Likelihood to Recommend
FreeBSD is an excellent choice to continue using older hardware and have it perform, it is a great choice for a UNIX based development environment. Although I haven't used it as a server, it is most suited for this - it would make an excellent, secure and robust server for and I would love to start using it for this as well.
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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.
Read full review Pros Performs really well, even on older hardware Secure Robust Package manager (pkg) is excellent Large collection of ported software from Linux Documentation is excellent (FreeBSD Handbook) Read full review 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. Read full review Cons Installation can be tricky for first timers You need to be comfortable using a command line terminal most of the time Read full review 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. Read full review Likelihood to Renew
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.
Read full review Usability
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.
Read full review Support Rating
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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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.
Read full review Alternatives Considered
FreeBSD was the only operating system out of many I tried to install easily on older hardware and to run in a very performant way. For example, I had a lot of trouble trying to get Ubuntu to install on older hardware and when it did, it was too slow to use. FreeBSD installed quite easily and even after installing a desktop such as XFCE - it still run surprisingly fast. I was very impressed with it's performance, which it seems is a goal of the FreeBSD project.
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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.
Read full review Return on Investment As FreeBSD is free - the ROI is at least the cost of some commercial Linux or Windows based OS (which can be very expensive) Allowed the re-use of older hardware that would have otherwise been disposed No cost development environment Opportunity for a no cost server setup also Read full review 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. Read full review ScreenShots