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Group test: what's the best server OS?

The best operating system for your server

PC Advisor reviews the best server OSs.

5. BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5

Both flavors of BlackBerry Enterprise Server do a very good job of providing BlackBerry smartphone users with secure, wireless access to email and documents behind the firewall, and the Web-based interface minimizes the workload of IT administrators. For personally liable BlackBerry devices that only require access to an Exchange server and where a basic set of security policies is adequate, BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express will do the trick. But when your support staff has to manage thousands of devices or when email to mobile executives absolutely positively must never stop flowing, then BlackBerry Enterprise Server is the only choice.

4. Ubuntu Server 9.0.4

Ubuntu Server reminds us of the Xenix, UnixWare, and even early SunOS and Solaris version that were targeted toward VARs and vertical market 'solutions' platforms. There are a lot of choices that arrive in the Ubuntu distribution, and it's based on Debian, which is known to be less experimental than other Linux distributions. It's fast, utilitarian, and among the first Linux distros to link to clouds and clusters using standard components. Ubuntu Server's not so much lightweight, as just a little loose and fast in places.

3. Microsoft SQL Server 2008

It's not without its faults, but Microsoft SQL Server 2008 easily passes our own five-point test for upgrades by bringing at least five significant improvements to a data environment. It's a winner.

2. Microsoft Small Business Server 2008

With the release of Small Business Server 2008, Microsoft shows signs of understanding that small businesses have a wider range of server options than ever before. For most small companies, SBS 2008 will provide the basic functions necessary for the business in a package that is easy to set up and administer, and that integrates readily with Microsoft Windows Vista and XP clients. The purchase price won't be as low as Linux, but the polish and ease of use are both high, and the single-user CAL makes SBS 2008 the most affordable SBS yet. Microsoft has been listening - and this time, it shows.

1. Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server [PC]

We found Snow Leopard Server to be a powerful but simple to use server solution, with the stability and power of Unix, topped with an intuitive interface familiar from Apple’s accessible Mac OS X client operating system. The adoption of open standards, along with a focus on technologies that well support the company’s expanding iPhone platform and media lab technologies, provides useful advantages over competing products. Snow Leopard Server’s extensibility and attractive pricing system alone may seal the deal, especially in education, publishing and media creation settings.

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