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Apologies if the question appears ambiguous, I have little experience in this area and was after some informed opinions.

I am deploying a test scenario of a server/client network and need to make some choices for Server. The client will be a Windows system as it meets the requirements for the client, the server choice has more room for selection. From my experience with Linux in general and the appealing nature of open source for low cost, security etc and the availability and performance of database and web server programs I have been considering CentOS as a server choice. I have the ability to make most of the choices of what software / server packages I wish to install. This includes Active Directory (something I have no experience with).

How well does this operate with Windows clients? Am I being too selective and creating unnecessary complication by setting out not to use a Windows Server OS?

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you REALLY need to elaborate on what the system is going to be doing exactly, before anyone can advise. Windows can be better for some tasks, while Linux for others –  dyasny Feb 3 '11 at 22:25
    
Sorry, It will be needed to manage mail, web and database services. Web may be pushed off onto another server. I have a lot of scope for this as its a bit of an exploratory thing. To allow me to experiment and develop my own knowledge, the issue is that I have to fix down my basic setup before I get started. I am still researching Active Directory so am scouting out the other areas first. Thanks for the comment –  Draineh Feb 3 '11 at 22:40

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This really is a matter of what services you are intending to run; each server operating system has different strong points and different weak points depending on what you want/need.

My personal recommendation is that, if you are intending to use Active Directory extensively, Windows Server is probably a better choice.

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Sorry, It will be needed to manage mail, web and database services. Web may be pushed off onto another server. I have a lot of scope for this as its a bit of an exploratory thing. To allow me to experiment and develop my own knowledge, the issue is that I have to fix down my basic setup before I get started. I am still researching Active Directory so am scouting out the other areas first. Thanks for the comment –  Draineh Feb 3 '11 at 22:41

I know Microsoft pushes SBS for this sort of implementation, but I for one have never been comfortable with making one's AD controller available to the Internet at large through web and mail ports/software. I much prefer leaving AD as AD and inaccessible to the outside world and then handle all of those other functions with a CentOS machine or two.

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