CentOS Review

Pretty much any code targeted at Linux builds and runs without any tweaking.


What is most valuable?

The solution provides stability and standardization. CentOS is fairly faithful to the Linux Standards Base, Freedesktop.org, and POSIX. Pretty much any code targeted at Linux builds and runs without any tweaking. Hardware support is extensive and diverse.

How has it helped my organization?

It's good to have a stable server OS that many people understand in depth. It has easier to find CentOS internal experts than Microsoft Windows internal experts, for example.

What needs improvement?

Out of the box, the NFS client is weak. It needs considerable kernel tuning before it runs NFS-bound applications efficiently. Perf "goes off a cliff" long before it should with the default settings.

The auto-mounter has been unstable, although it has been getting better recently.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using CentOS 5 and 6 for seven years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

It needs a kernel tuning tool. Many settings are mysterious and require considerable forum searching.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When the NFS client becomes overloaded, due to its default queue sizes that are way too small, combined with poor scheduling algorithms, it makes the host unstable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Red Hat service is excellent. It is definitely worth the nominal license fee for access to their knowledge base.

Technical Support:

Red Hat service is excellent. It is definitely worth the nominal license fee for access to their knowledge base.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using Suse Enterprise. It was too non-standard. We often ended up fighting its mysterious "Yet Another Setup Tool" to get things installed.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward, until the need for kernel tuning arose. Then we were kind of on our own.

What about the implementation team?

We developed an installation image in-house and we distribute it to new hosts through a combination of PXE and Perforce sync.

What was our ROI?

The ROI is incalculable. We could not do our business without CentOS/Red Hat. It's the standard platform for most of our engineering tools.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Buy a Red Hat license. It's worth it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We used SLES for a few years on some hosts. We considered Ubuntu LTS, Debian Stable, and FreeBSD.

What other advice do I have?

FreeBSD may be a better choice for network intensive applications, if your apps will run on it.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

6.9
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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