A server operating system, also called a server OS, is an operating system specifically designed to run on servers, which are specialized computers that operate within a client/server architecture to serve the requests of client computers on the network.
Using server hardware sales data, IDC reports that 28% of servers run Linux compared to 50% of servers running Windows. Other popular server operating systems include Unix and z/OS.
The server operating system, or server OS, is the software layer on top of which other software programs, or applications, can run on the server hardware. Server operating systems help enable and facilitate typical server roles such as Web server, mail server, file server, database server, application server and print server.
Most Popular Server Operating Systems
Popular server operating systems include Windows Server, Mac OS X Server, and variants of Linux such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
According to SpiceWorks, this list is the most deployed on-premises server operating systems (August 2016):
- Windows Server 2003
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2012
- Linux (excluding RHEL)
- Windows Server 2000
- Red Hat Enterprise Linus (RHEL)