[CentOS] Wait for 5 or just use 4.4?

Peter Gross pag at nanosec.com
Fri Mar 30 17:00:20 UTC 2007

Cen Tos wrote:
> I'm a relative newbie to all this so pardon me if the following are all 
> stupid questions.
> Firstly, I'm setting up a web server and gone from planning to use 
> Ubuntu (due to some familiarity as a desktop at home) to CentOS based on 
> recommendations by experienced webhosters.
> However now that I looked into CentOS, I find myself at a point where 
> it's transitting to a major new version. So the key question for me is, 
> should I wait for CentOS 5 to be released or just go for 4.4?
> Being rather new to Linux, my attempts to try to figure out the 
> differences between the two has been rather futile since I can't readily 
> tell what is really important to me or not. All that I think I'm sure of 
> now is that 5 would support virtualization using Xen and 4.4 doesn't 
> have it. This alone is food for thought since the idea of being able to 
> compartalize each website in their own VM sounds good in the long run.
> I'm tempted to wait for 5 since I'm reluctant to run the risk of having 
> to upgrade a live server to version 5 and have it failed specutacularly 
> if I screw it up. On the other hand, it's uncertain when 5 will be out 
> and definitely waiting more than another 2 weeks isn't quite acceptable 
> without compelling reasons.
> Hence I'll appreciate it if the knowledgeable folks on this mailing list 
> can advise which is the wiser route to go.
> Some additional information which may be relevant to the decision.
> 1. RAID : Was planning to run "hardware" RAID 1 on the server and has 
> noted comments that software RAID 1 on Linux may be better than raid 1 
> using onboard firmware controllers.

As you will discover reading Linux RAID documentation, onboard RAID is 
not real hardware RAID (like an add-in card). They call it fakeraid. You 
will almost certainly be better off with Linux software raid.

> 2. Software that would be running on the server would include Apache 2.x 
> with ASPx support, php 5.x, MySQL 5.x, Exim, ProFTPD, Direct Admin 
> (supposed to be developed on RH and one user apparently tested it to 
> work right out of the box with 5 Beta, part of the reason why I decided 
> to go with CentOS)
> 3. Hardware to be used would be Intel Core 2 Duo on an Asus P5B-VM-D0 
> (Q965, ICH8-D0, Intel GMA3000 GPU) with SATA hard disks.

Here is where you will run into a bunch o' trouble with CentOS 4.4 -- 
the kernel for that is 2.6.9. I'm pretty sure you would not be able to 
support your mb and CPU out-of-the-box without a LOT of headache. Due to 
your hardware, I suggest you wait a little until CentOS 5 has been used 
by others with similar hardware. In fact I have a brand new system that 
uses Abit AB9 QuadGT motherboard (Intel P965 Express north bridge, Intel 
ICH8R south bridge, JMicron JMB363 for IDE), Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, 3 
Sata II disks. I fully expect to have my hands full getting this to work 
even in CentOS 5, and I have tons of experience. So my advice is to let 
others do the hard work for you and wait for the fruits of their labor. 
  I have recently put together another system that used an Asrock u-ATX 
mb that uses the Nvidia NF6100-430 AM2 chipset to be used as a 
firewall/DNS server/Mail server for a small network. This is currently 
running under CentOS 4.4 .... BUT, I ended up building kernel 
to better support my hardware (Nvidia onboard SATA controller, onboard 
Nvidia gigabit LAN [forcedeth]. The system is running great, but it took 
quite a bit of futzing to get it where it was more or less turnkey. And 
the newer kernel breaks a couple of things (like hotplug for USB because 
that subsystem on CentOS 4.4 is incompatible with the 2.6.20)

> 4. Network bandwidth control based on request IP or domains (i.e. 
> connections to IP #1 can be limited to 512Kbps, while connections to IP 
> #2 can be limited to 1024Kbps, or connections to www.domainA.com 
> <http://www.domainA.com> is limited to 256Kbps etc.

Netfilter will give you this ... I would suggest looking into the 
Shorewall firewall [http://shorewall.net] for stuff like this. Really 
wonderful set of software.

I will keep you updated on my progress with Intel P965/Core 2 Duo system 
on CentOS 5 once it is released.

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