10 at 7:19

I'm not sure the question of the vendor is a technical question... Most vendors have standards products so he probably has a list price with Linux and Windows Server machines and he needs to know which column to look!

The other answer's technical considerations have to be considered but I'm not sure it was the vendor procupation when he asked and usually I wouldn't trust a vendor to define the machine I need! A better question to define what kind of machine to offer would have been asking what kind of application / number of users or files or whatever depends on the applications you want for the server.

Obs: I guess you want windows server 2008 not 2007, right?

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I decided to go for Intel Xeon Processor 3000 series.But before I could specify my details he asked me the OS. If it would have being a Linux Server I would have surely searched for the drivers availability.As I wanted to go for Windows based there was no need I thought. – Hakim Aug 16 '10 at 16:53
Linux driver support is actually pretty good these days. In some cases better when it comes to 64-bit drivers... – user48838 Aug 17 '10 at 7:14
If you're talking about a major vendor; e.g Dell, HP, etc then their technical sales people often know what combination of their products work well on a particular OS. – RobM Aug 19 '10 at 7:32

I Came up with this Intel Website Link,Where they have listed the supported Operating System for the Board I wanted.

They have a list of Supported Operating System for every MotherBoard.

Hope this will be useful.

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