Red Hat for commercial servers, CentOS for development?

Discussion in 'General Linux' started by jhsachs, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. jhsachs

    jhsachs New Member

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    I'm trying to procure a "sandbox" server which developers at my company can use for testing. The server would run a virtual machine manager (Vsphere) and multiple instances of CentOS. The idea is that if a developer needs to test something that can't coexist with a shared testing environment, such as an installation procedure, they can set up a new VM, do their testing, and delete the VM again.


    Another person has objected to this plan because our commercial sites run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, not CentOS. This person understands that as far as the code base is concerned, RHEL and CentOS are the same. Their position is that even though the code base is the same the system itself is not the same, and testing with one version of Linux when our customers are using another one is just asking for trouble.

    Linux mavens, what do you think about this? I don't have any problem with specifying RHEL instead of CentOS if it makes a difference, but I can't see making the company spend several thousand dollars a year for licenses if it doesn't matter.
  2. Rob

    Rob Administrator Staff Member

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    Without knowing more details of what types of software you're developing to test on the sandbox area it's tough to tell if it'd make a difference or not..

    I'd assume for most cases, however, if you're using RHEL 6.2 in the production environment and CentOS 6.2 in development - and the other applications (apache, php, etc..) match up w/ the same versions - it shouldn't be a problem.

    Oh, and welcome to LinuxForum! :)
  3. grim76

    grim76 Active Member Staff Writer

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    One thing to keep in mind is that even though you have to buy Red Hat doesn't mean you need to buy the same level of support.

    We buy our Red Hat for our production servers with 24x7x365 support, but for our dev environments we buy a Business day support, or no support at all just updates. Talk to your Red Hat rep to see if there is anything that they can do to help with what you are doing.
    Rob likes this.
  4. jhsachs

    jhsachs New Member

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    The primary piece of software is a rather large LAMP application. There are a lot of other pieces related to it. There are various cron jobs that index the contents of files and do other stuff behind the curtains. Some parts of the application utilize BIRT, which implies Java and Tomcat. There is a Java browser applet in development which probably will communicate with a separate custom server, also written in Java.

    My first application for the sandbox will be debugging and documenting installation instructions for the whole software suite, including the LAMP components. To ensure that I'm working in a controlled environment, I think I'll have to start each test with virgin VM.

    And thanks for the welcome!
  5. Rob

    Rob Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd say that as long as you keep the various applications up to the same versions as the production environment (as with any dev env) the minor changes between RHEL and CentOS won't matter.

    But - I'd also take what grim said into consideration - It might be easier to keep everyone happy with a RHEL install on a cheaper license.

    AND - if you end up going the CentOS route, if something doesn't work as expected, the devs will likely bring up that its not RHEL and you'll have more work ahead of you debugging their issues ;)

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