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Old 05-25-2008, 09:20 PM   #1
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Question Webhosting company: migrating from FreeBSD to RHEL, opinions?

Well, basically im asking for opinions about our migration.
Our company its a hosting that gives webhosting and basic fast mailservices besides other small things. We have very personal and flexible relationship with our customers and their needs.

We have been using FreeBSD since year 2000, and besides "the normal problems" (UFS - NFS maintenance and RPC daemons mostly), it has proven to be an incredible operative system that will make very old hardware reliable to make money.

We are migrating now because we want to enter the virtualization world, offer housing, Java support, and have "real" support from Red Hat so we can take vacations once in a year and turn off our Nextel and forget about alarms. Also, people who knows Linux/Red Hat that are or can be programmers/sysadmins are MUCH common than FreeBSD guys.
I know much of the technical services we want to offer can be deployed on FreeBSD, but we also know these are much easy and stable to install and use on RHEL.

Im the main sysadmin and grew up with Red Hat since I was sixteen, (im 23 now) so I used Red Hat for a long time until I liked more Slackware and then Gentoo; I really have faith in Red Hat for servers.
The next option is SUSE which I DONT LIKE. Novell/MS is a NO-NO for me. Sorry SUSE guys.

We are used to code everything on our own (on C, PHP, PYTHON, Bash) so it will be a little "weird" to migrate to Red Hat at first I know (rpm packages against FreeBSD ports), but thats the point, use our time to offer new services rather than maintain the current ones.

Any opinion will be appreciated. Thanks in advance guys.
Old 05-26-2008, 08:42 AM   #2
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Location: Wales, UK
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I think that Red Hat are one of the best vendors. IME, three things to consider:

- No vendor is perfect, and you should be cautious about having too much faith in any vendor-supplied packages: the developers don't necessarily use the packages that they build. You will still sometimes want or need to build your own packages for stuff because the vendor doesn't supply a package, or supplies an old version, or ships packages with bugs. Example: Red Hat used to ship slightly broken Kerberos and LDAP builds. I'd recommend that you learn the package building process as soon as you can, and become familiar into the add-on repositories (EPEL, RPMforge etc.) so that you feel comfortable swapping out RH packages if/when you need to.

- Red Hat don't support version upgrades well - when I used their stuff the only supported option for upgrading a system was to down it and boot from the installer. With a good virtualization setup you can migrate services and just drop outdated systems, but you should plan now for how you are going to handle the version upgrades without impacting service.

- Red Hat's graphical admin tools are a bit of a token gesture - they only expose a limited amount of functionality, and are often buggy, so it's easier just to ignore these from the start, and use the CLI tools instead.


freebsd, migration, rhel

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