The main point regarding “what makes linux/SUSE better at being a server/networking o/s?” is this, and I am surprised nobody said it before:
It complies with current standards. The LDAP server is LDAPv3 certified (OpenLDAP). The major networking services ARE the industry standard products - BIND DNS, MIT or Hiemdahl Kerberos V5, Apache, Tomcat, Radius, you name it - the industry-standard standards-based, standards-compliant services run on SLES (and other GNU/Linux distros.)
I may be repeating some stuff from others’ posts, but I just have to say this, all in one shot. Standards is the key, and open-source is the way to get it done right.
Windows is maybe 90% standards-compliant. Its DNS is not standard DNS - it has proprietary extensions. Its LDAP is not LDAPv3 certified because it’s got proprietary extensions. Go down the list of network services, and you will find that Windows’ versions of those services always have some proprietary twist.
As a file-sharing server platform, you can use Samba (as has been mentioned) or NFS (for *nix file sharing) or AFP (for Mac file sharing) or FTP/SFTP, or SSH/RSH, or webDAV…
As an application server platform, you have Apache/Tomcat, or many other flavors of Java app servers like JBoss, plus other app platforms like Liferay, etc.
As a database server platform you have heavy-duty database servers like PostgreSQL, MySQL, Sybase SQL Anywhere, Oracle, there may even be a DB2 port, Progress, etc.
You have many industry-standard, powerful scripting languages available like Perl, PHP, Ruby, etc.
You can program in just about any language (except Visual Basic) on Linux, and its standard language is C. With the oft-reviled Mono project you can even program in C# on Linux. There are many IDE’s available on Linux as well - you don’t have to do it all from the command line or text editor.
For print sharing you have the industry-standard CUPS, which stands for Common Unix Printing System, which was contributed by Apple. It supports many printing protocols including LPD and IPP and has PPDs for most of the network-enabled printers available today, from HP, Brother, Lexmark, Epson, etc. Through Samba, you can even distribute Windows printer drivers for CUPS printers.