Does JIRA and Confluence perform better on a Linux platform then Windows?

Our current environment has JIRA (6.2.2) and Confluence (5.4.2) running on the same Windows Server (2008 R2 - also used by other web applications) and SQL Server 2008 R2 database (also used by other web applications). We're trying to determine if moving JIRA (upgraded) and Confluence (upgraded) to their own Linux VM environment and to a SQL Server 2012 (shared) database server will improve the performance and stability.  There are approximately 65 users in JIRA today with plans on doubling the users in the next 3-4 months.  JIRA Statistics: Issues: 9800 Projects: 18 Custom Fields: 74 Attachments: 5400 Comments: 20429  Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

3 answers

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That is not an easy question to answer.

Even given like-for-like hardware, there might not be a measurable difference, especially for a system of your size, which should let you double in size without any problem given moderately recent hardware.  What also matters is how you define "performance".  You could be thinking of direct raw resource usage on the server, or anything from that to the end of the chain with page rendering times for the users.   

Having warned you that you may well not see any benefits, the actual answer is generally "Yes, Linux is better than Windows".  I've personally measured a 15% decrease in memory and cpu usage on like-for-like hardware, with users telling me it felt more smooth (didn't measure the page times, happy users was enough for me), and Dan's talk from the 2013 Summit says it can be 25% faster.

Before you jump though, there are other questions:

  1. Do you know why you are having performance problems?  Tracking down the root cause may be more useful than jumping OS - if the problems are not OS related, a move won't help you
  2. Are your server teams fully Linux skilled, or at least moving that way?  I'd not recommend moving to an OS you have not got the skills for.

On the subject of getting started on chasing the root cause,  performance tuning (which ever way you go) and moving to Linux, have a look through the talk I mentioned earlier - http://www.adaptavist.com/w/atlassian-performance-tuning/  (I dodged that particular delivery of it, I'd sat through it six times while he was practicing, and it clashed with Matt Doar's JIRA talk) 

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It's tough to get an apples-to-apples comparison, but I suspect you wouldn't see much difference in the performance at the scale you mention. I recommend that customers use the OS that they have the most experience with in the team that will support their Atlassian tools.

But personally, I reckon Windows adds a minimum of a 10% time overhead on any tool administration work.

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Thank you for the responses.

Additionally, in the past few months users were indicating at times a delay in displaying an issue or logging time or opening a Scrum board and as an administrator the system information screen was slow in responding.  After doing some analysis we determined the memory used by JIRA was slowing increasing as time went by since JIRA was last started. What we decided to do is schedule a weekly restart of JIRA and it seems to have improved the response time (haven't heard any complaints).  Now because of the possibility of doubling the number of users and most will be remote we're asking the question rather Linux is a better platform.

Sounds like something is leaking memory - that's likely to happen on any OS. Also very hard to trace sometimes, unless there's an obvious culprit. Do you have any addons installed?

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