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Centos vs FreeBSD on Quad Core systems

Posted on 2008-10-08
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Hi X-perts,

I am finally moving to a new server and need some more recommendations which OS to select. This is the server spec:

Core2 Quad 2.4Ghz (or 2.66); 2GB Ram; 320GB SATA

i have a choice of FreeBSD 6 or Centos 5 (32 bits or 64 bits). There are my considerations:

1) Centos kernel better performs on quad systems than FreeBSD. I have seen  great benchmark charts of FreeBSD 7, but it is not yet compatible with Plesk (I wanted to have Plesk anyway)

2) freeBSD has some better security out-of-the box and easier to configure (may be it is not true, because I have been using freebsd and not linux before)

3) Freebsd has better performance on single core systems, but sin ce i am getting quad core, it is not a case

So, would be a right choice to go for centos?

If yes, which "unnecessary" options would be recommended to disable? I have seen many references that centos out-of-the-box comes with a lot of extra options that cold be disabled to increase performance

Any ideas would be appreciated
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Question by:andy7789
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by:urgoll
urgoll earned 400 total points
ID: 22675620
I think the right OS choice is that one you have the most experience and are the most confortable with.

Performance will likely be similar. CentOS may be faster, but the difference is not going to be an order of magnitude. Of course, that depends on your specific application.


However, securing a server requires knowledge and experience, so the right choice is the one you know. Since it appears you have a lot more experience with FreeBSD, you will be better able to secure and tweak that.

One comment, though: if your hardware is 64bit capable, install a 64bit OS. That will give you more performance.

Regards,
Christophe
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by:wesly_chen
ID: 22675754
For Pleak, base on their website, it has better support on Linux distribution than FreeBSD
http://www.parallels.com/products/plesk/reqs/

So I would recommend you go for CentOS for furhter upgrade or support from Pleak.

64bit is definitely highly recommended even though you have only 2GB memory so far.
64bit kernel treat all the memory as low memory so the performance is better specially compare to access the high memory on 32bit OS.

For security, there are a lot of Security guides for RHEL or CentOS you can download from website. i.e.
http://www.linux-books.us/download.php5?f=cos_security_guide.zip
http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/RHEL-4-Manual/en-US/Security_Guide/
...
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Author Comment

by:andy7789
ID: 22676079
yes, i do have an option to configure it with 64 bits Centos.

What about installations of applications like ModSecurity - any potential problems on centos comparing to freebsd?
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by:wesly_chen
ID: 22676171
It should be fine on CentOS.
Here is the binary rpm of ModSecruity for CentOS.
http://www.jasonlitka.com/yum-repository/
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by:andy7789
ID: 22676283
sorry, i do not get it. are you suggesting that to install a single mod security I will have to install and keep updated ALL rpms of that guy jasonlitka.com?

This is the way he is suggesting to keep everything updated...

There are two mod security rpms at http://www.jasonlitka.com/media/EL4/x86_64/

Probably I could just install these unless there are some linked libraries
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by:wesly_chen
wesly_chen earned 400 total points
ID: 22676597
Well, the security concern is not based on the OS or application itself,  especially when you are good at it.
The security relies on how you configure the OS and the application. Even though it is the tool to make the sytem or application more security, it is still not secure if you misconfigure or not configure this tool well.

I beleive that you have a lot of web hosting experience with security background.
So far, I have not see any major security issue on CentOS, especially CentOS 5.
FreeBSD is reliable, too.

My point for security is it doesn't matter which platform you choose, it will be secure enough if you configure it right.
As for performance, the third party benchmark is just for reference. Your application or configuration will be unique so
those benchmark number won't reflect your realy condition in 70%.

So my take will be your major application support, that's what I recommended CentOS for Pleak.
If you are more familiar with FreeBSD, then urgoll said, it will be more secure to choose the platform you are good at because you know how to configure it securely.
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by:
Rance_Hall earned 1200 total points
ID: 22682358
andy7789:

Two words of caution:

Freebsd and centos are very different, freebsd's ports tree is based on you being able to compile packages from source based on environment variables set in your make.conf files

Gentoo linux does the same thing, only on gentoo they are called USE variables

Centos is a binary package distro, which means that you never have to even see the source if you dont want to.

the problem with this approach when going back and forth between FreeBSD and CentOS is that the binary package install tools (rpm) is based on repositories.  (places on the internet where you can go to get a PARTIAL list of packages to install.

repositories can have priority search orders, etc.

boiling it down, when you have your repositories configured correctly updating centos is as simple as

yum update

and yum update will connect to every repository you defined, look for new packages, and if it finds them, it will download and install them for you.

you install packages with yum install <package-name>

------------------------------------------------

Google for CENTOS MINIMAL INSTALL  and follow the hints on how to avoid much of the bloat that is linux.

you wont avoid it all, but then again, you dont avoid bload with FreeBSD. I still think that a minimal install of FreeBSD is a bloated pig and there is crap in the core like bind, and lpr that should have NEVER been there in the first place.



Just one new thing to wrap your mind around before you can put a centos server into production.


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