LAMP/Windows Comparisons
March 13, 2008 9:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for good, neutral, non-dogmatic comparisons of LAMP and Windows for building and hosting database-backed web applications.

Comparisons of cost, security, stability, and maintenance would be especially helpful.
posted by kirkaracha to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have experience with both platforms, and I prefer LAMP because, in my experience:

* No or low licensing costs with LAMP;
* While you can make most languages/frameworks work on Win, it's usually easier and better documented on LAMP (obviously doesn't apply for Win-specific technology like .NET, etc).
* I find that config and maintenance is more "intuitive" with the *nix flatfiles-and-daemons idiom, and easier to back up.
* Stability has been a wash between the two. We have had more weirdness with some of our Windows-served apps, but I can't confidently say that it's not down the the apps themselves, rather than the IIS/SQL backend.
posted by everichon at 10:21 AM on March 13, 2008

Oh yeah, and the other thing is, while again you can jury-rig something similar on Windows--and I have had to--I prefer the insane flexibility of *nix OS's w/r/t scripting and automation. This affects ease of maintenance, logging, monitoring, scheduled tasks, just lots of things that are secondary to the actual serving of web pages but still critical. Simply having Bash, Python, Perl, and cron laying around is a big deal.
posted by everichon at 10:31 AM on March 13, 2008

LAMP vs 100% MS solution is a topic that could roll on for pages. In the end I think most people will agree that it will depend more on the experience of the programmer than the actual system that was chosen to maintain reliably.

For me just tinkering with some web design on my laptop, I would go with my already installed IIS server and install PHP and MySQL. Anything I design should be able to run on a LAMP server, no problem. Plus, I prefer working in Windows and have a lot of productivity software that I like to use.

If I were responsible for the hosting or whatever project I would probably choose a LAMP server due to licensing cost.
posted by nickerbocker at 11:15 AM on March 13, 2008

Another option: It sounds like you're completely ignoring WAMP solutions as an option. IIS is not the only game in town on Windows, and using Apache, MySql and PHP on Windows doesn't really differ all that greatly from doing so on *nix. You can even use Python, Perl and cron on Windows to support your scripting needs, although there's no shortage of Windows scripting engines.

After a rebuild, I "temporarily" moved my Wordpress setup and FTP server to a Windows XP box running XAMPP (tweaked for security). It runs like a champ and was a piece of cake to get going, and I wound up never moving it back. At this point, I'm not sure I'm even going to bother.
posted by JaredSeth at 11:49 AM on March 13, 2008

Full disclosure: I'm an IT generalist, not a database expert.

That having been said, I've set up implementations of MediaWiki on WIMP and LAMP platforms. Having lots of experience with IIS and Windows server (not quite so much with MySQL and PHP) took me a few days to tweak to the point where everything ran. Most of that time was spent troubleshooting after installs using the multiple 'simple' instruction sets one can find on the internet.

In contrast, (on a lark, and completely without serious intent) I set MediaWiki up on Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon Server in about an hour, from end to end. Everything works great. This was also my first experience with CLI on a linux server, if that helps to underscore the ease of implementation.
posted by Pachycerianthus at 3:18 PM on March 13, 2008

Response by poster: I'm sorry for not being clear in my question, and I appreciate the personal experiences, but I'm really looking more for articles I can use as citations.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:20 PM on March 13, 2008

I can't point to any articles I would class as non-biased. My own feeling is a few years ago LAMP won hands down, now, not so much. If I had a win environment, with people with that expertise I would go that way. If I had no environment, and depended on third parties, I would probably do the same. If I already had Linux I would definitely stick with it for additional applications. TCO is entirely down to the existing environment, and it sounds like you favour *nix, but if I read between the lines, maybe the budget holders don't. The answer here depends on whether they trust you to stick around.
I would rather inherit an unsupported windows system, at least I can pay some schmo to sort it out, rather than a heavily customised Linux box that needs continuity from the SA who set it up to realise its potential. I have previously inherited *nix systems that kept working for years after I got them, but were impenetrable to the new SA when time came to make changes.
Even though I would rather bet my life on Linux, the restrictions and 'One Way' of doing things with Microsoft makes it more interchangeable and sustainable in a corporate system. Of course, in my experience the dollars also mount up with the MS solution.
posted by bystander at 4:11 AM on March 14, 2008

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