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Which Red Hat Should Be Worn in the Enterprise?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the for-those-who-like-to-wear-hats dept.

Red Hat Software 710

weatherbug asks: "I've recently been appointed as a member of a team to help determine the direction our organization is headed with Red Hat Linux. Currently we're using multiple versions from Red Hat 6.x through Advance Server 2.1. However, now that Red Hat has effectively separated their distributions into a 'consumer' (Red Hat 8,9, etc) and 'enterprise' (Red Hat Adv. Server 2.x, etc), we aren't sure which version we want to adopt. A Red Hat salesman recently told us that the 'consumer' version of Red Hat was mostly for hackers and hobbyists who weren't concerned about stability and wanted the most up-to-date software, while the 'enterprise' version would be more stable and have a five-year product lifetime. As a long time Linux system administrator, I feel that this is a sales tactic and that there really is no compelling reason for us to ever use the 'enterprise' version. After all, it is Linux and it is open source, and we have enough in-house talent to not need Red Hat support. Why would we ever need or care about a five-year product lifetime? Am I wrong, and if so, could you set us straight? We'd be interested to know what other large organizations have decided to do."

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710 comments

I reccomend... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153772)

Debian. It's the best "Red Hat" out there.

The cowboy one (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153777)

Definitely, along with a couple of pistols. It makes killing your enemies much easier. (I also like the top hat, too, especially for a night on the town.)

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153778)

This classy FP was brought to you by PBS.

I'm more worried about... (5, Funny)

Binestar (28861) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153779)

Wearing a Red Shirt [scifi.com] while on the enterprise.

Oh wait, nevermind...

Re:I'm more worried about... (2, Insightful)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153872)

On the Enterprise it's not an issue. However, when a member of a landing party.....

But seriously, folks. It's Linux. Either it's Open Source and companies with expertise can admin and update it themselves, or you're paying somebody else to do that for you. And why pay Red Hat big bucks unless you need their expertise? Are they going to stop chasing bugs in the consumer division because of the obvious conflict of interest with their revenue stream selling support? Red Hat can either sell one or the other (well supported expensive enterprise or cheap you're-on-your-own consumer distros) otherwise it's obvious they don't care what happens to you if you buy the latter.

Re:I'm more worried about... (4, Funny)

tekunokurato (531385) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153989)

I don't know if you wrote that or not, but it's the worst statistical analysis ever! They cite the number of crew who died and the percentage of those who wore red shirts, but they don't say how that relates to the total percentage of crewmembers who wear red shirts, or the total percentage of away team members who wear red shirts, or even what percentage of red shirt wearers actually die! It could be that everyone wears red shirts and the only people who don't happen to be the same 28 that died who weren't wearing red shirts, making red shirts have a lower correlation with death than any other type of shirt! Such irrelevant data...

Red Hat 7.3, with bugfixes (4, Informative)

bytor4232 (304582) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153797)

For now, our company has been deploying Red Hat 7.3 with all the latest bugfixes and security releases patched in. However, 7.3 is ending its product life at the end of this year, so we may have to "rethink" our strategy with using Red Hat.

Re:Red Hat 7.3, with bugfixes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153902)

Stability is a good thing. I think their enterprise distribution is based off of 7.2. I think there's too many sys admins who do not assess the risks of upgrading, or in the manufacturing world: retooling. It's expensive and should only be done if your current version isn't allowing you to do something that generates revenue. There's just too many hacks out there who don't know how to properly assess the benefit/cost ratio of upgrading.

*Minimal * Red Hat 7.2, with patches (3, Interesting)

maharg (182366) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153916)

We've created a minimal distro based on 7.2, with nothing that's not essential. You can optionally install RH's high availability tool "Pirahna" (snaffled from advanced server), but that's it. No X. Just enough stuff to admin the box. Everything else get's installed from source. The distro is easy to maintain; updates are downloaded by a cron job. Product End-of-life is worrying tho ....

Re:Red Hat 7.3, with bugfixes (1)

matth (22742) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154011)

My understanding of EOL with RH is that it will stop supporting it but that doesn't mean they will stop giving up2dates and bug fixes for it. My understanding from them is that EOL means no support, but you can continue to get security updates for it.

Re:Red Hat 7.3, with bugfixes (-1)

.Bruce Perens (150539) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154012)


For now, our company has been deploying Red Hat 7.3 with all the latest bugfixes and security releases patched in. However, 7.3 is ending its product life at the end of this year, so we may have to "rethink" our strategy with using Red Hat.

My own internal testing have shown that 7.3 is the most secure, but not stable, version of Red Hat (unmodified) out there. Specifically, in the jump from 7.3 to 8 and 9 the modified the IP header with a parity bit designed to set the hop count to +1. The 7.3 started with an even parity, the later version started with odd. Ordinairly you'd think it wouldn't make a difference (does a long trip start any different with the left or right foot?), but there is a bug in most Cisco code that assumes the even parity on initial hops. This can be exploited, granted mostly by internal users, but as such I can't recommend any version of Red Hat other than 7.3.

What My Organization Did: (5, Interesting)

Captain Tenille (250795) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153798)

We started using FreeBSD. It's stable, doesn't cost a bundle, and isn't dependent on .rpm's. Just my thought.

Re:What My Organization Did: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153878)

For the record, it's also Free. Not that this matters if you're talking about using the software for internal enterprise systems, but it becomes important if your business has anything to do with software development.

Re:What My Organization Did: (1, Troll)

rkz (667993) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153897)

Yeah thats a better idea than red hat, but debian [debian.org] is something you should consider if your have some hardware that is not supported by FREEbsd.

And then again while were talking about options you could always try Windows Server 2003 [microsoft.com] I've tried this out on a spare machine and it certainly lives up to the hype.

Re:What My Organization Did: (3, Insightful)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153915)

Seriously, if you don't need Redhat support and don't want their Enterprise features, why would you use Redhat on a server? *BSD or Debian would be more reliable, and Gentoo, LFS, or Debian would be much more customizable.

Re:What My Organization Did: (2, Informative)

codeguy007 (179016) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154027)

Gentoo is a source distribution. I really wouldn't want to administer a big enterprise network by building packages all the time and building packages on an Enterprise class server is just a waste of server resources. The server is suppose to be serving and not compiling.

Sure I can dedicate one machine to compiling but in the end I am redoing work that is already done for me.

benefits (3, Informative)

frieked (187664) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153803)

I think there's more to it than just some support and a 5 year lifetime... Enterprise addition will support many things that the other versions do not: 2 CPU's & massive amounts of memory for example [redhat.com]

Re:benefits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153844)

It's Linux, and it's open source. I think if they don't need support, then they know how to compile a new kernel, and get packages that have the support.

Re:benefits Odd. (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153894)

Why would they charge more for SMP and Memory > 4 Gig? I could have sworn that SMP was available in the standard kernel and that the Memory > 4 was just a patch.
Of you have the talent in house and do not need support then I would suggest Gentoo? Or maybe SuSE if you want commercial support.

Re:benefits (1)

ilctoh (620875) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153965)

But, if you have the in-house talent, I'm sure you could get dual procs and lots of memory working with the standard RedHat downloads - since its open source, and all.

Re:benefits (1)

butane_bob2003 (632007) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153969)

Dont know, I'm running SMP on a vanilla consumer version (dual p3). Have not tried large memory support, but who is to say I couldnt? I think this guy is looking for a reason to use a package that is designated 'enterprise' but cant find one. I can't either, I believe it is a sales tactic. What isnt?

Re:benefits (1)

jbridleman (9978) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153972)

... support many things that the other versions do not: 2 CPU's & ...

I've been running SMP kernels since 5.2

Re:benefits (2, Informative)

sflory (2747) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153988)

Uhhhh right. Have you ever heard of the kernel-smp, or the kernel-bigmem packages? Every redhat in the past few year has supported more than 2 cpu's and large amoutn of memory.

rpm -qip kernel-bigmem-2.4.20-8.i686.rpm

Summary : The Linux Kernel for machines with more than 4 Gigabyte of memory.
Description :
This package includes a kernel that has appropriate configuration options
enabled for Pentium III machines with 4 Gigabyte of memory or more.

rpm -qip kernel-smp-2.4.20-8.i686.rpm

Summary : The Linux kernel compiled for SMP machines.
Description :
This package includes a SMP version of the Linux kernel. It is
required only on machines with two or more CPUs, although it should
work fine on single-CPU boxes.

Re:benefits (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153998)

The consumer versions have SMP and BIGMEM support. Maybe not at the same time, 'tho.

IMHO, you answered your own question (5, Insightful)

aborchers (471342) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153804)

When you said


As a long time Linux system administrator, I feel that this is a sales tactic and that there really is no compelling reason for us to ever use the 'enterprise' version.


Re:IMHO, you answered your own question (1)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153818)

He answered his own question a second time:

....we have enough in-house talent to not need Red Hat....

Neither (4, Funny)

Surak (18578) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153808)

You should choose neither! There is no Red Hat Advanced Server! They have taken all of their enterprise server capabilities from our product! We have sued the Red Hat Infadels out of existence! You will all be running SCO Unix soon!

-- SCO Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf

Re:Neither (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153932)

Okay, this was funny, and then it was old and lame. Did it somehow cross over into being funny again at some point, and nobody told me?

Re:Neither (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6154006)

Actually, it was never funny. But to answer your questions, karma whores like this guy save any comment that was rate 4+, store it away for later use.

Once it has died down, you bring it back out... and BAM! Instant karma. It's sick really, but that is how this type of whore works it.

Don't let him fool you either, read his journal. He is a troll as well.

Asshole (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153942)

You're being an asshole, give this guy a break. He did his job, just look at bush and the other assholes who lied. Propaganda is propaganda.

Re:Neither (3, Funny)

wfberg (24378) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153987)


You should choose neither! There is no Red Hat Advanced Server! They have taken all of their enterprise server capabilities from our product! We have sued the Red Hat Infadels out of existence! You will all be running SCO Unix soon!


OK, who let loose the debian zealot? What the.. SCO? Who are they? Am I missing something?

I think its more about RPMs and patches (2, Insightful)

AlbanySux (248858) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153820)

If you don't care about using their patches and updated RPMs then you don't need 5 years of support. But if you don't want to have to compile the src on every server or do your own patching some other way then the "consumer" version is not thw way to go. They tend to stop releasing patched RPM's after a while.

Get a Real OS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153824)

Something from Redmond, not that OSS crap.

Re:Get a Real OS (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153913)

I'll get a "Real" OS from Redmond when they offer one. When will that be?

Smoke and Mirrors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153829)

When you buy Enterprise, you are buying support. Redhat won't support the free product at their expense, obviously.

The Enterprise product includes these additional features over the basic product:

Systems Search/Package Profile Comparison - Search through systems based on a number of criteria: packages, networking information, even hardware asset tags.

Systems Grouping - Develop groups of systems for easier administration and maintenance. Allows maintenance of groups rather than individual systems.

Multiple Administators - Administators may be given the rights to particular systems groups, easing the burden of systems management over large organizations.

If you don't need that functionality, don't buy it.

That depends (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153836)

If you plan to use Red Hat's support services, then use the "Enterprise" edition but if you are using self support, then use whatever version you like.

If you have to ask... (1)

howardjp (5458) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153838)

Then you probably do not have the in-house talent after all. I suggest finding a commercial OS like Solaris, HP/UX. Or FreeBSD, then you won't need to worry about support.

go with RH 9 (3, Informative)

adamruck (638131) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153842)

ive tried pretty much all of the RH versions, and I find that RH 9 is the best. I have never had a single crash once, ive never had any trouble with any of the configuration utilities, and ive never had to mess around with hardware issues(kernel modules and so on). It might just be that RH 9 suits the hardware im using very well, but I cant say the same things about any of the previous versions. Well thats my suggestion.

Re:go with RH 9 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153934)

I have never had a single crash

Guess you never use KDE or GNOME then?

Why bother at all? (5, Insightful)

TCM (130219) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153843)

If you really have enough in-house talent to not need Red Hat support why bother with Red Hat on a commercial level at all? Just download one of their ISOs (that is possible, right?) - or any other distribution for that matter - and do it all yourself. Correct me if I'm wrong but the number one reason to actually pay for a Linux distribution is the support that comes with it, isn't it?

Re:Why bother at all? (1)

adamruck (638131) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153907)

well.. you get some cool stickers as well

not only do you get customer support, you know that OS your getting isn't infected with anything nasty, I try not to download from mirrors. I understand there is the md5sum and all, but its still nice to know that there is 0 percent chance of any bad data.

Re:Why bother at all? (1)

TCM (130219) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154023)

A matching MD5 checksum together with matching file sizes is as good as a 0 percent chance of any bad data.

Not even the worst paranoia is a reason not to use a mirror together with a vendor-provided md5sum.

Re:Why bother at all? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6154026)

Yeah, zero chance of bad data. Same goes for my dos 3.3 disks that came with the stoned virus pre-installed, or MS accidentally infecting foreign cd's of w2k with nimda?

Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153847)

If you have enough in house talent, why aren't you using slack?

What about a source based? (1, Informative)

HowlinMad (220943) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153848)

You could roll your own, ala Gentoo or LFS. Since you are bound to have many server or workstations that will need the same packages, you could have a machine(s) dedicated to creating the environment you want, and then distribute it from there. No need to compile on each machine. This will be streamlined, and potentially more secure. Of course this could be way more work than you are will to put in.

Re:What about a source based? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153920)

Um yes, much more work. Have you ever administered a large business network?

Re:What about a source based? (1)

spencerogden (49254) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154008)

I don't see why gentoo would be much more work for a large business than Red Hat. Both need automated updates, but updating gentoo seems just as easy as updating red hat.

Are you writing custom applications? (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153850)

If you are, you may need support for many years for that OS version 9.x. There can be libraries that your application relies upon, but those older-version libraries might not be present in newer versions of the software that contain exploits you would want to patch, or features you might like to build around.

Food for thought.

And if you don't need Red Hat's service plan... why not just run Debian -> Stable?

Stability (2, Informative)

dontkillme (577915) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153852)

After using Redhat 8, and then redhat 9, I can definately say that their talk about stability/bleeding-edginess of their consumer versions is true so maybe the rest of what they're talking about is too. You will definately want to ensure that whatever version of Redhat you choose is compatible with whatever software you're using. For instance, I use a perlTK app at work, the version that came with Redhat 8 AND 9 was missing things and wouldn't run the app. CPAN also refused to work, in the end I had to use a third party rpm to get my app working. However, once it got going it seemed to be fine. Just make sure what you want to run is compatible, setup a test box maybe, I mean you can't lose by using the free version to test it then decide from there.

RED HAT IS TEH GH3Y! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153854)

USE WIND0WS. Recommended by Microsoft Corporation.

Secure, Stable, Reliable.

FUCK OFF. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6154013)

filler:

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Security Patches (5, Interesting)

DreadSpoon (653424) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153857)

The lifetime applies to security patches, which is a good point to consider - are your experts up to keeping usable RPMs ready for any and all security vulnerabilities releases, across a variety of RHL products?

There's also application support to consider; the "hobbyist" version of RHL breaks binary compatibility ever other version these days, it seems. Depending on how much non-Free software you want to install, this could be a problem.

Finally, the hobbyist RHL releases tend to have lots of instabilities. There are at least several glaringly obvious major problems in every release. I haven't used an Enterprise RHL, so I can't attest that they are any better; you may find with some experimentation tho that the Enterprise RHL releases are more stable and polished, and wont take as much of your experts' time in fixing dumb distro errors.

same situation here... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153858)

Well, my org was using Red Hat 7.x, plus the $60/yr Red Hat Network stuff keeping everything up to date. When RH announced their end-of-life policy, that meant we had to upgrade a bunch of monitorless machines, we had to be physically present to do it (can't do it over the network), and we'd have to do it every year.

Our solution?

All machines now run FreeBSD and are kept up to date with CVSup. No more corporate BS. The saved $60/yr/machine covers the cost of an admin running "make buildworld" every now and then.

Once you get BSD set up just right with your make.conf and stuff like that, it's so easy to keep up to date.

I'd recommend this (or one of the Linux distros that use similar tech like Gentoo or Debian). Red Hat has made life difficult for anybody between "hobbyist" and "enterprise" .. which is a lot of folks.

Buy the Enterprise one... (2, Insightful)

xutopia (469129) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153859)

..and support linux. That way you are sure not going to miss out on anything that could be in the enterprise version.

What you need (1)

El Pollo Loco (562236) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153860)

If you see no reason to use enterprise, then don't. In that case, go with the least complex distro they have. At the very least, it might save you troubleshooting headaches later on. Perhaps put half on enterprise, in case you need the additional features, and half on the others.

Upgrade every year? (5, Insightful)

orev (71566) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153861)

Think about a mission critical system that needs to run 24x7. Every time you have to apply a patch or upgrade the system, that's downtime you can't afford.

"Enterprise" servers are one's that just work and you don't have to mess with them. That is contrary to what most sysadmins like to do with systems - that is, mess with them constantly.

Versions (5, Interesting)

ceswiedler (165311) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153863)

You answered your question yourself. If you don't want long-term Red Hat enterprise support, then go for the consumer releases. If you have enough expertise in-house to support it yourself, then great. Frankly, I would be surprised if any large organization would choose to do such a thing. Relying on hacker-experience in house is dangerous, unless you have a mammoth internal training program. The cost of enterprise-level support is far less than the cost of enterprise-level downtime. And that's not a sales pitch.

Furthermore...do you ever hear of large companies buying commercial Unixes (AIX, HP-UX, Solaris) without support contracts? Do they ever say, "we have lots of people who know unix...why do we need support?" It's the exact same thing. When it comes to support, it really doesn't matter if it's Open Source or not. It's still a big complex product which can't be allowed to break.

The advantage of Open Source comes in when you want a customized version of Red Hat deployed. You can rewrite and recompile the kernel and all applications to suit your needs. In that case, I doubt any external support organization would be able to help you.

Hardware compatibility (1)

John Paul Jones (151355) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153865)

It's really a matter of hardware and longer development cycles. For instance, it's hard to get HP FC HBA drivers for RH8/9, but drivers for RH AS 2.1 are available. This is true for a number of HBA vendors. The same can be said for other vendor provided drivers. They don't want to release binary-only modules for 15 revs of the kernel if they don't have to.

The other side is the longer release cycle. A server doesn't need everything and the kitchen sync, but relies upon the viability of the core applications. On AS, this code is arguably more stable, and minimizes the "extra" code. Also, anyone doing Oracle on Linux needs AS 2.1, hands down.

For a simple webserver, sure; RH 8/9 is fine. For production database and application servers, I'd go for Advanced Server any day.

Consider long term planning (2, Insightful)

slacker775 (611528) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153866)

If you don't stick close to the stock RH packages (roll your own kernel or apache, etc), there would really be no reason to go with a support plan, etc. If you stick closely to the RH packages, roll your own RPMS etc, it may be helpful to go with Advanced Server or the like. One thing to consider is if your org will be the same 5-6 years down the road as it is today. If it is a nice small shop that doesn't change a lot, it may very well be. If it is a traditional corporate environment, your dept may be filled with bean-heads in the next few years and it may be very helpful to leave them with a more vendor maintained rev with a support plan.

In 5 years... (5, Insightful)

NathanE (3144) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153867)

I think one thing to keep in mind is what will your tech department look like in 5 years. Shoot, 5 years ago who would have guessed things would be like they are now? Say your staff is halved in 5 years for whatever reason. Will not having official support matter at that time? I'm not trying to advocate buying Advanced Server, but you should at least keep in mind that crazy things can happen over the course of 5 years.

To some, the extra money is well worth the insurance you get.

For what it's worth (5, Insightful)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153869)

For what my opinion it worth... We've got about 200 workstations (a decent enough size network) and we've got several RH servers... we standardize on every 3rd release (6.2, 7.2, and now 9) and don't have any problems. We've got redhat network subscriptions for updates and everything is rock solid. I see no need for "enterprise editions." Upgrading the servers every few years before end of life isn't that horrible for us... And there's usually compelling reasons like journaled file systems and new versions of ssh that justify it.

But you need to evaluate your own needs obviously.

It depends (4, Insightful)

darthtuttle (448989) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153873)

It depends on how much you rely on RedHat after you install the product, and how much the company wants to continue to do that.

First remember to think in terms of the company. While you and your fellow admins might be uber-gurus you might not be with the company forever. Will they find other slashdot reading uber-gurus to replace you, or will they be left with less capable people?

Then consider what you do on your own. Do you install RPMs from RedHat, or do you "use the source"? Do you update your own kernel? What do you do if there's a security flaw or bug in a software package? Do you use the source or the RPM.

RedHat offers an attractive model for companies who don't want to depend on having "Bob the admin" around and would rather depend on the idea that "RedHat" will be around (the former usually isn't there as long as is around.)

Everyone company has a different culture and answer, those are some of the questions to consider.

Re:It depends (2, Insightful)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154022)

> First remember to think in terms of the company. While you and your fellow admins might be uber-gurus you might not be with the company forever. Will they find other slashdot reading uber-gurus to replace you, or will they be left with less capable people?

In other words, untill the job market/econmy turns around. Drop RH. To easy to write yourself out of a job.

LFS should be a good start. Also, don't document anything! This way at minimum they have to keep you around to train your replacement.

REDHAT 9 sucks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153876)

They pulled out some really stupid in house

kernel hacks, changed int types from 16 bit to 32 bit
which destroyed backwards compatibility for
python and tcl and caused memory inflation
problems out the wazoo.

Aside from this bugfest,RH is a historically
brain challenged distribution with prejudicial
tendencies reminiscent of MicroSoft.

SuSE is very nice.

Re:REDHAT 9 sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153990)

changed int types from 16 bit to 32 bit

maybe im wrong but any computer past a 386 has 32 bit ints, so I guess what im really trying to say is who cares?

Support for Oracle... (5, Informative)

nyc_paladin (534862) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153880)

I know that if you have Oracle in your environment, Red Hat is going to push you to use Advance Server 2.1. Too be honest there is not really that much difference between the two except how they configured the kernel and advance server is specialized for clustering. Which you can do on your own. But if you are looking for support for products like Oracle or any other corporate solutions go with advance server. If you are just using it for email, web server, file server, etc (isn't linux wonderful) then stick with the "consumer version". It's cheaper.

StO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153885)

At my office it is Red Hat 2.1 all the way. It is part of our "Security through Obscurity" initiative.

Given the history of redshirts on the Enterprise.. (-1, Redundant)

mcjulio (68237) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153891)

I don't think red hats are a good idea at all. Ever.

Benefits (there are some) (2, Informative)

RedShodan (157729) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153906)

If you ever want to run an Itanium2 with Linux you'll need Redhat Advanced Server. And cough up the dough too. For both the machine and the software license. Intel did a deal with Redhat to give first shot at itanium2's for porting. And with an Itanium2 there is a lot of porting to be done.

I'd personaly go with an opteron myself. You dont need to reorganize your software for the architecture so it will run efficiently. Also you are not tied to Intels linux compilers which are pretty poor quality for the itanium2. Gcc has been ported to the itanium2, but it has not been optimized well yet. And Intels compiler is just very very buggy.

Why RedHat? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153911)

Linux is about freedom of choice, why you ask about just 2 redhat flavors?

If you want an "enterprise" distribution, well, I suppose that you want to run there certified software (like i.e. Oracle), and then you should see for what distributions that software is certified to choose from (for the Oracle example, probably will be RedHat Advanced Server and United Linux in general).

If you don't meant to run certified software, and have knowledgable people there, well, probably most properly maintained distributions will do the work.

Enterprise Not Needed (1)

codeguy007 (179016) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153917)

I really don't think you need enterprise. If you want stable just go with RedHat 7.3. If you want some newer cutting edge stuff than look at 9 and avoid 8 at all costs.

With your inhouse talent you don't need the extra support anyway. If you are worried about updates run a local mirror and have the systems pull the updates from there using apt-rpm. There's no reason to pay for an up2date account.

And finally join the RedHat update/security mailinglist. You will be informed of any updates as they are released. So you'll know when you need to sync up your mirror and do updates.

How lazy are you, exactly? (1)

FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153922)

I found a whitepaper [redhat.com] which answers that question on the front page of Red Hat's site [redhat.com]. But, here's their summary:

The Product Family Comparison table on the following pages detail the differences between the Red Hat Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux product families. The most important differences are as follows:

Product Focus: Red Hat Linux products are designed for the Open Source movement and home/personal user. These low-cost products feature the latest technologies and provide a means for them to be exposed to the general public for extensive testing. Meanwhile Red Hat Enterprise Linux products provide fully matured and stable technologies that are specifically targeted for commercial usage.

Product Release Cycle: Red Hat Linux products are released every 4-6 months. This is necessary to keep up to date with the latest Open Source code, but is too rapid for both commercial IT deployments and for our ISV and OEM parters to keep up with. Red Hat Enterprise Linux products are released on a 12-18 month schedule, giving time for customers to plan and execute upgrades and Red Hat's partners to certify and sell their products.

Product Support: Red Hat Enterprise Linux products are provided with a full year of support services, renewable for up to five years. This includes upgrades, unlimited-incident remedial support and access to errata/patches and updates. These support services are a vital requirement for any commercial IT deployment. Meanwhile, the rapidly changing Red Hat Linux products are provided with 30-60 days of support, and a maximum of one year of errata/patch availability (from initial product release).

Product Certifications: As noted above, the 4-6 monthly release cycle of the Red Hat Linux products proved to be too rapid for Red Hat's ISV and OEM partners, so commercial customers were often unable to obtain certified solutions from vendors. The slower release cycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux products enables ISVs and OEMs to provide fully certified hardware and software solutions.

Benchmarks: Prior to the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux products there were very few audited performance benchmarks available for Linux. The rapid release cycle of consumer-focused products makes benchmarking impractical. Red Hat Enterprise Linux products have multiple audited benchmark results, including several world records.

RH Enterprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153926)

If you have the talent, don't worry about it. Just make sure that the talent never leaves, and that management will back you up on open source initiatives. My organization makes a "big" deal on having a number to call. They just haven't worked with technical support people enough to know that having someone on the other line who can't answer your question is frustrating. I like to figure things out myself.

Alternate options (1)

dev_sda (533180) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153928)

If you are extremely familiar with Red Hat and you feel like your inhouse is skilled enough with Linux than I would heartily recommend Gentoo [gentoo.org] -- the package management system make the administration of multiple systems exceedingly easy.

As a warning, they do not recommend it for servers, simply because of the way portage behaves by default, but with a little hands on effort, you can easily establish a consistent software footprint throughout your enterprise. Its worked great for us in anycase.

Re:Alternate options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153986)

you forgot to add "Tried, tested and true. Ready for mission-critical applications.

Oh wait, your talking about gentoo.
nevermind

Plain 8 vs. AS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153930)

We had various i/o and hardware related issues with AS. Plain one worked just fine.

Who knows - supposed to be the other way. But I think the issue is that AS being more "stable" and "tested" might not include the latest and greatest hw support and kernel features.

Enterprise edition (1)

cp5i6 (544080) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153936)

supports 64 bit itaniums too if you need em

that and they have the 24/7 "I fucked up" support

the consumer one relies on calling slashdot users for help

HOLY FUXKING SHIT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153940)

are you geeks really discussing redshat like this?

It's not entirely a sales tactic. (4, Insightful)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153950)

Not every organization, large or otherwise, has the in-house talent to do their own open-source maintenance and support. Maybe they have most of their machines running Windows, maybe not.

Beyond that, a lot of experienced tech executives, having been burned by a lack of support in the past, are not going to chance it without a service contract like the one Enterprise offers.

The arguments for and against are like the arguments for and against buying insurance, because the support contract is a form of insurance. You will never convince me that the full coverage I pay for on my vehicle isn't worth it, because at the moment my car was stolen and totalled, I received more money back than I'd ever paid the insurance company. On the other hand, you'll never convince my girlfriend -- who drives an '83 Accord -- that anything other than the minimum liability insurance the law requires is necessary.

We're both right, because our situations are different.

If you don't need support, why use RedHat? (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153952)

If you really don't need support, why are you using Red Hat Linux at all? I'd think it'd be worth switching to debian-stable... All the stability of Red Hat Enterprise, plus you get to avoid RPM and sendmail.

It Doesn't Matter. They All Suck. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153955)

Run Solaris.

Listen to my fascinating opinion (1)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153964)

It seems like the best reason to use the enterprise edition is the 24-7 service, or at least that's the one feature that IT executives will pay big money for. Then there's the 1 year subscription to the red hat network.

Other than that, the EE features only take advantage of 2+ processor machines and IA64 architectures, which aren't necessarily essential for most business applications.

I think any reasonably talented system admin can save you the expense of the other enterprise features.

Stable Software *is* worth money. (2, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153967)

There is a significant difference between the correct stability/reliability tradeoff for a desktop/hobbyist operating system and a production server operating system.

This difference is especially apparent with Linux distributions. A distribution intended for desktop use will, by nessisity, include unstable software and libraries so as to allow constantly-unstable software like media players to work. On the other hand, a server distribution will run tested, stable versions of everything.

If Red Hat is actually claiming 5 year product lifetimes for their server products then it's probably worth getting them. That will allow you to not do a reinstall until your application needs a OS upgrade - instead of needing to reinstall because Red Hat no longer supports the old version.

Which do we use? (2, Interesting)

matth (22742) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153973)

We have several servers running 7.3.. They run just fine. it's linux and really as long as you keep your apps and kernel up2date everything is fine. The only advantage I can see to upgrading to another version of RH is the apps that come along with it. So if the server is running RH7.3 with all patches and software upgrades on it.. I say let it run. In fact my OS of choice for servers is RH7.3 because I feel that anything above that is starting to become bloat ware. I just install 7.3.. do up2dates and customize to my liking. Has worked well so far.

GRRRRRRRR..... (4, Funny)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153974)



As one who works somewhere where the pointy haired idiots don't even want to hear the word Linux, I would kill to have your problems.

Quit whining and pick one you lucky little bastard.

Re:GRRRRRRRR..... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154015)

Thats what Im saying!!! If you have enough in-house talent to T/S any issue with RH Linux and new patches/bug fixes/distros... go for the cheaper option.

A Debian GNU/Linux system sounds much better ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153976)

Then you don't pay for "Support" that in the vast majority of cases you don't need.

Some IT managers are scared of non-commerical distros though. It is almost like they feel they need to pay someone ;)

There's more to it than just Red Hat's support... (3, Insightful)

gak313 (131789) | more than 10 years ago | (#6153980)

In my organization, we use Oracle applications (Collaboration Suite, iFiles, etc.), and Oracle will not support installations on any Linux distribution other than AS 2.1. The way that they package updates and installers makes it impossible to use anything else. My point is that you need to look at the requirements of any software you may be running before making a decision.

Consumer version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153984)

You said you were a Linux sysadmin, so I'm sure you know just how stable RHx can be. I can't imagine what more the Enterprise edition offers in terms of stability. My honest opinion is that RedHat is selling a similar product to companies that are paranoid about stability. I don't think it'll make too much of a difference.

trust the big mouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6153994)

This guy was telling you to run for your life
while you still had something to hang on to:

"A Red Hat salesman recently told us that the
'consumer' version of Red Hat was mostly for
hackers and hobbyists who weren't concerned
about stability..."

For god's sake, install Slackware before it's
too late!

This is a management question (4, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154003)

I think from an administration standpoint, you're right on. But you might want to look at it from a management perspective.

What makes your boss feel more secure? Is your boss the kind to totally trust you and your judgement, or do they like to see some 'backup'?

Also, would you like to be totally on your own, or would you like to be able to say "Know what? I'm sick of this problem!" and call up Red Hat support? This could be helpful in shifting blame away from yourself.

Use Advanced Server (1)

SamDrake (651779) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154005)

Do you use any commercial, 3rd party software on those Red Hat boxes? If so, you'll be better off using Advanced Server. It's a major league pain for ISVs to support 3 or 4 Red Had "hobbyist" releases per year; a more stable release stream more like a commercial OS is a blessing for ISVs. I'd rather support 4 flavors of Linux than 25.

Straight from the source (4, Interesting)

T5 (308759) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154010)

I've been told straight out from the RH sales folks that they really couldn't care less about the "comsumer"/free as in beer version of RH. They don't believe that market penetration at the desktop level for general use is where they need to devote resources, therefore, they're going for the server and high-performance workstation market. Thus, we have the Enterprise AS/ES/WS products, with long-term support and more attention/quality focus. I for one like this idea of 5-year support cycles, but am worried about the increased costs, in particular at the workstation level.

I'm in the same situation as the article poster. I'm running 6.2 up to AS as well, and am somewhat confused as to what I will do with my workstation users. There's little to no economic incentive to prefer Enterprise WS over WXP. RH 7.3 and 8.0 lose support at the end of this year, and I'm not sure that 9's support will last much beyond that. It seems that the "comsumer" grade products will have only about a year of support. And, with no "apt-get dist-upgrade" equivalent, I'd have to visit these boxes personally to perform upgrades. In some cases, that's impossible for me to do, as they're embedded all over the country in remote-sensing applications.

Gentoo is better. (-1)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 10 years ago | (#6154025)

As a certified cybersecurity expert, I must warn you: Red Hat is garbage. For your sake, you should use a distribution that lets you compile everything from source, just like God (RMS) intended. That's why, in my opinion, Gentoo GNU/Linux is the best GNU/Linux ever created. Using any other GNU/Linux is unacceptable.

worried? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6154029)

Worried that if they buy Redhat Advanced Server, they won't need YOU???
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