I have leased 3 servers within the last 4 months, each server from a different company. Each of the servers had Redhat 7.3 installed and each company installed the buggy 2.4.18-3 kernel. After experiencing kernel panics on the machines, 2 of the companies changed the kernel at no cost (I notified them within a week of receiving the server that the kernel was buggy). The third company wants me to pay to have the kernel upgraded.
My question -- when you order a server do you expect that all of the Redhat fixes to date will be installed on the server? If you order a server on October 1st is it unreasonable to expect that any Redhat bugfix released through at least August 30th will be installed on the server?
Redhat released a fix for the 2.4.18-3 kernel in May -- why would any company still be installing it instead of the 2.4.18-4 kernel as late as October?
Or on the other hand, should I from now on, along with specifying the Redhat version and how to partition the drives, also specify which kernel to install?
Money is not an issue here, the fee to upgrade the kernel is negligible. It's just that when I buy something brand new I expect it to work and if I have to take it back to the store I shouldn't be charged a fee for returning faulty merchandise.
You can do usually ask to have a specific kernel version used and most companies will shrug and do it. Just feed them a line about a program needing it and they'll do it. Just don't be supprised if you are asked to pay the setup charge that was just waved to get your business.
Most companies can do partitions, kernels and even so on if you state it in your order form. At this point they usually do it without question. (Most charge setup afterall)
As to whether they will charge for it subsequently, it depends. If you are paying for a managed or semi-managed server, they will do it for free. If it is unmanaged, it is up to the companies' benevolence on whether they are willing to do it for free. Some will do it free of charge for you. Others I know won't. In general, the kernels takes sometime to stabilised and be bug-fixed. Therefore that would probably be the reason why they didn't use the latest kernel (eg. 2.5.x). Of course they could simply not be bothered for their customers. But I can't tell which it is =)
Personally, I wouldn't recommend any X.0 version, if you want to preclude possible major bugs. Wait until at least until X.1 comes out.
UCG's problem has been a systematic PR/communication issue, bordering on ethical problems. They are also very new and have been untested. RS has been around a while and, while not perfect, has proven it's worth.
As I mentioned, the latest version is not necessarily the best. Usually it takes some time for it to stabilise (and for bug fixes and such)
Rackshack obviously have better credibility as they had been around a lot longer and has a track record of good service. Unitedcolo being new will need some time to establish that track record. However indications are that it is not fulfilling that. I am not going to go into that again as there are many threads on that. But we are digressing....
Walter: If they had the initial disks from Redhat for v7.3, that's the kernel included. To install a new kernel, they would have to recompile it themselves and set it up. That's probably what's causing the lethagy. If you ask me whether they are negligent, the answer is probably yes, but maybe not as well. But they aren't exactly wrong as they did state they will install v7.3 and they did. If it is unmanaged, I would figure they expect you to take it from there (upgrading the kernel and so on as you wish)