Essential Guide

This Essential Guide is a collection of articles, videos and other content selected by our editors to give you a comprehensive view of this topic.

What's the best Linux OS for your enterprise data center?

Are you running the best Linux OS for your data center? Before you decide to migrate or upgrade, brush up on the newest versions of Linux distributions for servers and get to know the basics.

Data center administrators have a choice among various supported enterprise editions of Linux, as well as free open-source distributions.

Identifying the right Linux OS for enterprise servers means comparing the major Linux vendors -- Red Hat, SUSE, Canonical and Oracle -- head to head. Look at the roadmaps of each major distribution to determine whether the features, support and pricing will pay off for your infrastructure and workloads.

Linux OSes also target coexistence with Windows, as many data centers are adding Linux servers to all-Windows shops. For new Linux administrators, there are some universal lessons that will ease the transition.

Down the road

1. Linux roadmaps lead admins to success

Discover what's changed in the latest updates to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), Oracle and Canonical Ubuntu, and what other users are saying about them in the data center.

  • Only the best Linux distribution for your servers

    RHEL, SLES, Ubuntu LTS and Oracle: Deciding which Linux OS to run on your servers is difficult. When it comes to what's best for your data center, expert advice is key.


  • What's new with RHEL

    Are your enterprise applications ready for Docker containers? RHEL 7 points enterprise servers on a path to cloud and easier application deployment and scaling, with many changes from RHEL 6.x.


  • Where is RHEL going?

    Don't get too comfortable with Gnome 2. Red Hat is introducing a classic mode to Fedora 19. Installation, file systems and the interface will never be the same.


  • An in-depth look at RHEL 7 and Fedora 19

    Mark Sobel, author of A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, discloses how major changes to RHEL 7 and Fedora 19 will affect system administrators.


  • New roadmap, new direction with SLES 12

    Don't boot out Btrfs just yet. SUSE's SLES 12 OS implemented new tools like GRUB 2 to help Linux admins boot with ease. Along with support tools, SUSE is revamping cloud and storage.


  • Ubuntu roadmap is the anti-Red Hat

    The Ubuntu Linux distribution focuses on cloud and hyperscale. And although it isn't trying to be the best server OS for enterprise apps, it is taking aim where RHEL fails.


  • Oracle Linux DTrace elicits delight, with stipulations

    Oracle Linux DTrace inflicts fear and excitement in the hearts of Linux pros. After being ported from DTrace Solaris, Oracle needs to prove worthy to its new customers.


The OS flip

2. Linux vs. the world

When converting to a new OS, do your research. Know which factors of an OS -- installation, ease of management, support -- mean the most to your enterprise data center.

  • Is Linux or Windows the best OS?

    An OS choice should consider factors like server function, security and stability.


  • From Windows to Linux

    Two industry experts face off about switching from Windows to Linux. See what they have to say about why business are, and should be, making the change.


  • Compare OSes: Solaris vs. Linux

    Solaris or Linux? What about OpenSolaris? Read about the advantages of each OS and learn how each works in the enterprise.


  • Unix vs. Linux platform war

    Unix shops worry about Linux's capabilities and scalability, but increasing numbers are migrating to Linux because these features changed their minds.


  • Which apps to use in a Linux shop

    These five applications emphasize expanding business IT infrastructure and functionality while decreasing the total cost of maintaining a business -- all on Linux servers.


Are you new here?

3. Linux for beginners

The more you know about Linux, the better. But don't get overwhelmed; start with the basic commands and management methods to become a "bilingual" Windows and Linux administrator.

  • Linux pros welcome

    Linux administrator careers are in hot demand, but not everyone with a Linux desktop at home makes the cut. Find out which special skills unlock data center doors.


  • Windows admins: Start here

    Linux server distros might all be different, but they all share common components and management methods. The first step is learning how to log in.


  • Linux commands newbies need to know

    For administrators to view and start processes on Linux servers, they need an array of general commands. Here's the must-know list.


  • Vi or vim with vim and vigor

    Mastering vi and vim text editor commands is essential for new Linux admins.


  • Killing commands with kindness

    Go in for the kill -- but only when a process fails. Learn which signals to use and which to avoid when you kill a process.


  • Protect Linux

    Keep Linux safe. This chapter excerpt explains how system administrators configure and run commands with root privileges, work with system operations, set up a secure server and more.

    Chapter Excerpt

  • Wherefore art thou, Mozilla?

    Explore the difference between Mozilla on Linux and Mozilla on Windows. Linux might be easier and less confusing, but does Windows offer any benefits?

    Ask the Expert


4. Definitions to guide you

Need more information on some of the Linux concepts? These definitions will lead you to success.