April 17, 2009

Desktop or Server, SUSE or Red Hat?

I've been asked to set up a Linux build in our 2003 server network to run and test open-source applications that will rival and outperform other applications for their cost. This Linux box must serve a small handful of users in Los Angeles and Europe and my network is in Phoenix Arizona.

Will a desktop Linux Deployment work or should I purchase a subscription-based server deployment ie. Red Hat or SUSE?

There have already been several well thought out and lengthy answers to this...

There have already been several well thought out and lengthy answers to this question in this thread but I thought I would throw out my opinion.

RHEL

For several reasons, most of which have already been covered here.

Something I recommend to people still in the buying stages is to start by building on CentOS. It won't cost you a dime, and when your ready to come out of the test stages you'll have admins with the skills you need to jump straight to RHEL with a paid support subscription, or just stick with Cent if that's your prerogative.

mm~

Like  (1 like)

There have already been several well thought out and lengthy answers to this...

There have already been several well thought out and lengthy answers to this question in this thread but I thought I would throw out my opinion.

RHEL

For several reasons, most of which have already been covered here.

Something I recommend to people still in the buying stages is to start by building on CentOS. It won't cost you a dime, and when your ready to come out of the test stages you'll have admins with the skills you need to jump straight to RHEL with a paid support subscription, or just stick with Cent if that's your prerogative.

mm~

Like  (0 likes)

There have already been several well thought out and lengthy answers to this...

There have already been several well thought out and lengthy answers to this question in this thread but I thought I would throw out my opinion.

RHEL

For several reasons, most of which have already been covered here.

Something I recommend to people still in the buying stages is to start by building on CentOS. It won't cost you a dime, and when your ready to come out of the test stages you'll have admins with the skills you need to jump straight to RHEL with a paid support subscription, or just stick with Cent if that's your prerogative.

mm~

Like  (0 likes)

Payed subscription makes sense if you'd like to provide a stable service for...

Payed subscription makes sense if you'd like to provide a stable service for a long time, if you'd like to provide a small installation base for serious testing and some internal development you don't need a subscription plan, just go with "an old and stable" distribution, something you can find today and tomorrow as well.
Well known names (SUSE, RedHat/Fedora, Oracle, Debian, Ubuntu) were here years ago, have a solid installation base today and hopefully they'll be here tomorrow (we hope so).
So go for a mainstream distro today, study and improve it to see what happens, if you're happy with it take a subscription plan only if you need it

Hope it helps
Ben

Like  (0 likes)

Payed subscription makes sense if you'd like to provide a stable service for...

Payed subscription makes sense if you'd like to provide a stable service for a long time, if you'd like to provide a small installation base for serious testing and some internal development you don't need a subscription plan, just go with "an old and stable" distribution, something you can find today and tomorrow as well.
Well known names (SUSE, RedHat/Fedora, Oracle, Debian, Ubuntu) were here years ago, have a solid installation base today and hopefully they'll be here tomorrow (we hope so).
So go for a mainstream distro today, study and improve it to see what happens, if you're happy with it take a subscription plan only if you need it

Hope it helps
Ben

Like  (0 likes)

Payed subscription makes sense if you'd like to provide a stable service for...

Payed subscription makes sense if you'd like to provide a stable service for a long time, if you'd like to provide a small installation base for serious testing and some internal development you don't need a subscription plan, just go with "an old and stable" distribution, something you can find today and tomorrow as well.
Well known names (SUSE, RedHat/Fedora, Oracle, Debian, Ubuntu) were here years ago, have a solid installation base today and hopefully they'll be here tomorrow (we hope so).
So go for a mainstream distro today, study and improve it to see what happens, if you're happy with it take a subscription plan only if you need it

Hope it helps
Ben

Like  (0 likes)

I'm going to step off the "nobody got fired for using Red Hat" answer and say...

I'm going to step off the "nobody got fired for using Red Hat" answer and say SLES. Why? I run hundreds of Linux hosts... including everything from Red Hat 2.1 (and some earlier) to Red Hat 5.3 (soon 5.4) and everything from SLES 8 forward. We use 32bit, 64bit, and zSeries. We are a large scale enterprise ISV.

We run Solaris 2.6+, HPUX 10+, AIX 4.x+, Tandem, VMS, OS400 and many others as well.

We prefer SLES because it integrates better. They did a better job of styling their services to work across machines. Sure... you CAN tweak a Red Hat box to work.... and of course, we do. But I do not have to do that many tweaks with SLES and it just seems more thought out than Red Hat with regards to playing with other OS's.

Our infrastructure NAS, DNS/DHCP, authentication, file and print shares are SLES based. Folks... they NEVER go down (never). I cannot say the same about our Red Hat boxes... we are abusive to our Linux platforms though... doing some pretty sophisticated stress and performance tests. IMHO, I wouldn't trust a Red Hat box that wasn't running at least RHEL 5.3.... and until today, that was the LATEST offering from Red Hat.

With that said, certainly, if you don't go open source, you'll find more commercial offerings out there for Red Hat. So, if that's an issue... choose Red Hat. You CAN make it work... but sometimes, you'll pull your hair out on the integration side because you'll have to override some fundamental assumptions that Red Hat made (that are just wrong... unless everything is a Red Hat box).

So... shoot me, hang me... whatever. I vote SLES. It's robust, VERY stable and integrates well with a very mixed set of machines. It's not perfect... I do have to make some tweaks sometimes... I just don't say "argghhh!!" nearly as much with the SLES boxes as I do with the Red Hat ones.

With regards to using a community based distro instead.... here are some issues:

1. Community based variants are AHEAD of their enterprise counterparts. So testing with openSUSE or Fedora and then moving to SLES or RHEL could be a disaster.

2. If you are deploying infrastructure, you want longer term support. Sure, you could try CentOS if you believe that's the right model for support. I know there's a "desire" to something similar in SLES land (but it's vapor currently). The enterprise distros are FREE, you just don't get support... so you CAN try them out. That's what I would do.

Finally,

SLES is traditionally half the price of Red Hat for equivalent enterprise level subscriptions. Something also to keep in mind.

Also SLES dominates zSeries (you may not have a mainframe). There's a long and interesting history behind that... good story.

Novell may not be nearly as interested as Red Hat in funding open source developers... they have lost a lot of their talent to various people including Red Hat over the years.

Red Hat dominates the modifications made the kernel and GREATLY influences direction... and in all fairness, they are usually right (to their credit).

So I DO like both... but given a choice, I'd choose SLES in most cases.

Like  (0 likes)

I'm going to step off the "nobody got fired for using Red Hat" answer and say...

I'm going to step off the "nobody got fired for using Red Hat" answer and say SLES. Why? I run hundreds of Linux hosts... including everything from Red Hat 2.1 (and some earlier) to Red Hat 5.3 (soon 5.4) and everything from SLES 8 forward. We use 32bit, 64bit, and zSeries. We are a large scale enterprise ISV.

We run Solaris 2.6+, HPUX 10+, AIX 4.x+, Tandem, VMS, OS400 and many others as well.

We prefer SLES because it integrates better. They did a better job of styling their services to work across machines. Sure... you CAN tweak a Red Hat box to work.... and of course, we do. But I do not have to do that many tweaks with SLES and it just seems more thought out than Red Hat with regards to playing with other OS's.

Our infrastructure NAS, DNS/DHCP, authentication, file and print shares are SLES based. Folks... they NEVER go down (never). I cannot say the same about our Red Hat boxes... we are abusive to our Linux platforms though... doing some pretty sophisticated stress and performance tests. IMHO, I wouldn't trust a Red Hat box that wasn't running at least RHEL 5.3.... and until today, that was the LATEST offering from Red Hat.

With that said, certainly, if you don't go open source, you'll find more commercial offerings out there for Red Hat. So, if that's an issue... choose Red Hat. You CAN make it work... but sometimes, you'll pull your hair out on the integration side because you'll have to override some fundamental assumptions that Red Hat made (that are just wrong... unless everything is a Red Hat box).

So... shoot me, hang me... whatever. I vote SLES. It's robust, VERY stable and integrates well with a very mixed set of machines. It's not perfect... I do have to make some tweaks sometimes... I just don't say "argghhh!!" nearly as much with the SLES boxes as I do with the Red Hat ones.

With regards to using a community based distro instead.... here are some issues:

1. Community based variants are AHEAD of their enterprise counterparts. So testing with openSUSE or Fedora and then moving to SLES or RHEL could be a disaster.

2. If you are deploying infrastructure, you want longer term support. Sure, you could try CentOS if you believe that's the right model for support. I know there's a "desire" to something similar in SLES land (but it's vapor currently). The enterprise distros are FREE, you just don't get support... so you CAN try them out. That's what I would do.

Finally,

SLES is traditionally half the price of Red Hat for equivalent enterprise level subscriptions. Something also to keep in mind.

Also SLES dominates zSeries (you may not have a mainframe). There's a long and interesting history behind that... good story.

Novell may not be nearly as interested as Red Hat in funding open source developers... they have lost a lot of their talent to various people including Red Hat over the years.

Red Hat dominates the modifications made the kernel and GREATLY influences direction... and in all fairness, they are usually right (to their credit).

So I DO like both... but given a choice, I'd choose SLES in most cases.

Like  (0 likes)

I'm going to step off the "nobody got fired for using Red Hat" answer and say...

I'm going to step off the "nobody got fired for using Red Hat" answer and say SLES. Why? I run hundreds of Linux hosts... including everything from Red Hat 2.1 (and some earlier) to Red Hat 5.3 (soon 5.4) and everything from SLES 8 forward. We use 32bit, 64bit, and zSeries. We are a large scale enterprise ISV.

We run Solaris 2.6+, HPUX 10+, AIX 4.x+, Tandem, VMS, OS400 and many others as well.

We prefer SLES because it integrates better. They did a better job of styling their services to work across machines. Sure... you CAN tweak a Red Hat box to work.... and of course, we do. But I do not have to do that many tweaks with SLES and it just seems more thought out than Red Hat with regards to playing with other OS's.

Our infrastructure NAS, DNS/DHCP, authentication, file and print shares are SLES based. Folks... they NEVER go down (never). I cannot say the same about our Red Hat boxes... we are abusive to our Linux platforms though... doing some pretty sophisticated stress and performance tests. IMHO, I wouldn't trust a Red Hat box that wasn't running at least RHEL 5.3.... and until today, that was the LATEST offering from Red Hat.

With that said, certainly, if you don't go open source, you'll find more commercial offerings out there for Red Hat. So, if that's an issue... choose Red Hat. You CAN make it work... but sometimes, you'll pull your hair out on the integration side because you'll have to override some fundamental assumptions that Red Hat made (that are just wrong... unless everything is a Red Hat box).

So... shoot me, hang me... whatever. I vote SLES. It's robust, VERY stable and integrates well with a very mixed set of machines. It's not perfect... I do have to make some tweaks sometimes... I just don't say "argghhh!!" nearly as much with the SLES boxes as I do with the Red Hat ones.

With regards to using a community based distro instead.... here are some issues:

1. Community based variants are AHEAD of their enterprise counterparts. So testing with openSUSE or Fedora and then moving to SLES or RHEL could be a disaster.

2. If you are deploying infrastructure, you want longer term support. Sure, you could try CentOS if you believe that's the right model for support. I know there's a "desire" to something similar in SLES land (but it's vapor currently). The enterprise distros are FREE, you just don't get support... so you CAN try them out. That's what I would do.

Finally,

SLES is traditionally half the price of Red Hat for equivalent enterprise level subscriptions. Something also to keep in mind.

Also SLES dominates zSeries (you may not have a mainframe). There's a long and interesting history behind that... good story.

Novell may not be nearly as interested as Red Hat in funding open source developers... they have lost a lot of their talent to various people including Red Hat over the years.

Red Hat dominates the modifications made the kernel and GREATLY influences direction... and in all fairness, they are usually right (to their credit).

So I DO like both... but given a choice, I'd choose SLES in most cases.

Like  (0 likes)

Personally since this is a proof of concept I would go ahead and keep the...

Personally since this is a proof of concept I would go ahead and keep the plan and expenses simple and low and push the server level distribution. You could in theory use a desktop version...but the real question is why would you want to? The business has asked you to support two offices to test and prove up open source applications. It is to your advantage to set up a server model that utilizes Linux robustness.

I would push with Red Hat for several reasons.
1. Red Hat has been designed from the beginning to be set up for corporate IT type infrastructure. The majority of companies that write code for open source projects, or have ported their applications to Linux specifically support Red Hat. You will get better support from their tech departments should you run into issues.

2. Novell SLES is a pain. I'm not quite sure what Novell is doing to SUSE since they purchased it other than wander around in the weeds with it. We currently use it at the company I work at and getting support from third-party applications, specific open source configurations and such has been difficult at best. I tend to have to develop work arounds for that distro much more often than I like to, or have time to.

3. There are massive amounts of information, HOWTOs, FAQ, forums etc about Red Hat deployments, configs and operation. You will have ample resources for configuration and troubleshooting.

4. CentOS is the free version of Red Hat and is a good sandbox if you need to have one box that is not subscription to play with.

5. Red Hat has the support infrastructure. Tell the sale guy and sales engineer what you are trying to do and they will work with you on prices. They will sense the opportunity and will cut you a good value. Then you have the backing of a vendor if you run into a problem or issue. This will look good and please the higher ups.

Just two cents. Best of Luck!
Cheers -

Like  (0 likes)

Pages

Click Here!