CentOS Linux vs. Windows Server

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
CentOS Linux
Score 8.4 out of 10
N/A
CentOS Linux is a Linux distribution is an enterprise OS platform compatible with its source RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Its end of life was announced for December 2021.N/A
Windows Server
Score 8.6 out of 10
N/A
N/AN/A
Pricing
CentOS LinuxWindows Server
Editions & Modules
No answers on this topic
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
CentOS LinuxWindows Server
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
CentOS LinuxWindows Server
Considered Both Products
CentOS Linux
Chose CentOS Linux
While Ubuntu Server has a lot of the same pros as CentOS, it can sometimes take a little more work to get the same level of hardening that you can get out of the box with CentOS. However, Ubuntu offers a much better desktop experience than CentOS.

Windows Server is also very …
Chose CentOS Linux
CentOS is based on RHEL, so it really came down to the costs when making the selection between our options. RHEL offered more support and features, but nothing that we specifically needed. CentOS is fully customizable, something Windows Server was also lacking in many ways. The …
Chose CentOS Linux
Free no cost, Lower costs for support, and overall doesn't require a per licensing for each install.
Chose CentOS Linux
I like CentOS over other flavors of Linux - mainly because it's widely used, supported, and it's based of RedHat Enterprise Linux. Comparing it to Windows as a server? No comparison - CentOS all the way - unless you want to reboot your windows servers every few days.
Chose CentOS Linux
CentOs is the standard in the hosting industry when it comes to different versions of Linux OSs, it's almost an exact clone of Redhat so it fits in with every need pretty well as well as it being free to use as it is opensource. Ubuntu is a great desktop OS.
Chose CentOS Linux
Comparing to Ubuntu Server OS, CentOS is better from the security hardening side. RHEL: from my hands-on experience it is pretty much the same as CentOS, but in lots of cases, costs money. However, RHEL has better internal, community and software vendors support. Windows …
Chose CentOS Linux
Ubuntu Server has a lot of the same pros as CentOS, it can sometimes take a little more work to get the same level of security that you can get out of the box with CentOS. However, Ubuntu has a much better desktop than CentOS.
Windows Servers is also reliable and secure well …
Chose CentOS Linux
It is more robust and easy to use, troubleshooting tips can be found online. You can also get community help as well. It is prone to security as compared to other OS. Updates are downloaded and installed in which an admin user can see the progress via the Command line interface.
Windows Server
Chose Windows Server
These are just very different products. They can all have the same functionality but the specific product knowledge with Linux is much higher. This slows down troubleshooting and can leave you with limited options for high end support. There are absolutely good use cases for …
Chose Windows Server
We have been using Microsoft products for the last 15+ years and following are key point for choosing this solution:
  • Trust & reliability of products.
  • Customer support.
Chose Windows Server
We have various servers or appliances that run on various flavors of Linux that do their jobs well, but we configure and manage them very lightly at the OS level. Most of the admin on these devices is sone inside the applications themselves. We don't shy away from new …
Chose Windows Server
I have used/administered several servers using systems like Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS. While these systems are great in their own rights, you are typically using a command-line interface or shell in order to administrate the system. This requires a lot of commands to be …
Chose Windows Server
For our purposes it came down to picking between Windows and Linux and at the end of the day we picked both. We use Windows for 80% of our server needs to run our Web, File, Print, DHCP, Internal DNS, Active Directory, SQL, Web and other windows based servers. We use linux …
Chose Windows Server
Windows Server is the only one that has an upfront cost for licensing before hardware is considered. Windows Server is generally better suited for multi-faceted approaches; however, for just backups, TrueNAS and Synology are cheaper and just as good. For standalone services …
Chose Windows Server
When using a Linux system such as CentOS in a server situation to get certain features like Windows Server, it can take a lot of jerry-rigging and configuration to get the same results that can be set up with Windows Server in a lower amount of time.
Chose Windows Server
Windows has functions that are available to it that Linux does not as there are a lot more applications available that run on the Windows platform. Windows is widely used and is familiar to admins that don't have the experience needed for Linux. It is still a staple in …
Chose Windows Server
Windows Server offers more stability when using solutions that require domain services. It also offers more stability than third-party solutions for file services using SMB. I find third-party alternatives on Linux feature rich, however, very lacking in stability and usually …
Chose Windows Server
The clear advantage is that Windows Server is less intimidating to the uninitiated novice being that it has a GUI, well-documented process that you can see and follow rather than just executing commands in a terminal. At the same time, the growth and scope of Powershell allow …
Top Pros
Top Cons
Best Alternatives
CentOS LinuxWindows Server
Small Businesses
Ubuntu
Ubuntu
Score 9.0 out of 10
Ubuntu
Ubuntu
Score 9.0 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Score 9.2 out of 10
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Score 9.2 out of 10
Enterprises
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Score 9.2 out of 10
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Score 9.2 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
CentOS LinuxWindows Server
Likelihood to Recommend
7.0
(21 ratings)
8.1
(62 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
-
(0 ratings)
2.4
(5 ratings)
Usability
-
(0 ratings)
4.3
(6 ratings)
Support Rating
8.6
(5 ratings)
2.8
(18 ratings)
Implementation Rating
-
(0 ratings)
2.2
(3 ratings)
Configurability
-
(0 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
User Testimonials
CentOS LinuxWindows Server
Likelihood to Recommend
Open Source
In any role where you need raw server power, CentOS Linux is extremely well suited. It is extremely stable, and in my experience, probably the most stable of the Linux distros available. It has a very wide base of support from 3rd party sources for additional functionality that do not come already in the CentOS Linux distribution itself. It is not as appropriate for situations that are customer facing or end user facing. For those, I recommend Ubuntu Linux. But for everything server & compute related, I recommend CentOS Linux.
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Microsoft
If you have one user or 1000's of users (especially using Windows), Windows Server is a no-brainer! The only reason I would suggest going with a Linux server is if you have old hardware (Windows Server is more process intensive than Linux). But, Linux is open-source, so anyone can publish updates/security updates, but on the flip side, malicious people also have full access to Linux's codebase allowing for much easier writing of exploitations/viruses/malware/ransomware.
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Pros
Open Source
  • First of all, CentOS is one of the most secure and stable OSes straits from the box.
  • High performance on the average hardware.
  • In most of my scenarios—easy and quick deployment.
  • Huge KB community that helps to build and support different services on CentOS.
  • Versions lifecycle.
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Microsoft
  • Easy to use due to its intuitive graphical user interface.
  • Very popular and makes integration easier.
  • Lots of software drivers available.
  • Has many functionalities such as Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, VPN, RDP, VDI server, etc.
  • Many patches and updates available. Maybe abit too much too often.
  • Cost effective and with budget.
  • Remote desktop feature simplifies remote access to this server.
  • It has a built in VPN and ssl certificate feature.
  • Event viewer is available for alerts, although it seems too cumbersome to go through the logs.
  • If you got too many Windows systems to manage, then SCCM is an option.
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Cons
Open Source
  • CentOS is not a great desktop platform. Although some would disagree with that statement, I think that CentOS is better suited to life as a server.
  • Since CentOS is community-supported some software vendors will not officially support it because it isn't Red Hat.
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Microsoft
  • DHCP Server could be better - we use the router for DHCP Routing
  • Print Server - not a fan of using the server as a print server since you have to license it. Direct access to printers via IP addresses is a much more efficient way to go
  • Better backup program - we utilize a third-party program that gives us more flexibility when restoring individual files.
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Likelihood to Renew
Open Source
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
I've carefully reviewed the servers and services currently running on Windows Server 2012, and given the opportunity would renew them as is going forward. There are two systems I currently have in place, one is a very large Linux implementation for a large ecommerce site, and one is a very large backup solution front ended by FTP servers running Linux. Neither are well suited for Windows, but the overall network infrastructure is and will be Windows Server for the foreseeable future.
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Usability
Open Source
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
There are simply too many different parts of Windows Server to make it a cohesive piece of software. While some of the newer features found in Windows Server 2012 and 2016 have nice UIs that are logically laid out, there are enough parts of the system that is still based on old code with clunky UIs and confusing options to make Windows Server a particularly user-friendly experience.
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Support Rating
Open Source
Again, written documentation is excellent, even on the older versions. The support community is the best. It is comprehensive and I would say that it global because it transcends national boundaries. Also, you find all types of people using CentOS to do all sorts of things so you are bound to find someone to talk to if there are problems.
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Microsoft
Microsoft's support is hugely wide-ranging from articles online to having to contact them directly for the more serious issues. In recent years when I have contacted them directly, I have found the support o be excellent as I have found myself connected to very knowledgeable people in the field in which I needed the support. The online support available is vast and I tend to find most of the time that there is always someone out there who has had the same issue as me in the past and knows something about how to resolve it! This is the advantage of using industry standard and long-established systems such as Windows Server.
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Implementation Rating
Open Source
No answers on this topic
Microsoft
Make sure that you have detailed processes in place for every server instance you plan to install/upgrade, if possible get the base OS loaded and Windows Updates applied ahead of time, and if using a VM take a snapshot prior to installing each role, as well as along the way.
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Alternatives Considered
Open Source
CentOS is based on RHEL, so it really came down to the costs when making the selection between our options. RHEL offered more support and features, but nothing that we specifically needed. CentOS is fully customizable, something Windows Server was also lacking in many ways. The stability and speed was unmatched in comparison to Windows, and we were not utilizing any Windows-specific software to require us to use the Microsoft alternative. My years of experience have also made it a breeze to set up and configure new CentOS instances, leading me to stay where I'm comfortable.
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Microsoft
I didn't use any other system which gives the same functionality and I am not aware of any. The full integration between all components and especially the ability to integrate mail via Exchange or even via a hybrid setup with the Ofice365 cloud, including the ability to directly manage the cloud from the server, using Power Shell, is something I didn't see anywhere else.
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Return on Investment
Open Source
  • CentOS's support of RPM packages makes it very easy to replicate RHEL servers for development or testing in cheap / free environments
  • CentOS's minimalistic desktop environment requires additional tweaking / packages if you want to have a usable desktop environment with the niceties of other modern distributions. As a result, if developers want to use CentOS, they'll need to spend more time customizing it than other distros.
  • CentOS's easy customization from the command line lends itself well to our virtualization infrastructure where setup can be easily scripted to modify CentOS's configuration files.
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Microsoft
  • Because of our Microsoft Campus Agreement, Windows products are fairly affordable for us and that has been a huge blessing. We are considering some Azure cloud options and some of that is covered under our Campus Agreement, making it a nice incentive to start migrating certain apps and functionality to the cloud
  • I don't have access to our budgets so I cannot give a good answer as far as the impact of ROI on our institution, but if your company can afford it, you cannot go wrong with Windows server. Not having to send your sys admins to Linux or Unix school alone is a big savings as well as not having to train your staff on using a Linux desktop instead of a Windows-based one.
  • The compatibility with end users of all varieties and platforms will definitely impact your ROI in a positive way. We have Apple users, Android, Windows, and even a few Linux end users on our campus and Windows server works quite well with all of them.
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