I often get asked by friends for advice on which operating system I recommend for a server. It's a hard question, particularly because they specifically ask which is for you the best operating system, and there's no right answer to that. I'm not the person who is going to deal with that system and it's not about what works best for me, but for you!
For example, what works best for Memset's customers? After posing that question to our database, these are the results I got:
This information is only for our Miniservers, which are actually what constitute our public cloud. The data includes a lot of small values because, for example, we have Miniservers running all existing versions of Ubuntu and Debian, so I've collected together all the categories below about 3% into an "other" category.
Besides that, I've differentiated between CentOS alone and CentOS running cPanel because once you install cPanel it makes significant changes to the operating system, to the extent that we kind of consider it to be a different OS. I've also differentiated between 32 and 64 bit versions of the operating systems.
The first thing we notice is that cPanel is very popular in our cloud, which is not a surprise as it provides the power of a Linux system with a simplified administration. What is a surprise is that Windows 2003 is still quite popular, even though it is almost 10 years old and Windows 2012 is about to be included in our operating system offer in a few weeks.
Another interesting point is that although we support both Linux and Windows at the same level, our customers seem to prefer Linux based operating systems (72.25%) over Windows based operating systems (27.75%).
Finally, as I already mentioned, our cloud is quite heterogeneous with different versions of what we consider to be the most relevant operating systems to use in servers, Linux and Windows.
Does this post answer the question? Well, at least we have some more data to bring us closer to the answer.