> Perhaps this is a bit silly question, but I was wondering if anyone is
> deploying OpenSuse for “a certain level of mission critical” web server,
> and would like to share experience?
> By “certain level of mission critical” I assume:
> - Updates as patches to currently installed packages only, ie. no
> package upgrades unless manually requested
Mostly true with regards to openSUSE. The only exceptions (IMHO) are when a massive flaw in a package is found which may force a move to something
> - Occasional quick reboots for critical kernel updates allowed (say,
> once a month).
Quick ONLY if you do NOT have proprietary drivers on your system. They yes… mostly true, but again, if the kernel needs updating, it will get
updated… and might mean more than one a month. Security is important to many poeple…
> - Specific software selection required: lighttpd (1.4.19 or newer), PHP
> 5.2(.10) and 5.3, Postgres 8.3.4 (or newer), Sun’s Java 6.
No… that could lead to a lack of ‘mission critical’ operation. The packages that come with openSUSE will receive patches for security issues. But
no (in general) feature releases are done. However, a community repository (outside of any openSUSE support) may have newer packages available, but
probably not something that fits the ‘mission critical’ requirement.
> - Server used to host professional services, ie. not a home, or
> intranet/office web/file/samba/blah server.
> Having used OpenSuse before, but never deployed on such a server, I
> know that the requirements ARE there, especially in that official
> software selection is not as ancient as on Debian or CentOS, which is
> very important, and that there are patch only updates via zypper.
And again, patches are usually NOT feature oriented… mostly security updates triggered directly or indirectly. Do NOT expect all things that are
‘broken’ to be fixed via a patch. The fixes many not happen until the next full release of openSUSE.
> Still, as far as I gather, OpenSuse is not really a favorite server OS
> among (dedicated) web server users, and I was wondering why is that?
Uh… well… that’s a lie. Where on earth did you hear that? If you’re going to use a community based distro, openSUSE is BETTER in most cases than
the other community based distros. It has a wiser understanding of security and interoperability than most.
> Is anyone here deploying OpenSuse in such a “critical” environment
> successfully willing to share their experience?
No. Why? Because openSUSE IS a community based distro. For ‘mission critical’ deployments you need to consider Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise
Server. Why? Because it is VERY well supported (long term support).
> I understand I can probably get more “mission critical” with SLES, and
> I am considering it, but I’d like to start with OpenSuse and see how it
> goes, because I am quite capable of maintaining a server.
Your ‘mission critical’ server WILL REQUIRE upgrade and possible full reinstall about every 2 years. If that’s acceptable, openSUSE may fit your
needs. In the process of that upgrade, it is possible that some packages will be removed from the distribution. It is also possible that feature
level upgrades of certain packages will render your existing configurations unusable without modification. These are some of the things to consider
when using a more bleeding edge community distribution like openSUSE. The currently well maintained SLES 9 SP4 dates originated from SUSE Prof. 9.1,
the well supported SLES 10 SP2 come from openSUSE 10.1 days and SLES 11 comes from the openSUSE 11.1 time period. In all cases, the product is well
maintained for newer hardware additions, but you might find SLES 9 to not have all of the features you need. SLES 10 probably does. If you need very
recent features, then SLES 11 is key. I would advocate that anything ‘mission critical’ use the enterprise product line… with that said, I have
administered environments for many years that used the free stuff. There WILL be occasions when you’ll HAVE to compile packages (possible large ones)
on your own due to security issues or features that are not perceived as critical by the community.
If you have NO MONEY… AND you need a top notch Linux distro, I think openSUSE is best.
If you’re ‘mission critical’ needs are for a revenue producing business (for example), then go with the enterprise line.