What OS to choose for our new server with Virtualmin Pro.

Hi guys!

We are about to buy a new server, dedicated or co-location.
My qestion is what OS to choose, which OS is the most stable, and of cource must work fine with Virtualmin Pro. I would appreciate feedback from all you guys out there using Virtualmin Pro. Would also be nice to know WHY you think it’s the best choice!

I have been recomended to use CentOS or Fedora Core, what is your opinion?

If I choose Fedora, Should I use FC6, or which version is most suitable for Virtualmin Pro?

Joe, What’s your opinion, what OS/Version to use?

Our old server is running Fedora Core 4 and Virtualmin Pro and have been up and running for 15 month now. There have been some minor incidents along the way, but as always… Joe and Jamie digs right in an fixes things! I’m no longer worried of problems that may turn up, not with the excellent support that Joe and Jamie provide. Absolutely First-Class!

Regards,
Leif

I’m also switching to a new server. I’m planning on waiting the new RHEL 5 release (28.2.) and the following CentOS 5. Hopefully it comes out no more than two weeks after RHEL.

New RHEL 5 (and of cource CentOS 5) includes MySQL 5, PHP5 and I believe Dovecot 1.x. And hopefully it’s still Enterprise quality. Personal experiences I don’t have from CentOS.

I’m currently running on FC6. Everything is running pretty well, but I seem to keep having some little issues. Now this could be caused by the OS or it could be just my experience. Personally, I wish I would’ve waited for CentOS 5. I’ve built a number of CentOS 4 boxes running VMWare (I’m actually running my Virtualmin on this setup) and it’s rock solid.

My advice would be go with the OS you feel most comfortable with.

I would highly recommend CentOS 5 (when it comes out) over any version of Fedora Core. Now that The Fedora Legacy Project is dead (as of Feb. 9, 2007), Fedora is a horrible choice for a production hosting server. Fedora releases have a very short life span (every 6 months to a year), and old releases are no longer support once they are a release behind. This means you are forced to do a major upgrade on your production servers about once a year. The upgrades typically must be done on site with a CD, and they often require 2-3 hours of downtime. This is not acceptable when customer sites are involved.

CentOS releases, on the other hand, are pretty much guaranteed to be supported for the next several years. Their support record has been excellent so far, so it seems to be a great choice. And now that version 5 is about to be released, it will be up to date with all the latest packages as others have mentioned.

Thank you guys,

Looks like I have done a bad choice!!! Since there was no responce on my question I asked a few other people, and they all said, CentOS or Fedora was the best choice. And they said that both are ok, and which one to choose was more about which I personly like or is familiar with.

So I went for Fedora Core 6, it have been installed for a few weeks now and works just fine. There where some minor issues with the install and a few afterwards but they are now solved.

Alan, when I read your answer It realy feels like I done a bad choice. I still have our old server online, all domains should have been moved over by now but I have been ill for almost two weeks now so all domains is still hosted on the old box. I actually can reinstall our new box, not that I prefer to do so due to the cost for the OS reinstall. I already had to pay for a reinstall due to a really bad advice I got prior to the install of VM, it almost removed ALL files from the server!! leaving me with a totally crashed box. :frowning: Our server is located in a secure server hall to where only the staff have access, so all "support" of this kind we have to pay for.

Our old box with Fedora Core 4 have been running as production server for almost 14 month now, there have just been a few minor issues and the only reason for buying the new server is to get more "harware power" and a faster link to internet.

But of course, if my choice to go with Fedora Core 6 is really bad I have to reconsinder this before I start moving the domains to the new box. Most of our customers are companies and they DO NOT accept a downtime for a day or two.

And of course our VM Pro license don’t like to run on two boxes, so if I should go for CentOS instead I’ll have to do it NOW… because the old box will go offline very soon.

Now I don’t know what to do…

Regards,
Leif

Hi Leif,

Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel bad about your choice to use FC6. I also didn’t realize until last week about Fedora Legacy shutting down, so I am still in a bit of shock from that news myself. We have several customer servers running various older versions of Fedora Core all the way back to FC1. These servers were installed before CentOS was an option. Now that we can no longer rely on Fedora Legacy for critical updates, we are scrambling for a solution. These customers are not going to be happy when they hear that we have to charge them to upgrade their servers because their OS is no longer supported.

Personally, I am running FC5 and FC6 on a couple of my own servers, and I have always been happy with Fedora as a distribution. However, with the recent news, I believe that Fedora is now a poor choice for new servers. Even the Fedora Legacy group themselves now recommends switching to RHEL or CentOS on systems where long-term support is an issue. FC6 has been out for 5 months already (since Oct. 17, 2006), so support will end completely sometime around the end of this year. FC7 should be out soon (scheduled for the end of May), so you and me and everyone else running FC6 will be forced with the decision to upgrade their servers sometime between June and December just to stay current (not bleeding edge). This is a very short window for a server or other customer equipment.

Regarding Fedora upgrades, Joe is correct that they can be done without a CD. In older versions of Fedora, this was extremely difficult and prone to many problems. In recent versions, it has been made easier to do with yum. But this method is still not recommended by the Fedora Project and may still cause problems in many situations. The official FC6 installation guide does not even mention an in-place yum upgrade as an option. The only tested and recommended method is to shut the server down and do an upgrade on site using Anaconda (with CDs), which requires offline console access (i.e. this is a problem for servers hosted at colo sites, especially distant remote ones) and often 2-3 hours of downtime, depending on the speed of your machine.

Here is the official Fedora Project FAQ on this issue:

<BlockQuote>
I have an older Fedora release. Can I upgrade my existing installation?

Yes. For more information on upgrading options, refer to the DistributionUpgrades page:

* http://FedoraProject.org/wiki/DistributionUpgrades

We recommend that you do not try to upgrade a Fedora system with yum. If you choose to do so, however, this page provides some information on the necessary steps to minimize the issues:

* http://FedoraProject.org/wiki/YumUpgradeFaq

</BlockQuote>

FYI, CentOS 5 is now final:

http://lists.centos.org/pipermail/centos-announce/2007-April/013660.html

Hi Joe & Guys,

</i>Joe said:
My next server will probably run Ubuntu, though I’m not sure when I’ll finally get the Ubuntu installation as smooth as Fedora/CentOS.
Posted by Joe Cooper[/i>

Well, looks like even Dell is going with Ubuntu too!

I’m way back on Fedora 5 on my rentabox and am about to do something serious with it at long last.

When do you think you’ll have a smooth Ubuntu install Joe?

Maybe now would be a good time for me to bite the bullet and switch to CentOS or Ubuntu (which seems to be taking over in the Lux world very rapidly. I’m about to install it on my PC even)

My ten cents… many months ago I ask the same as we where running Mandriva… it just didn’t work out. So based on everyones suggestions we went to CentOS and couldn’t be happier! Lots of online help, solid, supported, secure, and of course Virtualmin works great with it.

Again, just my ten cents.

Regards,
Charles

Hi all,

I’ll just chime in with some thoughts. Fedora Core 6 isn’t that bad of a choice–in fact, despite the lifecycle problem (which is a very real problem with Fedora, and even before Fedora Legacy officially ended, it was known to be somewhat difficult to maintain a Fedora server past the EOL from the official Fedora project), it is among my favorite distributions.

You’ve got about a year of guaranteed updates. And we’ll be updating our packages for about two or three years (depending on how many folks are using it two or three years from now).

At that point, you’ll need to upgrade to FC7 or FC8 (whatever is out by then). Upgrading without a CD and console access is possible, and in recent versions isn’t actually all that difficult (folks have been upgrading this way for years with apt-get–and I’ve actually been doing it with yum all the way back to Red Hat 7.3, if you can believe that–though I wouldn’t wish any upgrade of pre-FC3 on anyone).

So, don’t panic. Fedora Core 6 is a solid OS, with good Virtualmin support. Many of your packages will be supported by us for quite a long time–probably 2-3 years. In a year, you can start planning an upgrade to FC7 or FC8.

If you don’t need bleeding edge software, and you’d rather not have to think about an upgrade (which can take an hour or two, plus a slightly unnerving first reboot) in a year, switch to CentOS 4.

I have three servers. They’re running RHEL, CentOS, and Fedora Core 3 (with updates that I’m building myself when I know there’s a security issue). The FC3 box is going offline as soon as I’ve finished backing everything up and moving the mail off to another server. I do prefer a longer lifecycle for my servers. It makes life easier down the road…the operating systems that provide that are: RHEL (5 years), CentOS (5 years), Ubuntu (3 years), and Debian (umm…not sure…something like 80 years, or whenever they finally release a new version). SUSE also has a commercial version that has a long lifecycle (3 years, I think), though Virtualmin support for it is iffy (I don’t have it, and the Novell engineers have been hostile to my bug reports about OpenSUSE, so I’m not wholly enthusiastic about buying it or supporting the platform).

My next server will probably run Ubuntu, though I’m not sure when I’ll finally get the Ubuntu installation as smooth as Fedora/CentOS.

Hi all,

I’ll just chime in with some thoughts. Fedora Core 6 isn’t that bad of a choice–in fact, despite the lifecycle problem (which is a very real problem with Fedora, and even before Fedora Legacy officially ended, it was known to be somewhat difficult to maintain a Fedora server past the EOL from the official Fedora project), it is among my favorite distributions.

You’ve got about a year of guaranteed updates. And we’ll be updating our packages for about two or three years (depending on how many folks are using it two or three years from now).

At that point, you’ll need to upgrade to FC7 or FC8 (whatever is out by then). Upgrading without a CD and console access is possible, and in recent versions isn’t actually all that difficult (folks have been upgrading this way for years with apt-get–and I’ve actually been doing it with yum all the way back to Red Hat 7.3, if you can believe that–though I wouldn’t wish any upgrade of pre-FC3 on anyone).

So, don’t panic. Fedora Core 6 is a solid OS, with good Virtualmin support. Many of your packages will be supported by us for quite a long time–probably 2-3 years. In a year, you can start planning an upgrade to FC7 or FC8.

If you don’t need bleeding edge software, and you’d rather not have to think about an upgrade (which can take an hour or two, plus a slightly unnerving first reboot) in a year, switch to CentOS 4.

I have three servers. They’re running RHEL, CentOS, and Fedora Core 3 (with updates that I’m building myself when I know there’s a security issue). The FC3 box is going offline as soon as I’ve finished backing everything up and moving the mail off to another server. I do prefer a longer lifecycle for my servers. It makes life easier down the road…the operating systems that provide that are: RHEL (5 years), CentOS (5 years), Ubuntu (3 years), and Debian (umm…not sure…something like 80 years, or whenever they finally release a new version). SUSE also has a commercial version that has a long lifecycle (3 years, I think), though Virtualmin support for it is iffy (I don’t have it, and the Novell engineers have been hostile to my bug reports about OpenSUSE, so I’m not wholly enthusiastic about buying it or supporting the platform).

My next server will probably run Ubuntu, though I’m not sure when I’ll finally get the Ubuntu installation as smooth as Fedora/CentOS.

Hi Joe,

Thanks, somehow it feels a bit better now!

It’s allways difficult to make the “right choice” when you are new to things. My first acquaintance with Linux is actually our old FC4 box with VM Pro.
When trying to get the right OS for our new box I had to rely upon other peoples recommendations.

I actually don’t care so much for the bleeding edge…
I want a stable server that I can rely on, I don’t need to keep up with the latest software, unless it’s about security issues. We mainly host rather simple websites/e-commerce solutions that don’t need all “fancy” stuff. They often contact us because we have provided really good support on both harware/software with all kinds of problem solving for the customer earlier. So now we are trying to do the same in a very small scale web hosting, we actually choose what customers to host, we have several times said… “I have to be honest and tell you that I don’t think we are the right choice for you, but I can recommend you…” and so on.

So maybe I DID go for the wrong OS, but I think I’ll give FC 6 a try… We did use a server in US for many years but the last two years we have had to many and to long downtimes, this is the reason for our Swedish servers. The cost for the Swedish server is about 20 times the US server cost!! hmmmm… and this is done all for the customers, and of course to keep up our good reputation. :wink:

Regards,
Leif

Hey John,

I’ve actually changed my mind (I’m a fickle creature). Debian 4.0 is my new favorite. It rocks for servers.

Ubuntu 6.06LTS is also really good. The install is already expected to be as smooth as other systems, at this point, but I might be wrong. We’ve got a lot more Debian 4.0 users now than Ubuntu (I had assumed Ubuntu would overtake Debian, but it’s never happened–installs on Debian continue to outstrip those on Ubuntu).