[arch-general] Arch Linux on servers?

David C. Rankin drankinatty at suddenlinkmail.com
Fri Jul 19 16:22:31 EDT 2013

On 07/09/2013 05:13 AM, M Saunders wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm writing a feature about Arch for Linux Format, a UK-based
> newsstand Linux magazine. I've been using Arch myself for a while for
> testing new app releases, and it's brilliant for that purpose.
> I'm still left wondering though: who uses it on production servers? I
> mean, the distro's overall simplicity and trimmed-down base
> installation are plus points here, but surely a rolling release poses
> problems. After installation you just want security and critical bug
> fix updates for software, and not major version bumps, right?
> www.archserver.org seems to be on hold, and I've also seen this page:
> https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Enhancing_Arch_Linux_Stability
> which has some useful tips. But it'd be interesting to hear from
> people running Arch on production servers, how well it works for them
> and what (if any) problems they've faced.
> Thanks!
> Mike


  I have run two offices with Arch production servers. The primary consideration
for looking at Arch for production boxes was the rolling-release model which
promised to eliminate the forced reinstall from version X to version X.1 in
traditional release based distros. Arch was stellar from 2009 through mid 2012
in providing seamless updates without an excessive amount of time-robbing
intervention required. Stability of the distro in this regard was a primary
consideration in remaining with Arch. Beginning with the clib change and
continuing through the initscript->systemd migration, the changes really began
to impact Arch's suitability for use in production. In my case, the last killer
was the loss of dmraid (nvidia based controller) support which was not provided
by mdraid. Whereas before, there had always been a stable upgrade path, it ended
at that point.

  Arch is just as suitable for server use as any other distro and is rock-solid.
However, Arch's priority to maintain a cutting-edge distro far outweighs any
thought of providing a broad stable upgrade path for all currently supported
hardware. If Arch has a chance to move forward to the latest "released" version
of a package that will break hardware support for some, then those 'some' are
just out of luck. This is something to be aware of before committing to build a
production server platform around Arch.

  Reinstalling a desktop if a change is necessary is painless compared to tuning
a new server.

David C. Rankin, J.D.,P.E.

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