Which OS/Distro do you use in production?

…and are there any specific reasons for your choice?

1 Like

For my own servers I run Debian, it has a massive ecosystem and is very well documented.

At work it is a mixture of Windows Server 2008 and RedHat 7(.5?). The Windows is because some of the stupid government crap requires it and RedHat because they like wasting money (that OS has caused us so many issues that just do not exist in Debian).

Personally I would rather use Illumos (one of its derivatives to be specific) as it has some of the best code, best uptime, cleanest updating, and Zones are just fantastic, like really, Illumos Zones there is just no match for, they are just fantastic. ^.^


I’ve been using CentOS in our servers for about 10 years - and it has always been rock solid, reliable and secure. The only downside (and I guess the same with Debian) is that packages are somewhat out of date. Even the kernel is 3.10 on the latest 7.3 version. (Though of course that’s precisely why they are more reliable/secure :lol:).

So… I was thinking about moving to Ubuntu. Discourse pretty much needs it as it does not work nicely with devicemapper and needs something like Aufs or OverlayFS (neither are good options on CentOS - at least not without upgrading the kernel to a non-supported version).

I’m worried about using Ubuntu tho - I know people who tried it in the past but regretted it, though that was a good few years ago.

With regards to Erlang/Elixir - are they supported equally on CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu? Or are versions outdated on the former two?

That is never something I’d say about using years-old kernels!!! o.O

I use an Ubuntu server on one of my setups, it’s like debian, since it basically is debian but with more package repo’s by default. ^.^;

They work perfectly fine on them all. :slight_smile:
Though I always compile manually so I can add in some more optimizations and system-specific things that pre-built versions do not do. But on Debian and Ubuntu the erlang-solutions repository always has the most up-to-date Erlang and Elixir both (and older versions available too if you need). No clue about CentOS. On RedHat at work I did my usual thing of compiling it manually. ^.^;

1 Like

Sorry, I meant stability/compatibility - which I believe is the reason they stick with older kernels.

With regards to Debian, I see 9.1 uses kernel 4.9 - would you recommend Debian over Ubuntu? I tried Debian once, but was short of time and it didn’t work with something so gave up on it. I think I might prefer it over Ubuntu as I hear it and CentOS are pretty similar in terms of reliability, performance and stability/security.

Debian and Ubuntu use the same packaging systems and you can use each other’s repo’s on the other. Overall Ubuntu comes with more stuff immediately accessible and is probably more widely supported that if I were to make a new server and I could only pick debian or ubuntu, I’d probably pick Ubuntu Server currently. I’m curious what you had that did not work on debian, that is not a common thing. :wink:

I think it was Webmin that didn’t work - but was a good few years ago…

Webmin works fine with debian. It is not something I use but I set it up for someone a while back and it worked fine.

1 Like

My last gig I used Alpine for all our Elixir/Erlang applications since we were running on a containerized infrastructure, so it was minimal and lightweight. The host machines ran CentOS 7, my current gig is also running on CentOS - not my favorite, but it’s stable and I haven’t really ever had trouble with it, which is pretty much exactly what you want.

+1. That or FreeBSD. Unfortunately I have yet to work at a company that shared that opinion, and I suspect that isn’t going to change any time soon.


Were they Docker containers Paul?

The main reason I am looking at alternatives is because Docker does not like Centos’s devicemapper and prefers aufs or overlayfs (which doesn’t play nice with centos).

The containers were Alpine, the hosts were CentOS 7, running Docker/Kubernetes/OpenShift. IIRC, we weren’t having any issues on CentOS with Docker, and I believe we were using devicemapper. That said, things change, and it’s possible that now things are such that they don’t play well together - I haven’t been at that job for about 8 months now, so they may have switched gears if that’s the case.

1 Like

We have a few FreeBSD legacy boxes, but everything else is either CentOS 6/7. (20 + VMs, and a few physical)

It’s pretty stable, and everything we need runs on it. Also we decided to standardize on an OS so that there’s no confusion over where to find things.

1 Like

It looks like Red Hat have introduced much better support for OverlayFS in 7.4, and the CentOS port should be out within 6 weeks.


So I should get it in redhat at work in like 2 years. ^.^;

/me would prefer Illumos Zones over that, by far…

1 Like

Well I hope the CentOS version comes out by the end of this month - my host currently has no set-up fees for the server I was going to get :lol:

1 Like

Mainly anything that i can get as the underlying Linux with Alpine docker on top of it.

But same as @OvermindDL1 and @bitwalker, if i had a choice it would be Illumos/SmartOS or FreeBSD. Interestingly, i may be able to slip a bit of Joyent into some new projects at work, so with a bit of hope…


KaOS, since it turned out to be stable as an LTS while rolling.

It is completely focused on Qt/KDE, while nearly each other distro put this stack on top of their GTK stuff, regardless how well that works. It is independent and uses Pacman as its package manager.


My daily driver is Kubuntu 16.04 LTS with root on ZFS (ZoL). I use LXD containers for various development purposes and LXD can exploit ZFS to save disk space. That way I can have different versions of databases etc. running in containers and not litter up my workstation just because I wanted to have a look at or test something. LXD is pretty slick. You can move containers easily between hosts, manage remote containers, push & pull files, and even grab a prompt in a local or remote container without using ssh.

What I use in production really depends on what the needs are and the choice is mostly Linux of some flavor and using LXD on a cloud server you can “push” a container into place from development. If you want to use ZoL in the cloud you’ll most likely have to build/install your own VM for sure but LXD can use Btrfs as easily as ZFS and Btrfs tools can convert an ext4 file system to Btrfs in a pre-installed image, so the choice is yours. Just use the same fs if you want to easily move containers around etc.

Agreed on Illumos based OS. I’m a big fan of ZFS and have been using it in some capacity for 8 yrs or so. When it comes to data retention–snapshots, send & receive can’t be beat. Once you get spoiled by that stuff there’s no going back! :smile:

OmniOS is another Illumos based OS worth having a look at.

1 Like

I thought OmniOS had basically become “abandonware” recently …

1 Like

I wan’t aware of that. Thanks for the update.

It’s probably still worth considering in certain situations, depending on your needs, especially as a storage system (which is where I had used it mostly).

1 Like