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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    Linux distro guidelines

    Question:
    Is there any criteria that should be used to determine which Linux distro to choose? Have no problem with support fee distros (unless # of cores based), but what is gained other than patches?

    My prior Linux experience is just Ubuntu 10.4 desktop, for testing purposes. Have used Unix (Sun OS, Solaris, AIX) since early 90's.

    My setup is below, in case it might inform your response.
    - - - - - - - - - - -
    Setup:
    A 4-6128, Super Micro (1042G-TF) on it's way (8 GB ram, 120 GB SSD, & 500 GB HD for backups). The software running will be exclusively Jetty 7, a Java based, web server / servlet container. Thinking about going to 16 core cpus down the road.

    One of the servlets, the license servlet, will interface with an embedded (in process) HSQLDB db, residing on the SSD. The product servlet will process requests that are completely RAM based. One type of request may employ a thread pool, whose size is tune-able, but initially going to be 28. This means this type of request cannot use 4 of the cores. There is also a queue so that only one request of this type, for which there no reply already cached, can run at a time ( async)

    It will be co-located in a New York State data center for sales tax reasons (pre-built software client).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    219
    Typically our company and others usually look at the level of support from a vendor, IE Redhat. They look for things such as how quickly major security vulnerabilities and exploits are patched and how easily it can be upgraded to the next major version of their OS. Besides those you should look into whether the OS can support the application you're planning on running on it and the longevity of the support for the support of that application on that OS.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    490
    Going with the support contract gives you access to the companies support (the quality can usually vary depending on level of service contract you buy) as well as just having access to their update servers. You should go with some distribution with a long release/maintenance cycle and a large user base.

    Redhat (RHEL), Suse (SLES) and Ubuntu (LTS) come to mind.

    Which one is best is partly a matter of opinion, but RHEL has a pretty good track record of not breaking things (the versions of software included in a major release are locked and any security fixes are backported to that version until it is EOL).

    If no official support contract is okay, CentOS is a good option (basically a free de-branded copy of RHEL), as it is usually pretty good about pushing out changes soon after RHEL, and it provides an easier upgrade path if you later decide you want to change over to a commercial distribution.

    I ran a variety of distributions at home (everything from slackware to ubuntu), but use CentOS for work-related servers and its been a reliable distribution.

    Side note based on the description of hardware... if you're not running RAID, it really should be considered a necessity for any production server.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    New York, NY
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    4,612
    For commercial distributions, RHEL and SLES are common. For free distributions, I would either use Debian or Scientific Linux. Scientific Linux is RHEL-based, and I think you'll find a lot of people switching to it from CentOS.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    Thanks for the input. Saw one mentioned, which I had not heard before. Did not hear anything compelling to change from my initial thought of Ubuntu Server (LTS), even though it is most known for desktops. A patch is a patch regardless of platform. All I am running is Java. It is going to run on all for a long time.

    As for RAID, I welcome the consult. Was so fanatically concentrated on throughput, trust me it took 2+ years to get my solve heuristic down to 2 sec on a quad-core, that redundancy sort of took a back seat.

    Have 3 bays. Do you recommend getting another 120 GB SSD & going with RAID 1?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    490
    Quote Originally Posted by AI_Guy View Post
    Thanks for the input. Saw one mentioned, which I had not heard before. Did not hear anything compelling to change from my initial thought of Ubuntu Server (LTS), even though it is most known for desktops.
    I had heard that Ubuntu used to put relatively new/experimental software in their LTS releases, but this might have just been the desktop software within the LTS release and is probably not the case any more. For a base install, you probably will not have any issues, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by AI_Guy View Post
    Have 3 bays. Do you recommend getting another 120 GB SSD & going with RAID 1?
    That should work.

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