Skip to main content
Welcome guest. | Register | Login | Post

Most reliable server distro

14 replies [Last post]
libervisco's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-05-04

RedHat seems to be most widely used by hosting companies, but that's most likely because it is aimed at them.

However, if you'd setup your own server to serve your own website over broadband and would need a great reliability which distro would you choose as the best for the task in regard to reliability, but also security, stability and performance that should come with it?

So far I hear rock solid stability oriented things like Debian and Slackware would do, but what about their derivates like Ubuntu or even Arch, and similar "bleeding edge" distros.

Is "bleeding edge" good for servers?

Thanks
Daniel

dylunio's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-12-20

I must say the best distro I've used for my server has been Gentoo 1/3 stage nptl install. It is VERY stable, and VERY fast. Since you download a stage 3 tabrball, and install as if it were a stage 3, but then you re-compile the toolchain for your system, thus it's like a stage 1 install. The initial stage 3 tarball gives the install stability, and the 'stage 1' of the toolchain compile gives it speed. If your interested in this form of install check out it's guide: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-345229.html.

It did take 5 days to install the base system on my 300MHz PII, but it has been well worth it.

Offline
Joined: 2005-12-21

Debian. Rock-solid stable. Smiling

Offline
Joined: 2005-12-20

I've not actually set-up a server yet, but I think i would/will use debian. Easy and fast to set up, packages are stable, totally free.

libervisco's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-05-04

Hey dylunio that sounds pretty interesting. I guess it can't get much stabler and faster than that after that kind of install, although that is quiet an effort to do I guess it would pay off considerably.

But for quick setup I think I'd go with debian as well..

There may be other less known distros good for servers as well though. And what about bleeding edge? Do you think a bleeding edge distro like Arch can be considered stable enough for servers?

Thanks
Daniel

Offline
Joined: 2005-12-21

Ubuntu as a server. Believe it or not, a server team has been founded. That would be my true choice, because it follows the ideals that Ubuntu represents (being Ubuntu!) and, well, yea... it's Ubuntu. 6 month release cycle, rock solid too, and Dapper will have several years of tech support. Smiling

AndrewB's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-12-18
"klepas" wrote:

Ubuntu as a server. Believe it or not, a server team has been founded. That would be my true choice, because it follows the ideals that Ubuntu represents (being Ubuntu!) and, well, yea... it's Ubuntu. 6 month release cycle, rock solid too, and Dapper will have several years of tech support. Smiling

i had it as a server distro and IMO it sucked compaired to normal deb, and suse etc
it was slow, and well bulky
mainly cause u cant customise the install, you have everything they want you to have
personally didnt want X, gnome, anything
just linux, apache, ftpd

Offline
Joined: 2005-12-21
"the_guy_dressed_in_black" wrote:
"klepas" wrote:

Ubuntu as a server. Believe it or not, a server team has been founded. That would be my true choice, because it follows the ideals that Ubuntu represents (being Ubuntu!) and, well, yea... it's Ubuntu. 6 month release cycle, rock solid too, and Dapper will have several years of tech support. Smiling

i had it as a server distro and IMO it sucked compaired to normal deb, and suse etc
it was slow, and well bulky
mainly cause u cant customise the install, you have everything they want you to have
personally didnt want X, gnome, anything
just linux, apache, ftpd

You can now, straight from the boot splash screen with the install CD, choose to do a server install which has no X support, if I remember correctly, avoiding a lot of un-necessary packages. For a server install you should have at least 64 MB of RAM and 350 MB of disk space. That seems to indicate, judging from those figures, that X and desktop environments are left out.

Info taken from one of the 200 Ubuntu CDs sitting in a box beside which I snagged from our LUG's Christmas party, hehe. Smiling

AndrewB's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-12-18
"klepas" wrote:
"the_guy_dressed_in_black" wrote:
"klepas" wrote:

Ubuntu as a server. Believe it or not, a server team has been founded. That would be my true choice, because it follows the ideals that Ubuntu represents (being Ubuntu!) and, well, yea... it's Ubuntu. 6 month release cycle, rock solid too, and Dapper will have several years of tech support. Smiling

i had it as a server distro and IMO it sucked compaired to normal deb, and suse etc
it was slow, and well bulky
mainly cause u cant customise the install, you have everything they want you to have
personally didnt want X, gnome, anything
just linux, apache, ftpd

You can now, straight from the boot splash screen with the install CD, choose to do a server install which has no X support, if I remember correctly, avoiding a lot of un-necessary packages. For a server install you should have at least 64 MB of RAM and 350 MB of disk space. That seems to indicate, judging from those figures, that X and desktop environments are left out.

Info taken from one of the 200 Ubuntu CDs sitting in a box beside which I snagged from our LUG's Christmas party, hehe. Smiling

ah ok, thats new Smiling
nice to see they are looking at peoples needs Wink

Offline
Joined: 2006-01-29

When I have my choice, it's generally Debian stable. I am running Ubuntu on my home backup server, but I don't think I'd be ready to put it into a serious production environment yet.

Not because its a bad distro or anything, simply that the apps included are too new to have full support by many web applications. Not many have caught up with the mix of MySQL 5.0 and PHP5 yet, so they can be problematic on Breezy.

But, with any Debian based distro, you really can't go wrong. Unless you're silly enough to try to run unstable or some other such crazy idea!

Offline
Joined: 2006-01-31
Re: Most reliable server distro
"libervisco" wrote:

However, if you'd setup your own server to serve your own website over broadband and would need a great reliability which distro would you choose as the best for the task in regard to reliability, but also security, stability and performance that should come with it?

I use FreeBSD on my personal webserver. 'Nuf said.

Quote:

So far I hear rock solid stability oriented things like Debian and Slackware would do, but what about their derivates like Ubuntu or even Arch, and similar "bleeding edge" distros.

Is "bleeding edge" good for servers?

I would say "no". A good server distribution has multiple stages of development, like Debian's unstable/testing/stable or FreeBSD's -CURRENT/-STABLE/-RELEASE. Software developers are humans, and humans make mistakes. If you just incorporate the latest version of every software package into a package management system, there's bound to be security vulnerabilities and stability issues. Software packages should go through rigorous testing before being incorporated into a distribution's "stable" branch.

libervisco's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-05-04

That makes sense. Bleeding edge with only some testing ought to be good for desktops, but for servers bleeding edge doesn't even matter that much anyway as the stability is paramount and a bit older software does the job.

Still, nothing from the active UNIX and GNU/Linux worlds is older that windows, so even debian beats it.

Offline
Joined: 2005-12-20

I would also say OpenBSD to be very, very, very secure, and also really stable too. The packages are tested well, and also, there has only been one vulnerability after release in like 5 years or more. I would definitely give it a try Smiling

Offline
Joined: 2006-01-29
"libervisco" wrote:

That makes sense. Bleeding edge with only some testing ought to be good for desktops, but for servers bleeding edge doesn't even matter that much anyway as the stability is paramount and a bit older software does the job.

Still, nothing from the active UNIX and GNU/Linux worlds is older that windows, so even debian beats it.

I would qualify that a bit. It depends on what part of the server is bleeding edge and what is older software. The core of the system,yes, should be stable software but the applications themselves must be weighed to see which would be better.

Generally stating that older releases are more stable can be dangerous. Sometimes those older apps or system components have significant security issues, which means keeping with the current releases may be not only favorable but necessary.

Debian Stable is stable because of the QA spent on it before release, not because of its age. RHEL 4 is stable, and contained a few of what were "bleeding edge" apps at the time of its release.

Now if you mean bleeding edge to mean development or CVS releases, again it really depends. Sometimes you may be forced to make the trade off for one reason or another.

libervisco's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-05-04

You're right. I forgot about that. It should then basically be a balance of trade offs for the sake of having optimal stability and security as well as performance at the same time.

That's good to know and care about for anyone that wants to run their own server at some point.