Date: Thu Jul 02 1998 - 11:19:29 CDT

I have received the following replies. I thank all those people who
responded. The unanimous vote is for UNIX.
If I have omitted any names of those who responded I apologize.

M y original question was:
> Hi Admins:
> There is a debate here on going with UNIX Vs. NT for the
> datawarehouse. I feel that UNIX is the way to go because NT is not
> stable for large datawarehouse. I would like suggestions/comments on
> your experience and I appreciate that very much for my decision making
> process. Thanks
> Varad Rajan
> Sr. System Analyst
> L.A. Cellular Telephone Company
> 17785 Center Court Drive North
> Cerritos, CA 90703
> Ph: : (562) 468-6668
> Fax: (562) 924-8102
> e-mail:


From: Rahul Roy []

You want to build a Data Warehouse on NT ?? Give up and adopt Solaris
this effort before your career goes down in flames !!!! I have worked in
Data Warehousing company and have seen that Solaris was the way to go -
course - it depends on how much your budget is as well ....


Rahul Roy


The most common arguement is that NT stays up longer, etc. In my
this isn't true. What happens is that NT doesn't have a well known (if
way of checking uptime. So when a box reboots, no-one knows. Where as
my Sun-690 (old) running Solaris-4.1.3 (also rather old) has an uptime
7 months, uninteruppted, serving out a raided filesystem of 20 gigs for
/usr/local and a 200Gig /home.

  You also have to plan for boneheaded moves. In Exchange-5.0 (NT mail
all the user mailboxes are in 1 file. If any user needs a mail message
recovered, you have to restore the whole file. And most recently, we
that there is a 16Gig size limit for this file HARDCODED... Might not
like much but when you have thousands of users it adds up. If this type
stuff is in there, what other problems are we gonna find?


From: The Late" Ian Angles []

Hi Varan,

We've had problems here with NT choking on multiple disk reads - losing
perhaps 70-80% of performance as sson as 2 disks are involved in a
transfer. Personally, I don't think the performance, reliability or
scalability of NT is anywhere near the claims made by Microsoft

We also run our data warehouse on a 2 processor ultra with a Sparc
Storage Array and 1G RAM. We use Ingres and ICE. Works like a charm.


From; Chris Tubutis []

There's oodles of this kind of stuff out there on the 'net. My
personal experience with NT tells me it's not yet ready for Prime Time
because of the exact reasons you specified.



My policy on this network is that if it's mission critical, it goes on a
Unix box. We run Solaris for all our essential serevices (email,
webserver, etc), and use Linux router and firewall technology. So far
there has been no unscheduled downtime to date on either system.

Our NT boxes are reinstalled once every three to six months, and seldom
remain up longer than about 2 weeks at a time.

For your sanity and theirs, go Unix.


-----------------------------------------			"There's a moon
VWV Interactive				over Bourbon Street


Just look at, MS's attempt at a large scale, online database. It is totally unable to keep up with the load.


------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------- From: Dave []

NT sucks. Use _THAT_ at your next meeting.

1) File system size - What are the limits of NT vs. UNIX 2) Single file size - " " 3) Interface speed - " " 4) Disk IO speed - " " 5) Support - " " 6) Several dozen more reasons In every catigory, NT sucks. Solaris _MAY_ not be a answer either. DEC UNIX has a faster interface stack, faster processors and file systems and sizes are similar to Sol.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------------------------------------------------------From: Sean Ward []

Hi Varad. Check out . It's a Unix vs NT comparison written by an NT Certified Professional. It's very well written, and it shows all of Unix's advantages and NT's problems without being preachy. It also has some really good links to similar articles.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------- From; John Speno [] <URL:>

------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------


Varad -

UNIX systems can typically be MUCH larger than NT. (example - the largest intel NT has 8-12CPUs (as I recall), the new Pentium II Xeon is supposed to easily allow you to build 4 CPU systems - when they fix the bugs. However, SUN and SGI systems today are capable of being scaled MUCH larger. (a SUN 4000/4500 ->upto 14CPUs, SUN 6000/6500 -> upto 30 CPUs. SGI Origin 2000(s) 2 to 126 CPUS)

Also, unix uses each additional CPU more efficiently. (a 2 CPU NT box, the 2nd CPU may only represent a 20-40% increase in performance for MS SQL work!!!) On the SAME BOX using UNIX you will see much better performance than using NT.

Also, you can typically attach more periferal boards. (hence, more SCSI channels, more fibre channels, etc...) Which means more DISKs, able to balance the scsi channels bandwidth (by spreading the I/O over more channels), etc...

Stability -> I dont have hard figures, but NT is NOT as stable. (talk to people running internet mail services on an NT box vs a UNIX box) [unix might be harder to setup - but once it is configured and up and running - it normally will remain up and running.]

For a serious data warehousing operation I would NOT pick NT. (UNIX also is truely a mutliuser system - NT was originally designed as a workstation OS...and hence not quite as good for multiuser systems -> of course MS will narrow the gap in the future.)

Of course, you will have to figure out what Database you will be using. (Oracle, Informix, Sybase, etc...) [MS SQL server isnt as FAST or as GOOD.]

The downside (as far as your management will be concerned) is COST. (Oracle for NT is cheaper than Oracle for UNIX :(

You will need ask about DOWNTIME COSTS. Do they want as close to a 24x7 operation as possible? Mirrored systems? Failover systems? It starts to get into $$$. I think only UNIX systems offer the better 24x7 solutions.

DO they want a cheaper system (NT) or a better system (UNIX)? (of course, I'd love to see those wanting cheaper systems to go for a better-cheaper system (LINUX :-), but the applications you need for datawarehousing probably arent there :(

matti siltanen

------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----

From: The Ghost who Admins [] Varad,

I work in a Unix/NT operations environment and we have Data Warehouse environments running on 2 IBM SP multi-frames and one Sun environment. With the load that these machine take and the amount of downtime all of our other NT machine have, the clear winner is Unix. Don't let anyone tell you different. There is so much downtime associated with NT, and they are smaller scaled machines, so therefore you need more of them to achieve the same performance that any majot Unix can give you.

If you are going BIG, I'd recommend Sun's ES1000 Starfire server.

Mike Evans Unix/NT Operations American Express Technologies

------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------

Just my lastest bit against NT: HAve the equivalent of cron (at) run a batch to backup a disk, using Ntbackup. If the tape is not present, the program stays and is not possible to kill it.

Best regards, Rogerio Rocha BVL - Lisbon Stock Exchange Information Systems ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ----------------------------------------------- From: Steve Kay []

Datawarehouse = big database.

Microsoft SQL Server is *new* technology, ie unproven. Hell, look at their which went live using it last week - constantly unavailable, and it's run by Microsoft themselves.

Unix with something like Oracle has *got* to be the way to go - surely.


------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------- From: Dwight Peters []

very briefly, Your battle will be won or lost on political grounds, not technical. I think Unix vastly superior to nt. But I have lost similar battles. My real advice, assume that NT might win, and have a fall back position that will cover you in the worst case. Here is one, although most of my experience is Sun and I love em. In your situation I'd want to try to get HP systems with the MERCED chip. They should be able to run HPUX or NT. So when NT barfs big time you can load HPUX and save the day.

-- Dwight Petersen is a system administrator. Standard disclaimers.

"What if the songbird will not sing?" "Kill it," said Oda Nobunaga. "Make the bird want to sing", said Toyotomi Hideyoshi ------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------------

From: Lewis E. Wolfgang []

Hi Varad,

I'll send you a three part article on why UNIX is preferable to NT. It says it all.

Regards, Lew Wolfgang ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------------

Keeping it simple:

Q: Which system is running Hotmail, recently bought by Microsoft?

A: Solaris 2.6. It was originally FreeBSD; when Microsoft take over the company, they tried to move all users to NT, but the system could not "stand on his feet", so they go back to the Unix solution, but to a commercial one.

-- Paulo Francisco Sedrez TeCGraf/PUC-Rio Rua Marques de Sao Vicente 225, Anexo RDC 22453-900 Rio de Janeiro RJ, Brasil (021) 529-9424

------------------------------------------------------------------------ ---------------------------------------------------------


Varad Rajan,

I would like hightly to recommendate you the site In this site you will find all about Unix vs NT debate. Pls nate also the author is a Microsoft Certified Professial (WindowsNT).

Good luck. TQLoc

------------------------------------------------------------------------ -----------------------------------------------------------

Try this...

I've used it to convince more than one manager!

Glenn Pitcher Sr. Unix Administrator ComStream, San Diego, CA

Varad Rajan Sr. System Analyst L.A. Cellular Telephone Company 17785 Center Court Drive North Cerritos, CA 90703 Ph: : (562) 468-6668 Fax: (562) 924-8102 e-mail:

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