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Selection of Windows NT

AIX, Solaris, Linux and NT were considered as web server platforms. Solaris was eliminated for lack of familiarity and AIX for cost. NT was selected for two key reasons: it looked like the only OS that ATLA might ever standardize all its computers on but even more for its tight integration between the web server and OS security. It was only a matter of time before ATLA's leaders started to insist on web benefits tied to ATLA's member types, dues structure and other information contained in the member database. ATLA's web site was destined to look more like an Intranet than a traditional Internet web site and NT was already developing a lead in this area.

Though NT was certainly a reasonable choice and quite capable of serving ATLA's web needs, George Shaffer, with the benefit of hindsight, wishes he had selected Linux and been able to persuade his boss of its advantages. NT performed as expected with regard to static HTML pages but IIS 3 did not apply OS security to CGI scripts in a consistent manner and so it was necessary to build application level security. Ultimately, this would have been necessary anyhow because over time the same scripts were used to access resources which required granular security controls. Once it became necessary to develop application level security, it would have been more efficient to do this once using Apache's modules rather than twice via the OS and separate application security. Linux and Apache would likely have provided a more stable platform at a significantly lower cost.

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