What Value-Added Features Does Red Hat Bundle with Its Distro?

SFGate.com IT Director Stephane Saux concludes a series of questions and answers about a recent Linux migration project.

Q: What value-added features does Red Hat bundle with its distro?
A: Its true that going with RHEL would allow us to use Red Hat Network to update our machines. But I dont know anyone who would allow front-line production servers to be patched over the Internet. We can get the RHEL updates from CentOS with a slight delay. Whether we use RHEL or CentOS, we are first going to download the updates to a test server and observe how they do for a while before we put them on the production machines. Even if we had a satellite server in-house loaded with the Red Hat patches, we wouldnt install them on our production machines without testing them first.

Q: Once you finish the migration to CentOS 5, how often do you think you will update to new versions going forward? Five years from now will you still be running your servers with CentOS 5? A: Its quite possible that we will. Maybe CentOS 5 will be out of date by then and we will have to migrate again. But constantly updating the OS on our production servers is a lot of work. I dont know anyone who likes doing that unless they absolutely have to. So we will probably be using CentOS 5 for quite some time to come.

Q: Was it hard to choose between CentOS and RHEL?
A: No. Really the hard part of my job isnt choosing between CentOS 5 and CentOS 4 or between CentOS and Red Hat. The hard part is getting our procedures defined and in place, and getting the right people into our organization who have the skills to create and implement those procedures and then make sure they are working in production. Thats a much harder problem than just deciding what version of Linux to run.


Click here to read Part 1 of this Q&A: What Is It Like Migrating Mission Critical Servers from Paid Linux (RHEL) to Free Linux (CentOS)?