Windows NT Server is built on a 32-bit architecture and is available in three editions:
Windows NT Server – The standard version of Windows NT Server is designed to handle workgroup needs and supports 4 GB RAM.
Windows NT Terminal Server Edition – The Terminal Server Edition of Windows NT is designed for thin clients.
Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition – The Enterprise Edition supports load balancing with up to 32 servers and 2-node clustering. It also supports up to 32 CPUs (through OEMs) and 4 GB RAM.
Windows NT Server provides many of the same services found in Windows 2000 Server; however, it lacks an extensible, hierarchical directory. Although the directory in Windows NT Server 4.0 provides organizations with a centralized directory for managing users and groups and single logon services, it is not as advanced as either Active Directory services or Sun Directory Services.
File and Print Sharing – File and print sharing support in Windows NT Server is robust, although not as advanced as the file and print features in Windows 2000 Server.
Networking and Communications – Basic protocol support is identical in Windows NT Server 4.0 and Windows 2000 Server. However, Windows NT Server 4.0 does not support Windows 2000 TCP/IP performance enhancements and requires a reboot for certain configuration changes. In remote access and VPN services, Windows NT Server 4.0 offers more features than Solaris 7 – including VPN services, additional protocol support, remote authentication dial-in user service (RADIUS) client support, additional password encryption options, and restartable file copy.
Application Services – Application support in Windows NT Server 4.0 is outstanding, providing numerous capabilities such as message queuing, clustering and load balancing, and a thin-client solution in the Terminal Server Edition. Native distributed component support is also superior – the combination of COM and Transaction Server offers many capabilities not found in Solaris 7. Furthermore, with the addition of Active Server Pages (ASP), the power of COM-based applications can be extended to the Web.
Internet Services – The Internet services in Windows NT Server 4.0 are comparable to Solaris 7, offering load balancing, content management, and protocol support including Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP).
Management Services – Management services in Windows NT Server provide easy to use graphical tools, MMC management for key services, and the Zero Administration Kit to control desktops. However, the directory-based software distribution and Group Policy capabilities found in Windows 2000 Server do not have equivalents in Windows NT Server 4.0.
Overview of Solaris 7
Sun Solaris 7 is the first version of Sun Solaris to fully support a 64-bit architecture. Previous versions of Sun Solaris, named with the 2.X convention, partially supported 64-bit technologies. The 64-bit architecture gives Sun Solaris extended precision, large file support and large virtual address space support. Solaris 7 supports the Intel 64-bit chip architecture but current 32-bit Intel chips don’t take advantage of 64-bit enhancements. Sun Solaris has two server software extensions:
Easy Access Server -- Easy Access Server is designed to provide an integrated bundle of services to users and administrators. Easy Access Server has extensions that make it possible to interoperate with Windows NT and to emulate Windows NT services. These services are authentication, file, and print. Domain services are referred to by Sun as directory services but do not emulate Active Directory or other directory services. Instead this feature allows Easy Access Server to emulate a Windows NT Primary Domain Controller (PDC). Solaris Easy Access Server also supports 64 CPUs and 64GB of maximum addressable memory.
Enterprise Server -- Enterprise Server provides load balancing and 4-node clustering capabilities. The products that implement these features are Sun Cluster for clustering, Solaris Resource Manager for load balancing, and Solaris Bandwidth Manager for IP traffic management. Enterprise Server also supports 64 CPUs and 64GB of maximum addressable memory.
The focus of this white paper is on Solaris 7 with Easy Access Server 3.0 and Solaris 7 with Enterprise Server version 1.0. Enterprise Server provides high availability, reliability, and scalability features. These products are best compared to Windows NT Server 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise edition.
A key difference between Windows 2000 and Solaris 7 with the server extensions is pricing. When compared to the nominal cost difference between Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, the cost difference between Solaris Easy Access Server and Solaris Enterprise Server is quite significant. Solaris Enterprise Server is also considerably more expensive than Windows 2000 versions that support load balancing and clustering, namely Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.
As the white paper will show, Solaris server products make only a cursory attempt at providing customers with an integrated administration solution. The limited solutions that are available require considerable Unix expertise. Most of the services are simply provided as add-ons and lack common management interfaces. The Solaris product documentation makes it quite clear that the server extension products are simply add-ons of applications that run on top of Sun Solaris.
File and Print Sharing – File and print services in Solaris 7 are extremely robust, with excellent native TCP/IP printing implementation. File sharing via the included TotalNET Server package for Windows, NetWare and Macintosh clients provides a strong framework for network file sharing. Solstice NFS clients are provided for integrating Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT. Solstice NFS is provided as a separate software package, which is installed on Windows-based systems.
Networking and Communications – Sun advertises that the Internet runs on Sun operating systems. Their excellent native TCP/IP support is the standard by which other implementations are judged. While support for Sun supplied hardware is excellent, users of the Intel version of Solaris 7 will find support for only a small subset of the available networking hardware. Routing and remote access services are available, but the native implementation of standard features, such as PPP, is very difficult to configure and lacks broad support for modem hardware. Solaris includes no telephony solutions but does offer a strong VPN solution through SunScreen SKIP.
Application Services – Solaris 7 provides services to develop Java applications. However it does not provide message queuing services, a CORBA Object Request Broker (ORB), or comprehensive distributed component functionality, such as integrated transactions. This lack of application services makes Solaris a relatively limited choice.
Internet Services – The Internet services in Solaris 7 provide organizations with full-featured HTTP and FTP services required to host Internet and intranet sites. It provides a strong development environment built around servlets and the JAVA IDL. However, it lacks true operating system integration. It also lacks support for many key features and standard protocols found in the Microsoft products. It does offer support for the Microsoft FrontPage® server extensions for SPARC.
Management Services – Although it boasts an impressive feature-set, Solaris 7 lacks any sort of comprehensive management tool. Each individual application has its own tool with little or no commonality of behavior or interface. Many of the tools require their own separate logon process even when launched from the same session. The Solaris Management Console 1.0 is little more than a container that allows the various disparate management tools to be launched from the same place. While previous versions of Solaris did not support single logon or enterprise-wide authentication, both Easy Access Server 3.0 and Enterprise Server 1.0, support these features.