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 Monday, 11 June 2018
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Windows Server is a wonderful server operating system. However, I think it is closing in on END OF LINE (with a nod toward Tron fans).

Why do I say this? Here's my train of thought.

  1. .NET Core runs on either Windows or Linux interchangeably
  2. Linux servers are cheaper to run than Windows Servers (especially in public clouds)
  3. Docker is the future of deployment
    1. Linux containers are more mature and generally better than Windows containers
    2. Linux containers are cheaper to run
    3. Azure runs Linux and Windows Server, and Microsoft seems to care more about you using Azure than which OS you use on Azure
  4. If you are writing new server code, why wouldn't you write it in .NET Core?
  5. If you are writing .NET Core code, why wouldn't you run in (cheaper) Linux containers on (cheaper) Linux hosts?

Now I get it. You say that you have tons of full .NET 1.x, 2.x, 3.x, or 4.x code. That stuff can only run on Windows, not Linux. So obviously Windows Server isn't EOL.

I agree. It isn't yet. But neither is the green-screen AS/400 software my auto mechanic uses to file tickets when I bring my car in to get the oil changed. Has that software been updated in the past 20 years? Probably not. Does it still work? Yes, clearly. Is it the vibrant present or future of software? Hahahahahahahaa NO!

When I say Windows Server is headed toward EOL I mean it is headed toward the same place as the AS/400, the VAX, and more platforms. It'll continue to run legacy software for decades until it eventually becomes cost effective to rewrite the software running on those servers into the then-current technologies.

But if I were starting a new project today, you'd have to come up with some terribly compelling reasons why I wouldn't

  1. Write it in .NET Core (really in netstandard)
  2. Deploy it via Linux Docker containers
  3. Use a Linux Docker host

That's not to say there might not be some compelling, if short term, arguments. Such as

  1. Your IT staff only knows Windows (a career limiting move (CLM) for them!!)
  2. Your IT infrastructure is centered around Windows deployment (Docker and Kubernetes will eat you for dinner, sorry)
  3. Your IT infrastructure is centered around Windows management (valid for a while, but also a CLM)
  4. You value that Windows Server can run both Linux and Windows Docker containers (valid argument imo, for the host)

To reiterate, as a .NET developer I feel comfortable saying that the future of server-side code is .NET Standard, .NET Core, and the ability to run my code on Linux or Windows equally. And I feel comfortable saying that Docker is the best server-side deployment scenario I've yet seen in my 30+ year career.

So I guess at the end of the day, the future of Windows Server rests entirely in the hands of IT Pros, who'll be using some host OS to run my Linux Docker containers with my .NET Core apps.

Either Windows Server or Linux will offer a better overall value proposition. Which is to say that one of them will be cheaper to run on a per-hour basis in a cloud. Today that's Linux. Barring change, Windows Server is headed toward END OF LINE.

Monday, 11 June 2018 21:05:44 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
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