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  1. #1

    Linux vs Windows 2003 Server - Whish is the fastest file server


    My server at home just failed and I have had a replacement here waiting for this as I knew it was imminent.

    My question is this: -

    I have a 10 user license for Windows 2003 SBS but would like to consider a Linux Server as an alternative.

    I mainly need to transfer pretty large files (800MB+) to and from the server.

    What would be that fastest performer for 'File Serving' only - Linux or Windows 2003 Server. Also which would be faster NFS or Samba. Finally if I use Linux which FS would be quickest and best for this environment EXT2/3, XFS, ReiserFS etc..

    I have 2 Mac OS X systems both running Leopard (10.5) OS, I also
    have 4 PC's all running Vista & XP in Dual Boot setups.

    I am unsure if NFS would perform better than Samba for the 2 Mac's, if I use Ubuntu for a server. I can use DiskShare for NFS on the PC's or Samba whichever is the fastest.

    Apologies if I have posted in the wrong section, please let me know if I should post it elsewhere.

    Any help or pointers would be most gratefully received.


  2. #2
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Knee deep in Grand Rapids, Michigan
    You should try both.
    You probably already know how fast you can transfer files with Win2k3.
    Check out one of the server distributions.
    Do a search on for "server" if you don't already have one in mind.
    Everyone will have a different idea which filesystem is better.
    I personally like reiserfs, but there is also xfs and jfs to choose from.
    If you want to learn more about linux take a linux journey
    Use CODE tags when posting output of commands. Thank you.

  3. #3

    Thanks for all the help

    I ran some tests with a variety of file types, sizes and Server set ups.

    2003 server was the slowest to upload to but the fastest to download.
    Debian Samba was the fastest to upload to but the second slowest to download.
    Debian NFS to Mac NFS was the 2nd fastest to upload to but the slowest to download.

    So a mixed bag really, the set up for Debian was straight out of the box, defaults all round but the FS was xfs. 2003 Server all defaults too. Same with the Debian NFS setup.

    I was quite surprised that the NFS didn't do better, quite a few people thought this would win hands down. I didn't do any tweaking with the NFS or Samba configs though so that may explain it

    I am going to stick with 2003 Server in the short term as I need a couple of big drives to backup the data, reformat as xfs and then move over to Debian samba. I may experiment with NFS & Samba tweaks to see if I can improver throughput.

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Super Moderator Roxoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Nottingham, England
    The biggest limiting factor on your fileserver speed will be the LAN itself. If you are handling big files like this frequently, then it may be worthwhile moving your infrastructure up to gigabit (that's if you dont already have this). You may also find that speed isn't the overriding factor for your connection; reliability may well turn out to be more important, and if this is running anywhere near public, you may consider security and/or encryption to be more important still.
    Linux user #126863 - see

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