Originally Posted by BennyMesk
I'm now a proud owner of a HP ProLiant Microserver which I intend to set-up as a web server and use as a test-bed for web applications but also to backup some files. I would need LAMP, Samba and preferably WebMin or an equivalent. I want the server to be reliable, update easily and require little on-going administration (also set-up and forget).
I have a few questions regarding my needs:
1. Which Linux is best? Yes, I know this is like opening a can of worms but which flavour is best for my needs? Should I stick to something like CentOS or opt for SMS?
Best? That's kind of like asking "What's the best car?"...it depends on your real end-goal, and what your definition of 'best' is. My personal recommendation would be to try the different flavors, and see which one YOU like best. They're free, so enjoy. If you're talking about a server that's going to be torn apart, tested on, and reloaded over and over, a consumer-grade distro like Fedora or openSUSE would be a good place to start. New versions frequently, lots of leading-edge package support, etc. If you want stable/unchanging, go with CentOS or a server-grade distro like that.
Be aware, though, that if you plan on wanting things like wifi, bluetooth, 3D acceleration, etc (things that normally ARE NOT on servers), support for such things on server-grade distros can be challenging. The consumer distros will typically support such things better.
2. Is it worth booting off USB? The server has an on-board bootable USB and I have a collection of pens/keys including 256MB up to 8GB... I wondered is it worth making use of this feature or keep everything on the HDD? If it is best to use USB, then what's best to have on the HDD - /home obviously but should I have /var or just take over the MySQL and www folder?
Any help would be most appriciated!
I'll agree with TenTenths for the most part, but will put a caveat on it. Trying a 'live' distro that boots from CD/USB key isn't a bad way to test your basic hardware functionality (CPU, graphics, disk/SAN drivers, etc.), without doing a load on your hard drive. You may save yourself some headaches from doing a 'real' download of a 4GB DVD image/burn/load, only to find out some bit isn't working right.