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What is a Linux server?

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A Linux server is a server running a variant of the Linux open source operating system (OS). It is designed to handle the most demanding business applications, such as web services and databases. 

Linux servers provide a strong foundation for complex, enterprise-level data centers and workload environments, ranging from bare metal to virtual machines, and containers, including private or public clouds. They can also guide your digital transformation journey and cloud app development, with the capability to increase productivity, deliver services faster, and incorporate software innovations like cloud, containers, and configuration automation.

At its core, a Linux server consists of Linux, a family of free, open source software operating systems built around the Linux kernel. The Linux OS was created as an alternative, free, open source version of the MINIX OS, which was itself based on the principles and design of Unix. Linux servers have gained popularity due to their stability, security, and flexibility. These are also among the key features that differentiate Linux servers from their proprietary counterparts.

The fully open-source nature of Linux helps keep setup and maintenance costs low, and it provides increased flexibility when it comes to setting up, operating, and maintaining a server. Users also get the benefit of the open source community and resources. As a result, many enterprises have adopted Linux servers to tap into this functionality. 

A Linux server OS provides the central interface for user management and implements various security and administrative services–all key to operating in a client-server architecture.

Linux servers have the largest install base of all general-purpose operating systems. Linux is also the leading OS on servers, and very popular on mainframe computers, and it is the only OS used on TOP500 supercomputers. 

Enterprises with applications serving thousands of users should consider adopting Linux servers. As IT infrastructure scales for the future, a Linux server provides platform manageability and flexible integration to help ensure a seamless transition, all while remaining compatible with legacy management and automation infrastructure. 

Ever-changing scope, security, and management requirements also make avoiding downtime more important than ever. Linux servers have virtually no downtime. This gives software developers a degree of control when creating software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools or live applications, including the ability to handle multiple applications on a single server. 

For IT staff, they don’t have to rely as heavily on hands-on management, and they can control and optimize permissions for enhanced security. Linux servers primarily run on the command-line, which makes them lighter and able to run on both physical and cloud servers. They can also help maximize overall system performance and simplify the management of repositories (i.e. Docker, MySQL, etc.), storage, containers, and more.

To deploy in physical, virtual, and cloud environments, you need a comprehensive and scalable operating system. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server orchestrates hardware resources and runs on physical systems, in the cloud, or as a hypervisor guest. It serves as a foundation in IT infrastructure supporting all major hardware platforms (x86, ARM, IBM Power and Z), as well as many of the leading workloads and applications like Oracle Database, SAP HANA, and Microsoft SQL Server.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server provides the standardization needed to build the infrastructure of your choice and expand as you see fit. It standardizes development and deployment with repeatable, flexible, scalable, and automated images, patch management, and backup processes. It also has built-in manageability and integration with broader Red Hat management and automation solutions that can help you optimize IT staff workloads, increasing efficiency and reducing unplanned downtime.

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server subscription model lets you choose the basis on which you purchase, stack subscriptions to streamline purchasing, and move subscriptions from physical to virtual to cloud and back to adapt to changing requirements.

With thousands of certified hardware, software, and cloud partners, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server offers a consistent foundation across hybrid environments, supporting virtually any workload and providing the tools needed to deliver services and workloads faster with less effort.

Keep reading


What is Linux?

Linux is an open source operating system that is made up of the kernel, the base component of the OS, and the tools, apps, and services bundled along with it.


What is SELinux?

Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a security architecture for Linux® systems that allows administrators to have more control over who can access the system.


What is the Linux kernel?

The Linux kernel is the main component of a Linux operating system (OS) and is the core interface between a computer’s hardware and its processes.

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A stable, proven foundation that’s versatile enough for rolling out new applications, virtualizing environments, and creating a more secure hybrid cloud.