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My team is developping a number of windows services in .net. These services communicate through a messaging solution and some of them have an expected response time that is well below 100ms.

The ops team responsible for provisionning servers doesn't want to install Windows Server 2003/2008 on these machines for financial reasons. Instead, they provided us with Windows XP. They also claim that because these servers are running on a virtualized environment (Vmware ESX), we don't need to add another "server" OS on top of it.

Somehow that seems wrong to me but I'm not an expert in that sort of things.

Therefore, what are the advantages/disavantages of running Windows Server 2008 vs Windows XP for that kind of applications?

Edit :

  • I'm interested in comparing the X64 versions of Windows XP and Server 2003/2008, as some of our services are consumming more than 2Gb of memory.
  • The windows services I'm talking about are supposed to be up 24/7, but we can provide them with windows for server updates (if that's relevant to the discussion).
  • By That kind of applications, I'm refering to the first sentence of my question => windows services in .net doing some computations based on incomming messages. Some computations are very short (less than 1ms, with a throughput of a few thousand messages seconds) and we expect a reasonable latency as described, and other quite long (a few minutes, but they are triggered a lot less). Basically, you can see that as some sort of agents communicating over a bus, whatever the agents are.
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What is "these machines". How exactly is Windows XP being "provided" (I assume virtual machine on one of your existing servers?). And I assume your ops team is aware of the requirements, or has experience with, of your "windows services in .net"? And could you narrow down "that kind of applications"? – DutchUncle Jun 16 '11 at 8:21

The "ops team" should be fired for incompetence. XP is outdated, 32 bit most likely. it is not actually licensed for server use, which makes the legal point interesting (financially).

They should install 2008 R2 64 bit. Server or client OS makes freaking no difference in itself - an OS is an OS, and you need one in a VmWare.

some of them have an expected response time that is well below 100ms.

Remove thm from virtualization. Virtualization can not guarantee that. VMware switches between vm's sio anything that reuires fast response times is critical here.

what are the advantages/disavantages of running Windows Server 2008 vs Windows XP for that kind of applications?

Let's start iwth XP being seriously outdated. If they would tlk Windows 7 (2008 R2 equivalent) this may be another story, but basically the first question is why should you run a system 2 generations back to current technology? 64 bit (you dont want 32 bit servers) is problematic with XP.

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Actually, they provided us with XP X64 (see my edit). Do you have specific information about the problems you can have with the X64 version of win xp? Can you be more specific about the advantages of using 7 or server 2008? (I think they would answer me that we already have licences for windows XP whereas we should by new ones for any other OS. Also, they tell me that everything works fine with windows XP, so why change it if there's a cost associated with that?) – Julien Jun 16 '11 at 8:53
The EULA specifically says you can XP as a server in the following cases: "You may permit a maximum of ten (10) computers or other electronic devices (each a “Device”) to connect to the Workstation Computer to utilize the services of the Product solely for File and Print services, Internet Information Services, and remote access (including connection sharing and telephony services)". I don't know that is his use, and certainly the 10 he will hit the 10 connections pretty fast. – KCotreau Jun 16 '11 at 11:48
Otherwise, I agree with you totally. – KCotreau Jun 16 '11 at 11:49

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