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Old 11-29-2007, 12:40 PM
Wayn0
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

Rafael Barrera Oro wrote:
First of all, thanks to everybody for sharing your experiences, very
helpful information indeed, specially now that i need some guidance.
For now, the conclusion i can reach is that Gentoo is perfectly
adequate to use on a server with the only downside of the need to have
special care with updates.
Ricardo, i find really encouraging the fact that your lab uses Gentoo
for their servers. Nevertheless it would be great if you could tell us a
little about your lab's experience with updates, which seems to be the
only issue when using Gentoo on a server.
Another thing i noticed is that some of you recommend to have a
secondary server to perform tests, i totally agree with this.
Unfortunately i do not think that having such thing will be possible
since the server will be charged to a client and i do not think they
will agree to buy a second server (even if its the right thing to do,
which i believe so), in such case, would you still recommend Gentoo?.


Mirror the setup in a virtual machine ;-)

Those things can be life savers!

--
Wayn0
--
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:54 PM
Galevsky
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

It mainly depends on your own feelings. I think that a debian stable
is a very good choice for a prod' server, but I really dislike the way
Debian manages daemon and prefer the Gentoo approach. Updates are not
painless...for sure, but you have to consider your needs first (what
tools do you need ? typical web services ? extra lib from different
languages ? any time reserved for maintenance or the server cannot be
off ?). Then, updating is not a must. Believe me, an up-to-date
machine is nice .... when you want brand new lib/features/softwares.
Do your server need to be so.. up-to-date ?

Finally, if you take time to estimate what should be updated prior to
emerge the whole world, you can plan your updates and organize the way
to go back if required.... and updates are not nightmares. (But have a
look at the handbook:
http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook-x86.xml?part=2). You
also need tools like dispatch-conf to undo easily your conf files
changes.

Gal'


On Nov 29, 2007 2:10 PM, Rafael Barrera Oro <borafael@gmail.com> wrote:
> First of all, thanks to everybody for sharing your experiences, very
> helpful information indeed, specially now that i need some guidance.
> For now, the conclusion i can reach is that Gentoo is perfectly adequate
> to use on a server with the only downside of the need to have special care
> with updates.
> Ricardo, i find really encouraging the fact that your lab uses Gentoo for
> their servers. Nevertheless it would be great if you could tell us a little
> about your lab's experience with updates, which seems to be the only issue
> when using Gentoo on a server.
> Another thing i noticed is that some of you recommend to have a secondary
> server to perform tests, i totally agree with this. Unfortunately i do not
> think that having such thing will be possible since the server will be
> charged to a client and i do not think they will agree to buy a second
> server (even if its the right thing to do, which i believe so), in such
> case, would you still recommend Gentoo?.
>
> Again, thanks to everybody for the information.
>
--
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Old 11-29-2007, 01:36 PM
Billy Holmes
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

Quoting Wayn0 <wayn0.ml@gmail.com>:


Mirror the setup in a virtual machine ;-)


linux virtualization

some links:

http://virt.kernelnewbies.org/
http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2006/01/26/xen.html

linux-vserver looks pretty neat, too

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux-VServer

--
gentoo-user@gentoo.org mailing list
 
Old 11-29-2007, 03:44 PM
Aniruddha
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

Rafael Barrera Oro wrote:
** The issue is, as you should already must have guessed,
if its a good idea to deploy Gentoo in a server. For the first time, i
have the opportunity to install Gentoo on a properly set (almost pimped
out) server and i wanted to be sure i know what i am doing before
getting on with it. Where i work at, the tradition is to go with
FreeBSD (which is, without a doubt, very stable) but since our FreeBSD
guru parted i've been juggling the idea of starting to use Gentoo on
servers instead of using it only on desktops.

** I have always found very useful stuff in www.gentoo.org, however, i have not
found a specific server side faq. Does anyone know where i could get
such documentation?



Any pointers, opinions, faqs, insights, etc will be greatly appreciated




best wishes



Rafael




Don't forget to subscribe to gentoo-announce and gentoo-server
mailinglists. And off course is Gentoo suited for server! One of the
largest Dutch social networking sites (hyves.nl) uses Gentoo Linux for
it's servers, here are the specs:



Hyves.nl servers:



450 64-bits Linux servers (Gentoo)

35 miljoen pageviews per day



http://forum.nedlinux.nl/viewtopic.php?id=25934
 
Old 11-29-2007, 03:53 PM
"Derek Bodner"
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

After having used RHEL/CentOS and Debian in the past (for a binary system, I really like Debian), I'm at the point where I get frustrated working on a non-gentoo server.* I had used Gentoo in the past, but in the last 6 months my place of employment has been deploying more and more gentoo servers.* These started off as mainly development environments, but have since used them as mailservers, postgres servers, dns servers, ldap servers, and a dhcp server.* After having used Gentoo at my employment, I converted all 3 of my personal servers* from CentOS to Gentoo.* While I love the power of portage on my desktop, it's become absolutely incredible from a server perspective.* It's the flexibility of compiling everything by hand, but far easier maintenance and ease of use.


As others have said, updates are the biggest drawback.* For the most part, I stay away from system wide updates.* I update:
- When I need an update
- When there's a security vulnerability fixed in an update


For the security vulnerabilities, setup a glsa-check weekly cron (run after an emerge sync):
http://gentoo-wiki.com/SECURITY_Getting_GLSAs_by_Email


Also, revdep-rebuild is your friend (in gentoolkit).

When you emerge something, always use emerge -av to see what is goign to be installed/re-installed.

etc-update can cause you some problems if you're not paying attention.* There have been times where I've merged a change without looking at it, because I thought I never hand-edited that config file, but in the end I did and just forgot about it (it was an init script).* It's generally a good idea to review the changes for all files that it wants to merge.


Some sysadmins worry about having a compiler installed on a production system, and there are valid reasons to be concerned, but most of those can be averted with a little extra care.* In the end, I think the worry about a compiler is sometimes overblown.


Finally, if there isn't a time of day that will be a "down" time of day traffic-wise, you may be worried about compiling apps will slow down performance on the server.* Setting up distcc and having portage use that could be a huge help.


Gentoo's a great potential system for a server.* It's really flexible, and really customizable.* The power or portage is an absolutely incredible tool, but it is slightly different than binary based GNU/Linux distros, and may require a little bit of a learning curve.* As others have said, installed it in a virtualized environment so you can test things out could be of great benefit.


----
Derek Bodner
subscribedlists@derekbodner.com

On 11/29/07, Billy Holmes <
billy@gonoph.net> wrote:Quoting Wayn0 <
wayn0.ml@gmail.com>:

> Mirror the setup in a virtual machine ;-)

linux virtualization

some links:

http://virt.kernelnewbies.org/

http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2006/01/26/xen.html

linux-vserver looks pretty neat, too

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux-VServer


--
gentoo-user@gentoo.org mailing list
 
Old 11-29-2007, 04:05 PM
Neil Bothwick
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

On Thu, 29 Nov 2007 11:53:57 -0500, Derek Bodner wrote:

> Some sysadmins worry about having a compiler installed on a production
> system, and there are valid reasons to be concerned, but most of those
> can be averted with a little extra care. In the end, I think the worry
> about a compiler is sometimes overblown.
>
> Finally, if there isn't a time of day that will be a "down" time of day
> traffic-wise, you may be worried about compiling apps will slow down
> performance on the server. Setting up distcc and having portage use
> that could be a huge help.

Both of these can be addressed by not compiling on the live server at
all. Compile on another box with FEATURES="buildpkg" and, after testing,
roll out to the live server with emerge --usepkgonly.


--
Neil Bothwick

The best things in life are free, but the expensive ones are still worth a look.
 
Old 11-29-2007, 06:09 PM
Dan Farrell
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

On Wed, 28 Nov 2007 15:01:19 -0300
"Rafael Barrera Oro" <borafael@gmail.com> wrote:

> The issue is, as you should already must have guessed, if its a
> good idea to deploy Gentoo in a server. For the first time, i have
> the opportunity to install Gentoo on a properly set (almost pimped
> out) server and i wanted to be sure i know what i am doing before
> getting on with it. Where i work at, the tradition is to go with
> FreeBSD (which is, without a doubt, very stable) but since our
> FreeBSD guru parted i've been juggling the idea of starting to use
> Gentoo on servers instead of using it only on desktops. I have always
> found very useful stuff in www.gentoo.org, however, i have not found
> a specific server side faq. Does anyone know where i could get such
> documentation?
>
> Any pointers, opinions, faqs, insights, etc will be greatly
> appreciated
>
> best wishes
>
> Rafael

I wasn't going to chime in until some real deployments have been
mentioned.

I run a home network that's pretty much gentoo-only. The server
provides DNS, DHCP, LAMP, Posfix SMTP, IMAPS (courier), TFTP (bsd),
SAMBA, NFS.

I am currently pursuing a career in IT and expect to bring up some
public servers towards the end of the year. needless to say, they'll
be running gentoo too. I don't forsee any problems.

I want to echo Ricardo's warning -- update conservatively! He's right
-- after a while, you know which packages you can update safely and
which are potential problems. Staging environment is crucial for
gentoo becasue you'll be running binaries that have never really been
tested ... or run ... ever.

That having been said, gentoo has a nice habit of providing a really
comfortable environment for the deployment of just about anything. And
unlike Fedora / Redhat, Debian, and some others I've used, there aren't
any surprises when you go to configure anything.

That, combined with it's performance and security, make gentoo the only
choice for me. It's as stable as I want to make it and I expect it to
scale well for my needs.
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:03 AM
Alan
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

> I wasn't going to chime in until some real deployments have been
> mentioned.

Ditto.

> I run a home network that's pretty much gentoo-only. The server
> provides DNS, DHCP, LAMP, Posfix SMTP, IMAPS (courier), TFTP (bsd),
> SAMBA, NFS.
>
> I am currently pursuing a career in IT and expect to bring up some
> public servers towards the end of the year. needless to say, they'll
> be running gentoo too. I don't forsee any problems.
>
> I want to echo Ricardo's warning -- update conservatively! He's right
> -- after a while, you know which packages you can update safely and
> which are potential problems. Staging environment is crucial for
> gentoo becasue you'll be running binaries that have never really been
> tested ... or run ... ever.

I run a home server under gentoo as well, which serves me fine as a
personal box, and I also run a public server which runs on a fairly
beefy server and hosts a few websites, including a TDI (the VW car)
forum which is insanely popular and we push about 250G/month on it
alone.

This used to be a debian system and was moved over to gentoo about 4
years ago when I had been spending lots of time with gentoo on my
desktop at home. I like gentoo, however I would exercise caution if
you're deploying on "real" systems.

The issue is the "updating conservatively" part mentioned above. As
anyone who has run a server that other people are depending on knows,
you REALLY want to update as little as possible. The less updates, the
less surprises and the less chance you'll somehow accidently break
someone's site doing a simple update late some night. Gentoo is still a
fairly moving target in this respect.

I upgrade packages maybe once a week and since I have fallen behind in
some, I'm scared as hell to upgrade. I still have apache 1.3 running,
and because it'd deprecated I can't update any of the packages that go
along with it, meaning that to upgrade to the latest apache files, I
have to upgrade EVERYTHING associated with apache with no really good
rollback plan. Apache, php, modules, mod_perl, etc. No biggie at all
if it's your home server, but that's potentially a lot of downtime (ie:
a couple of hours) as I compile, test, re-jig the config files, test
more, etc. I'm in the same boat with postfix, running a 2.0.x when 2.2
or 2.3 is available, glib, mysql (I did an upgrade where some new utf8
flags were enabled and suddenly a bunch of databases were invalid
because the encoding was different), postgres, sqlite (more that I'm not
sure what they link to that might be affected) and some other system
packages.

Now most likely nothing will happen on upgrade, but with some users who
do business and lots of mail of the server, I'd rather not take the chance
if the current setup is working fine.

Maybe I'm being overly paranoid and sensitive, but I've worked as a
sysadmin long enough to have seen (and caused) way more "oh oh" moments
when an upgrade of something did something it really wasn't supposed to.

The source nature of gentoo doesn't help here either. IE: I'm unable to
upgrade curl or net-snmp on my server as both of those link to php, and
because my php is "old" and non-upgradeable due to the deprecated apache
I still have installed, upgrading curl or net-snmp would (and has)
broken php and therefor apache and therefor I got a call late at night
wondering why things were suddenly broken.

Now here gentoo also made it (fairly) easy to rollback, as I just copied
curl-$newversion.ebuild to curl-$previousversion.ebuild (the old version
was long gone IIRC), recompiled and it all worked. This would have been
impossible with say, debian if a binary package had broken something as
there's no real way to backout to a package you don't have anymore (and
that exact thing bit me when my server was running debian and partially
why I switched *to* gentoo!).

So while you want to upgrade conservatively, you can't be too
conservative or else your current package versions will disappear from
out from under you.

> That having been said, gentoo has a nice habit of providing a really
> comfortable environment for the deployment of just about anything. And
> unlike Fedora / Redhat, Debian, and some others I've used, there aren't
> any surprises when you go to configure anything.

Another "yes and no" from me. The "no" part comes from package
re-organization by maintainers which bit users a while back with the
apache config re-org and before that something similar done to X. Not a
problem exclusive to gentoo, but still an issue if the distro is doing
major shifts here and there.

I hope no one thinks I'm slamming gentoo here. I really do like it and
have been running it and being a faithful user for years. I've just
also been a sysadmin long enough to be a bit paranoid about production
servers which have too many things being upgraded too often.

I think the secret is that if you run with gentoo you have to be
prepared to upgrade EVERYTHING fairly often, and not bit by bit if
you're uncomfortable with something it might be upgrading.

HTH, or at least maybe puts a different perspective on it for people.

And yes, I do plan to just bit the bullet and backup, upgrade everything
and then deal with any upgrade "pains" as they come. Just not sure
quite when

Alan


--
Alan <alan@ufies.org> - http://arcterex.net
--------------------------------------------------------------------
"Beware of computer programmers that carry screwdrivers." -- Unknown
--
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Old 12-01-2007, 09:29 AM
Eray Aslan
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

On 01.12.2007 09:03, Alan wrote:
> This used to be a debian system and was moved over to gentoo about 4
> years ago when I had been spending lots of time with gentoo on my
> desktop at home. I like gentoo, however I would exercise caution if
> you're deploying on "real" systems.

We have also moved from binary distros to Gentoo a few years ago.
Basically it was a choice between linux (gentoo) and *BSD.

[...]
> The less updates, the
> less surprises and the less chance you'll somehow accidently break
> someone's site doing a simple update late some night. Gentoo is still a
> fairly moving target in this respect.

Agree with the moving target bit.

> I think the secret is that if you run with gentoo you have to be
> prepared to upgrade EVERYTHING fairly often, and not bit by bit if
> you're uncomfortable with something it might be upgrading.

I find that there are really two relatively pain-free upgrade policies
for a production system. Either upgrade fairly often or "forklift
upgrade" i.e. remove the old server and intall the new one.

> And yes, I do plan to just bit the bullet and backup, upgrade everything
> and then deal with any upgrade "pains" as they come. Just not sure
> quite when

Good luck

--
Eray
--
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Old 12-01-2007, 02:01 PM
Billy Holmes
 
Default Gentoo on the server side

Alan wrote:
> rollback plan. Apache, php, modules, mod_perl, etc. No biggie at all
> if it's your home server, but that's potentially a lot of downtime (ie:
> a couple of hours) as I compile, test, re-jig the config files, test
> more, etc. I'm in the same boat with postfix, running a 2.0.x when 2.2
>

if you're able, I'd look at linux-vserver or something similar where you
can run a virtual machine (possibly using the same kernel), but in a
different directory. Then you can copy a few websites/databases, perform
the upgrades, fix what you need, document it (automate it), and then you
can perform the REAL update.

I had to do the same thing with the mysql upgrade from 3.x to 4.x. My
apache upgrade, I just had to redo the configs by hand. php4 to php5
might be a bit more tricky. Currently that's the reason I have php5
masked...
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