[CentOS] CentOS for commercial use

Tue Apr 5 05:50:13 UTC 2005
Dave Hornford <OSD at HOrnfordAssociates.com>

Collins Richey wrote:

>I'm interested in every aspect of the CentOS project and its
>relationship to RedHat and its policies. I'm still hoping to convince
>my employer that CentOS would be a good choice for at least some of
>the servers and desktops I maintain. Most of these are still at the
>RH9 level. As a frugal person, I question what the company really gets
>much out of a maintenance contract other than expense, most especially
>so if you read the companion thread about experiences with paid
>support from RedHat.
Maintenance contracts are most valuable when they are used. Far to often 
support vendors are only called after an 'insoluble problem' is at a 
crisis and time & tempers are short. If you have contracts that are 
unused do two things - first ask what support issues were worked without 
calling, gently explain that no further support issues can be worked 
without an open ticket with the support vendor (if necessary enforce 
within your own trouble tracking system). Second, after the support is 
regularly used for 6 months review value received for cost - you will 
find a need to have a difficult conversation with some staff & some 
vendors.  I've seen far to many known-fixes independently rediscovered 
by in-house staff who wouldn't call a support desk - when I've got 
support I never want one of my people to reinvent the wheel. It is a 
waste of their time. (I've also noticed that using support process 
clarifies thinking - it is way more fun to complain about the support 
tech who asked if it was powered on than to discover it wasn't when asked)

Personally I can't see buying the low-level Red Hat support, if you can 
live with 9x5 next day don't pay for support you will never get value. 
However, 24/7 speak to me NOW! clarifies what is valuable in the 
environment. No skipping change control & testing, documentation &they 
had better be properly configured (in HW & SW terms). If not, well see 

I see a place for RH, CentOS & Fedora in many environments. Put the ERP 
& Mailserver on RH, when there is a problem & the boss' boss is 
'providing leadership' in the data centre being able to say you have a 
ticket open with RH & Oracle is very wise. Saving money on 2nd tier, 
infrastructure & most dev systems with a fully compatible OS is also 
very wise. Then someone will need wizbang app #43 that requires some 
library just out of the cradle, you'll find that library on FCx about 4 
years before RHEL. When you are worrying about the untested, unstable 
nature of FCx remember wizbang #43 is still in the cradle.

For you boss it may be a question of scale & risk management. Spending 
money on RH means never having to explain why she thought 'some kid in a 
basement could support our business' in an outage review.

regards Dave