Will Linux be a significant improvement over windows?

Discussion in 'Bukkit Discussion' started by Jtmzac, Feb 8, 2012.

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    I have been hosting a private server with about 10 people on my gaming rig for about a year now and I've decided to build a dedicated server because the cpu used by the server prevents me from getting max performance when gaming.
    My question is if I build a server with a 2500k and 8gb of 1600mhz 8-8-8-24 ram is the reduction of performance windows 7 will cause really going to matter?
    I'm asking because even though I like playing around with linux occasionally I still much prefer using windows.
    I should also point out that becuase this is a private server I move plugins around all the time and are always changing settings and doing this is just so much easier on windows for me.
    The chance of the server becoming a public server is very low as until the new fibre optic network is done in a couple of years my upload speed is limited to 1mbps. (and no I can't get a better internet plan 1mbps is actually the best speed we can get here in Sydney, Australia)
    If this was a public server which was a one time setup and only required updating and fine tuning I wouldn't have so much of a problem with linux.
    Any input would be appreciated as I need some other opinions to help weigh up the pros and cons.
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    Hi Jtmzac,

    Do you plan on your server getting several US based users? Who is your target audience right now?
    I would recommend not building a server, as your bandwidth is not all that great and there is likely a limit or cap on your internet that would take place after a certain amount of bandwidth used (say 25GB or 50GB).
    Your best bet would to go with either an Australian or US host. A US host will likely be cheap, and a server from France would be even cheaper, but as an experienced host with Australian customers, your ping will be anywhere from 300-500ms, not the greatest. In the US, it'll be anywhere from 100-300ms, depending on the location in the US and the network / bandwidth providers to those hosts.
    I would recommend checking around Minecraft forums for a US or Australian host.
    Oh, and for the question in the topic; Linux is a LOT better than Windows for hosting...from my perspective. Windows has way too much extra software that the user doesn't need and a server wouldn't need either. A linux distribution of CentOS 6.2 or Fedora comes fairly barebones / with the "bare bones" of the OS, completely factoring out the "bloatware."

    As far as a local setup goes....
    Fast for you
    Privately managed equipment
    No oversold service by "top notch" providers

    Inexperience with linux operating system and optimization
    Horrid upload / download rates for data transfer between you and the end-user
    Connectivity / performance around the world is bad
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    Like I said in my first post this is a private server which is only for some friends.
    I have no desire to go public as like you said my upload bandwidth is insufficient.
    My bandwidth limit per month is 250GB by the way not 25-50GB.

    I dont quite see how having a hosted server would help with the linux vs windows. I will always be managing the server and having it hosted would simply required I change things remotely using linux anyways.

    As for linux vs windows I was trying to ask in my situation with 10 people and an overpowered server in the end would linux really be that much better than windows?

    If I was going for a 100 person server and trying to squeeze every last bit of performance out of a server I understand linux would be better I just dont think with 10 people it would even be noticable.
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    Its up to you.

    As gnftoxic said, linux will give you more control about everything related to server administration.
    If you are completly unexperienced with linux you will need about 40 hours to get the basics and write your own little scripts in bash/dash or perl.

    Iam prefering Debian without graphical user interface.
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    There's no point wasting money on Windows Server or even just a desktop Windows when Ubuntu will serve you perfectly.

    Also, if you're hosting locally then don't bother worrying about getting too high specs, we host on a Xeon with 12gb RAM and 30 players doesn't even touch the sides, your Internet connection will be the bottleneck, don't waste your money unnecessarily.
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    The reason I'm looking at better hardware is that I know that when you run a lot of plugins there can be a huge increase in cpu usage. The server currently runs on a i7 960 OC'ed to 4.0Ghz and I can currently max out a single core with a few bigger plugins.
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    Nathan C

    What on earth, don't upgrade at all, that is a waste of money..

    The money that you want to use to upgrade your HOME server would pay for a year or more of a 2500k at a real datacenter. Paying to upgrade just for this server, is an absolute waste of money on your home connection speed. I mean 1 mbps, what are we in 2005?
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    Users with some linux experience can set up a server where the OS uses less than 100 megs of ram. My ubuntu machine, with a webserver, mysqldatabase, and jabber uses only 300 megs of ram.

    That being said I echo Nathan C, what you plan on spending is overkill and a waste of your money. This was pre 1.8beta but I could host 10 people just fine on my 1.5 GB Ram Athlon 64 (also running linux/ubuntu).

    Linux also has some memory improvements over windows. It will use up all ram before switching to swap. It will also use unused ram as a disk cache further improving performance.
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    Im not upgrading anything Ive been talking about building a brand new server to get the minecraft sever off my gaming rig.
    About 2 weeks ago my audio driver started acting funny and after a while the windows audio service just stopped working and now Im getting BSODs twice a day. I know that my windows install is corrupted and since I don't want to reinstall windows again for the 4th time in 6 months I want to move the minecraft server to something more stable as the BSODs are corrupting the worlds.
    Im not happy about 1mbps upload speed either but thats just australia and theres nothing I can do.
    when we eventually get the fibre optic network put in the top internet plans will be 100/30 but thats still a few years away.
    No-ones answersd my specific question yet everyones just said linux is better than windows. I know that but I dont want to use linux unless theres a good reason. I have dual booted kubuntu for a while now and its so user unfriendly and annoying to use that I am biased against linux now.
    Ill reiterate my question as specifically as i can:
    If the server has a 2500k, 8gb of ram, a 7200rpm HDD and ignoring bandwith limit assuming 10 players on the sever. will someone playing on the server actually be able to see any actual performance increases if the server is on linux instead of windows?
    And I should point out that my 1mbps upload is sufficient for 10 people as the server is spoutcraft mandatory and one of the players is me anyway.
  10. Regular DSL upload speed. Secondly if you max out 1 core all the time with 10 people something is wrong. As in a plugin doing stuff it shouldn't do.
    A 4GHz i7 should be able to handle 10 people without even breaking a sweat heck you shouldn't even have to OC it in the first place.
    If you want a dedicated machine so much then get some 2nd hand stuff like AMD X2, X3 or X4 for cheap and use that. To get an MC machine running you shouldn't have to be able to spend more than 200 bucks. If you want to go brand new then probably AMD's Fusion platform. In turn you get a great HTPC platform too.
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    I know the ram is overkill but its cheap so I just went with a good 2x4gb set.
    I have never worked with AMD cpus and am happy to keep it that way. It was hard enough going from nvidia to ati as at the time I needed 3 monitors on one card. Turns out I got a second 6970 after my first one and went crossfire anyway. Wish I had of got 2 570's from the start, then I would still be able to use my nvidia 3d kit and monitor.

    the cpu is only maxed out when large amount of block changes occur simultaneously e.g. a plugin that turns a lot of blocks into glowstone at night. My concern was a slower cpu would increase the lag during this time. This might be a HDD issue but as my cpu is maxed out during a transition I thought it was the cpu.
    If plugins like this one would work much better if the block changes were staggerd but Im most definitly not a plugin writer and I dont even know if its possible.

    Completely non bukkit but since you guys seem very knowledgable in IT any idea if it would be possible to run samba of the same server box as the minecraft server?
    It would save me a bit of money as a 2x HDDs and a NAS box is $600 and the planned server is $1200
    Ive only ever built desktops and this whole server thing is new to me.

    Our networks here are all still copper and whats called "cable" which is 30/1mbps is the best speed you can get for any residence or small business. Ive looked and there is actually no way to get faster internet short of starting a large company based right in the city. I dont live in the middle of nowhere either. I live in the biggest city in australia. Me and all my friends look at the US with envy wishing we had access to those kind of speeds.
    I have mentioned before the server is currently on my gaming rig and the 4ghz OC is to help reduce the bottleneck from my crossfire 6970s.

    EDIT by Moderator: merged posts, please use the edit button instead of double posting.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2016
  12. seriously $1200 bucks for a server... wth are you planning to buy for an MC server/NAS. You do know most NAS boxes only use an Atom tops as a cpu.
    You should be able to built both in one system for the $600 mark. I come at $500 aussie dollars to come up with a system which even has an SSD in it the only thing it lacks are data drives because those are still ridiculously expensive not to mention there... I mean 260 dollar for a 2 TB drive that's more like plain old robbery.
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    you asked so here's the list:
    $130 asus z68 mATX mobo
    $230 i5 2500k
    $85 corsair 2x4gb 1600mhz 8-8-8-24
    $80 500 watt corsair psu
    $100 1tb 7200rpm HDD
    $20 optical drive
    $40 2x fans
    $140 antec case
    $250 windows home premium
    $65 wireless mice & keyboard

    the nas is:
    $385 qnap 2 hdd enclosure
    $200 for 2x 1tb 7200rpm hdds
    I would like to do 1+0 raid nas but its just too expensive. 4 hdds plus an enclosure is $1000.
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    I have a "gaming rig" and I can host my server while playing games just fine.

    Since you are hosting a private server, my guess is that you are friends with your players. This means they likely won't ragequit over small amounts of lag. From my own experience, you don't need to overclock your CPU for a small server, but you will want to run Linux and upgrade your internet connection. I had an old 2.6 Ghz AMD duo core running on Ubuntu quite nicely.

    CPU and net aside, HDD is your next bottleneck, which can be fixed simply by using a Ramdisk (very very very easy to do with Ubuntu).

    If you want to stick with Windows, you'll need an expensive SSD, which isn't a wise decision unless you either have money laying around or have specific computer needs.
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    I know I can host my server on my computer at the same time I just feels its better to move it onto something else as I may not always be on the same os plus my current install of windows is corrupt and even if I did a clean reinstall (i really dont want to) to fix it my computer will probably always be somewhat unstable due to OCs and the way I use it.(I regedit to override stuff quite a bit)
    Ramdisks on windows are just as easy Ive looked into them as I have 24gb of ram in my gaming rig.
    and although I have a ssd (an older 300MBs one not a newer 500MBs) the server currently runs off a raid 5 array of 3x 2tb 5400rpm hdds.
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    Linux uses much less resources. My BuyVM VPS is using under 48MB of RAM for the OS, and you can go lower.

    Don't waste money hosting it at home, rent or colo it.
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    Isnt it going to be harder to manage the server when its hosted though?
    I thought nearly all of the hosted servers ran linux and
    in case you havent realised Im trying to avoid linux unless theres a really, really good reason.
    Like Ive said before this is a private server and I change a lot all the time and im concerned that its going to make things a lot harder for me
    I always have the plugins folder open on one of my screes and notepad++ always has a config or two open.
    Also as Im running spout I need to restart the server a lot as /reload can cause problems.
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    I think its simple if you want to manage a small server and want it to be easy then use Windows on your build. I'd say you need a little knowledge of Linux to use it. I mean you just run Ubuntu desktop then its almost like Windows. Most servers that are hosted (I'm talking non-dedicated) usually run a flavor of linux with terminal access. So you'll be using a prompt all the time usually.
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    this is what concerns me.
    my experience with my dual booted kubuntu has left me very anti-linux.
    I assume that if you have a hosted server I can keep a complete copy of the server on my computer and make changes and upload them when neccesary?
    I assume that this would work since all the server files are jars or text files.
    The other thing is if I have a hosted server i cant have the server console on one of my screens like I currently can.
    Being able to see the server console is very usefull as I can see when someone tries to do a denied command or is trying to talk to me when I cant see my client plus most important of all I can see errors easily
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    Nathan C

    Nope, it's the same thing, just in a datacenter. You have SSH access, SFTP or w/e you choose. Heck, you could even use the desktop interface to manage it. Also if you get KVM access, then it like you are physically at the box.
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    I was going to suggest that as well. If you still want Linux..you could get a box with a desktop version of Linux and go from there.

    Again though I still think Windows has simple down. Maybe its just me I'm used to Windows. I understand Windows and the command prompt better than Linux and its terminal.

    If you want a server that uses little resources then Linux is the way to go. If you are still building one I'd use Windows. Switch to Linux is Windows doesn't cut it.
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    You fully missed my point. The point is you do not need to drop that money on that kind of hardware because your upstream bandwidth will be your biggest limiting factor as 4 year old technology is enough to keep up with that tight of a network bottleneck. Intel, amd, doesn't matter. Getting a machine second hand at a garage sale will probably offer enough performance for your server size and save you 90% of your money.
    cobsad likes this.
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    Home hosting? Not a good idea. If you really want to own your own hardware, then colocate it.
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    I did understand your point. I just dont like used stuff and or bad computers.
    With the hardware I was looking at I could always use it as a htpc as well at a later time.
    It also depends wether or not I can run samba server on a normal windows install.

    I don't want linux I just want to know if its really worth using it on a small server.

    EDIT by Moderator: merged posts, please use the edit button instead of double posting.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2016
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    Here's why we are saying "don't host at home!". Your internet speed is too slow — it's not worth it to buy hardware with that slow of a line (1mbps upload? I live in the middle of nowhere and I could technically get 5mbps up if I was willing to shell out $100/month... I guess Australia has it pretty bad).

    Colocation is a good choice — buy the hardware, send it to the datacenter, pay $xx-$xxx per month for power, rack space, IPs and a network connection.

    Renting is also a good choice — pay $xx-$xxx per month and get good-to-great hardware, no worries about hardware failures, very cheap also.

    Tl;Dr: Stop ignoring what we say...
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    I don't mean to sound like I'm ignoring everything you say. I'm just hesitant to stray from what I know and I'm used to.
    I have looked at renting as its the only other option but I'm still concerned its going to be harder to do stuff than hosting a local server.
    It's probably what I'll end up doing now but I still dont like the idea of having to use sftp or ssh to manage the server.
    I don't want to use a remote desktop type connection as then I lose control of my os during use.
    No-ones said what happens to the server console either? Do I really have to read the server log just to see whats happened?
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    Well here is what I would say you have a two options.

    1. You buy the hardware, run windows 7 (if you want), run Minecraft, and host at home (easy...maybe not the best option)
    - I say do this because its easy and with the rig you are build it should work. If you have been running a server fine with that connection and players are local you are fine.

    2. Pay for some type of hosting. I'm assuming you aren't made of money. There are plenty of hosts out there that could provide good services.
    -Dedicated for private server is out.
    -VPS could be an options have full control over the OS. In a VPS using OpenVz/Xen with Linux server the terminal is all you need and all you will get. In Linux (like windows) everything can be done from that prompt.

    To answer a few of your questions:

    The way to troubleshoot errors is to look at the server log. Monitoring console isn't necessary 24/7. Like I said earlier you can start the server and have no console.

    Linux is good for Minecraft because the game can be a resource hog. Many admins here will swear up and down Linux is the best option. In reality you do not need Linux to run a server with only 10-12 players.

    Another note if you run something with 15 to 30 players and 50 plus plugins that is a completely different story. I'd say for a month try a VPS. BattleKid and others can help find the best place for a virtual server or other services.
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    okay thanks for the advice.
    I know monitoring the server console all the time isnt neccesary but its useful to see errors immediately and during startup since I change stuff around so much.
    Also my friends that play on the server aren't the most mature of people sometimes and although I can almost griefer proof the server there's no such thing as a 100% griefer proof server with severely limiting what people can use.
    Because of this the server console acts as a heads up for me when someone might be trying to do something stupid.
    Wether I build a server or get hosting will depend on if I can use the server for other purposes as well.
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