by January 5, 2004 0 comments

Migration from Windows to Linux is more talked about than migration from Linux to Windows. The most obvious reason for migrating from Windows to Linux is cost. Another is stability–sometimes a myth, sometimes reality. Other than these, Windows servers provide too comfortable an environment to give up. On the flip side, the reasons to migrate from Linux to Windows could be:

  • You are finding it difficult to find good Linux administrators, or the ones that you do find cost too much 
  • The management has turned finicky about Linux support
  • The number of Windows workstations on your network is increasing
  • You migrated from Windows to Linux, but now think that it is not worth all the learning and training efforts
  • You have started to believe that the latest Windows servers are as stable as Linux servers, and want to give them a try
  • You negotiated a lucrative licensing deal for Microsoft products 

If you have Linux or hybrid expertise, Windows Services for Unix is a recommended piece of software, which will ease your migration curve. With Windows Services for Unix installed, a Windows server can provide services such as NFS (for file sharing) and NIS (authentication service) for Linux clients. You can map Windows users to Linux users and hence provide unified login credentials across OSs. It provides a full-fledged Unix shell environment, language compilers and libraries. For an in-depth on Windows Services for Unix, see PCQuest, October 2002 (page 109) . On this month’s PCQuest Essential CD you can find the beta version (3.5 beta) of Windows Services for Unix. 

Described below are some Windows counterparts for Linux-based services.

Web services: Web services can be migrated to the de facto Web server on Windows–IIS (Internet Information Services). Besides, ASP and ASP .Net, non-Microsoft server-side scripting technologies/languages such as PHP, Perl and JSP/Servlet can work with IIS. For PHP, you can download the Windows version of PHP from Tomcat application server ( can work seamlessly with IIS to provide Java JSP/Servlet support. Obviously you will need JRE (Java Runtime Environment) for Windows, which is downloadable from java.sun. com. For Perl, you can use ActiveState Perl

Database services: MySQL and PostgreSQL databases can be migrated to MS SQL Server. The relations and data in the databases can be transferred to MS SQL Server using DTS (Data Transformation Service).

Mail services: Intranet or Internet mail services such as sendmail, Qmail, pop3d, imapd and Postfix running on Linux can be migrated to the MS Exchange server. 

Firewall and proxy: For firewalls (ipchains or iptables) and proxy (Squid) services, you can use MS ISA (Internet Security and Acceleration) Server.
User authentication services: Windows Services for Unix allows you to extract the Linux user account information (exported through NIS) and store it in Active Directory on a Windows

File services: If your Linux server provides NFS services, the easiest is to use Windows Services for Unix as it installs an NFS server on Windows. For FTP services, you can download and use one of the many FTP servers available for Windows, such as WS FTP Server, BulletProof FTP Server and Serv-U FTP Server. 

Cluster services: For latest information on using Windows clusters for load balancing, fault tolerance and high performance computing refer to Microsoft products such as IIS and SQL Server can make use of Windows clusters for load balancing and fault tolerance. MS Windows Services for Unix is also a cluster-aware package. 

Shekhar Govindarajan

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