We are at the preliminary stages of designing a data mart/data warehouse for a large government organization. They currently have a UNIX Server to house their Oracle Financials database, as well as a NT server to support their operational data store. As the data warehouse is anticipated to grow to 1 TB during the next year, we are attempting to determine the best hardware architecture/solution for a new database server. The burning question is, UNIX or NT? Several believe UNIX is the only true enterprise server out there, but I'd like to hear whether you think NT is a viable choice or not.


Douglas Hackney's Answer: Until NT5/W2k proves itself in the market, we're not recommending it for large-scale projects. Your timing may preclude it, but in doing so you run the risk of facing the wrath of angry taxpayers when they discover you could have done it for much less later on. Assuming that NT5/W2k proves itself, you will be politically vulnerable. You might consider having your NT vendors provide some performance guarantees that could provide you with some downside protection. It's been performing well for us so far, but we aren't up to 1T at a production site with it yet. We can guarantee that UNIX will do what you want. It's going to come down to risk management.

Sid Adelman's Answer: If you think the data warehouse will be 1 TB, you better have an architecture that allows you to scale to at least 3 TBs - they grow like weeds. Before you make any commitment to NT, find an installation that has your expected size and find out how they are doing and what performance problems they have.

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