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#1 2012-06-27 00:15:20

655321
Member
From: Costa Rica
Registered: 2009-12-08
Posts: 412
Website

Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

Hi all, I see this topic has been discussed a couple times but not In the way I want to use it.

I have a Web-hosting project, started like a year ago, so far I have used CentOS but I wanted to use Arch for this.

CentOS has fame fort being very secure and stable (If im not wrong, its the most used distro hosting-wise). But I really think Arch minimalistic approach could bring BIG performance benefits in terms of disk space, processing power and overall system performance, so I wanted to know the community toughts about this.

The server should perform the following tasks:

- web server
- ftp server
- mail server
- ssh server

How dangerous in terms of stability and maintenance effort would be to have this on an Arch server, since packages are upgraded constantly, an upgrade path is out of the question (like upgrading Centos5 to 6 for example).

With newer packages new bugs may be introduced but also old bugs fixed.

Have you guys have any experience using are as a Web hosting platform?

thanks for your input!

Last edited by 655321 (2012-06-27 00:15:39)


Linux user #498977
With microsoft you get windows and gates, with linux you get the whole house!
My Blog about ArchLinux and other stuff

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#2 2012-06-27 00:28:46

pacmon
Member
Registered: 2012-06-26
Posts: 10

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

I have not personally used Arch for a server yet (although likely in the future). However, I have run many web servers and I can say that I think the biggest risk you would be that you might get a package that breaks and crashes the server. There are other concerns like the version(s) of whatever language your web app is coded in (php, python, ruby, etc.) - sometimes they introduce changes or remove features (esp. in major release versions) which can easily break your web app. That being said, you can choose to not upgrade certain packages if you don't want and lag it a couple minor versions to have time to test it on a development server first. There are probably many other things to think of - but these are a few that come to mind.

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#3 2012-06-27 00:28:57

Bellum
Member
Registered: 2011-08-24
Posts: 230

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

My understanding is really "stable" distros like Debian (and CentOS?) backport security and bug fixes without adding new bugs (and features) to keep things really stable. IDK much about running a server, but on Arch you must expect things to break, if only very occasionally. If I needed a computer I had to rely on to work 100% of the time without much maintenance, Arch isn't a distro I would choose. At least not if I continued to update packages, which you'll want to do to get the security fixes.

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#4 2012-06-27 00:31:18

ElderSnake
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 93

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

As a server...yes... but mission-critical?

I don't think so, I mean ultimately it's up to the admin and how much maintanence you want to put into it. Arch is a great distro and I'm sure would make a good server but in a mission-critical environment I think I would personally go with one of the tried and true server distros which have the fixes without the flood of constant updates.


Arch Linux - Intel E5200 Desktop (Cinnamon 2.0) - Debian Testing - Netbook EeePC AMD C-50 (Xfce)

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#5 2012-06-27 01:28:59

kensai
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From: Puerto Rico
Registered: 2005-06-03
Posts: 2,475
Website

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

Well, let me tell you a story, I was running this awesome Arch Linux server, and about an hour ago I broke it with an upgrade, now the server is dead and I might need to reinstall everything. My bad I didn't had a backup.

All in all, I think Arch Linux makes for a great server, but you have to be way more careful with it than with any other Linux distribution.


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#6 2012-06-27 02:00:26

falconindy
Developer
From: New York, USA
Registered: 2009-10-22
Posts: 4,092
Website

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

If you have to ask this question, the answer is no.

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#7 2012-06-27 07:48:20

brebs
Member
Registered: 2007-04-03
Posts: 3,408

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

655321 wrote:

Arch minimalistic approach could bring BIG performance benefits in terms of ... processing power and overall system performance

Got any examples?

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#8 2012-06-27 09:27:48

Allan
Developer
From: Brisbane, AU
Registered: 2007-06-09
Posts: 10,367
Website

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

kensai wrote:

*

Wow - have not seen you for a while!


Anyway - here is a good lesson in using Arch Linux:
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php … 44#p612344

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#9 2012-06-27 09:47:55

Gcool
Member
Registered: 2011-08-16
Posts: 1,456

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

What is basically comes down to is this.


Burninate!

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#10 2012-06-27 17:05:32

bwat47
Member
Registered: 2009-10-07
Posts: 637

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

Arch can be awesome on a server, but its definitely not the most ideal solution for a 'mission critical' server.

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#11 2012-06-27 17:57:15

ANOKNUSA
Member
Registered: 2010-10-22
Posts: 2,141

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

falconindy wrote:

If you have to ask this question, the answer is no.

That's the consensus I've seen.  I plan on turning a ~10-year-old desktop my ma's giving me into a server just to play around with it, and for personal use that's fine.  But if stability is absolutely necessary, you likely want to use something where stability doesn't get called into question.

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#12 2012-06-27 22:27:07

PReP
Member
From: Sweden/Sala
Registered: 2010-06-13
Posts: 347
Website

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

I guess it mostly depends on how simple one can set up the server, and after that, sheer luck.

Keeping it pure html, and ssh, then i guess only a non-tested apache and ssh package update might break stuff
- that is ruling out neglection to read up and be ready with each -Syu if something vital has changed.

Bottom line is that the possibility for breakage of course lessens the, less extra-mumbo-jumbo one uses to help run or setup things,
and breakage could always happen by sheer chance.

But to the extent of my few years on arch, and in my desktop and kiss-server setup,
nothing has stood out as more break-prone in a well maintaned Arch-system, then something else, if one floats and works with the updates when needed.
Bottom-line two: Arch is never for the lazy smile

Last edited by PReP (2012-06-28 14:54:55)


#1 Main: Intel Core i5 2500k (Sandy) @ 3.9 Ghz, 8 GB DDR2-XMP RAM @ 1600 Mhz, Geforce GTX 570 (Gainward Phantom) - Arch Linux 64-Bit
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#13 2012-06-28 17:40:13

Ishpeck
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 48
Website

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

For my servers, I use OpenBSD.  Ludicrous stability at the cost of some drivers.   It's my ideal "build and forget" platform.


If I were to ask you a hypothetical question, what would you want it to be about?

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#14 2012-06-28 18:27:43

alphaniner
Member
From: Ancapistan
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 2,604

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

I think it depends your definition of mission-critical.  If it means absolutely minimal downtime, probably not.  If you're just worried about breakages during upgrades (aka "Syuoops"™), proper planning can reduce rollbacks to mere minutes.

My arch machine at work is effectively mission-critical.  However, though it does provide some services (dhcp, nfs) its role as a workstation is more critical.  I've never had any major issues but I have contingencies nonetheless.


But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
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#15 2012-07-04 17:31:26

655321
Member
From: Costa Rica
Registered: 2009-12-08
Posts: 412
Website

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

brebs wrote:
655321 wrote:

Arch minimalistic approach could bring BIG performance benefits in terms of ... processing power and overall system performance

Got any examples?

I said could big_smile thats kind of an hypothesis.

My Arch laptop boots about 2 times faster than any other Linux distro for example, so I guess this also translates to server setups.


Linux user #498977
With microsoft you get windows and gates, with linux you get the whole house!
My Blog about ArchLinux and other stuff

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#16 2012-07-04 17:39:35

2ManyDogs
Member
Registered: 2012-01-15
Posts: 1,635

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

What does boot time have to do with anything server-related?

Servers need stability, not fast boot times.

This should have been marked as a topic going nowhere a long time ago.

Last edited by 2ManyDogs (2012-07-04 18:16:42)

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#17 2012-07-04 18:10:23

655321
Member
From: Costa Rica
Registered: 2009-12-08
Posts: 412
Website

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

I know, I was just giving an example based on my experience, the same could happen with other parts of the OS


Linux user #498977
With microsoft you get windows and gates, with linux you get the whole house!
My Blog about ArchLinux and other stuff

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#18 2012-07-04 23:19:45

fukawi2
Forum Moderator
From: .vic.au
Registered: 2007-09-28
Posts: 5,268
Website

Re: Is Arch suitable for mission-critical server?

falconindy wrote:

If you have to ask this question, the answer is no.

This.

Also, if it's truly mission-critical, then I'd assume you're also taking other steps to ensure availability other than OS choice (clustered/redundant/load balancing systems etc), in which case Arch is probably easier to use since if something goes wrong on one of the hosts in the cluster, you can take it offline while you fix it without affecting availability. Lather, rinse, repeat with the other nodes.

IME, I ran an Arch-based Web Server, and still have an Arch-based Mail Server since around 2009. They are both horribly out-of-date because there was a point where some major changes were happening (toolchain rebuild etc) that was breaking things and I didn't have time to resolve them all. I am migrating these hosts back to CentOS now. My advice would be to not use Arch; it might be fine now, but in 6, 12, 18 months time, you might not have the same time availability to maintain it.

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