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Gentoo for production DB server?

P: n/a
Hello:

At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?

Some background: we've been running PostgreSQL on assorted versions of
Red Hat for a couple of years. RedHat Enterprise is not an option, so we
currently have a mix of Fedora, RH 9, White Box Enterprise (a RedHat
clone), and Gentoo, and want to settle on a single distro, with White
Box and Gentoo the leading contenders. Hardware is mostly Dell PowerEdge
or white-box. I prefer to build PostgreSQL from source anyway, so
package management is not as important as stability and ease of
maintenance/updates. Most of what I've read says that Gentoo is either
the greatest thing since sliced bread or not ready for primetime; in
either case, details are sketchy. I would like to hear especially from
people who are either running Gentoo in production or have tried and
rejected it.

Thank you.

Christine Desmuke
Kansas State Historical Society
cdesmuke (at) kshs (dot) org

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Nov 23 '05 #1
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P: n/a
On Tue, 2004-08-24 at 16:33, Christine Desmuke wrote:
At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?


I used Gentoo for a long time on my home systems but I recently quit.

It's a "fun" distro as far as the options and all, and it has a great
user community for support.. but I got tired of the Gentoo developers
(whether intentional or not) pushing out new stuff marked as "stable"
when it obviously was not. The price was right and I knew going in I
wasn't getting a perfectly stable distro, but nevertheless they left me
with a broken machine on several occasions. Having a slightly faster
machine isn't worth the headaches to me personally.

For stability, db/web server usage and such, I'd go with Debian.
For features, desktop systems, etc., I'd go with Suse. 9.1 is
impressive.
For security, firewall, or router usage, I'd go with *BSD.
--
Greg Donald
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Nov 23 '05 #2

P: n/a
I've been extremely happy with my gentoo boxes. I switched from
Slackware over the past year or so after many years of Slackware
zealotry. I have nothing bad to say about using Gentoo other than I
personally wouldnt use portage/ebuilds for PostgreSQL. Personally I
always have better experiences when I download the source tarball and
install things like PostgreSQL the way the developers distribute them.

Gavin

Greg Donald wrote:
On Tue, 2004-08-24 at 16:33, Christine Desmuke wrote:

At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?


I used Gentoo for a long time on my home systems but I recently quit.

It's a "fun" distro as far as the options and all, and it has a great
user community for support.. but I got tired of the Gentoo developers
(whether intentional or not) pushing out new stuff marked as "stable"
when it obviously was not. The price was right and I knew going in I
wasn't getting a perfectly stable distro, but nevertheless they left me
with a broken machine on several occasions. Having a slightly faster
machine isn't worth the headaches to me personally.

For stability, db/web server usage and such, I'd go with Debian.
For features, desktop systems, etc., I'd go with Suse. 9.1 is
impressive.
For security, firewall, or router usage, I'd go with *BSD.

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Nov 23 '05 #3

P: n/a
Christine Desmuke wrote:
At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?


We were using Gentoo until recently on production servers, and still do
on some development machines. I've never had a problem with it, and
would recommend it if you know what you're doing; only upgrade packages
when you really need to, don't do emerge -u world/system, preferably
perform updates on an exact mirror, test well, then switch servers,
and sync up.
If you treat it kindly, Gentoo will treat you kindly.
We've now switched to RHEL3 (management decision - for support!),
which IMHO is an admin nightmare (but thats just RPM's for you).
We had to download and compile several important packages manually,
the supplied PostgreSQL was very out of date, and PHP didn't even
have PostgreSQL support builtin.
You also don't have to install tons of unused crap, like X11.

Provided you don't have management breathing down your neck about
operating system support, and you know your way around a Linux system
without a mouse, then I'd heartly recommend Gentoo.

--
Mark Gibson <gibsonm |AT| cromwell |DOT| co |DOT| uk>
Web Developer & Database Admin
Cromwell Tools Ltd.
Leicester, England.

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Nov 23 '05 #4

P: n/a
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
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Hi,

On Wed, 25 Aug 2004, Mark Gibson wrote:
We've now switched to RHEL3 (management decision - for support!),
which IMHO is an admin nightmare (but thats just RPM's for you).
We had to download and compile several important packages manually,
the supplied PostgreSQL was very out of date, and PHP didn't even
have PostgreSQL support builtin.
RPMS for RHEL 3 is available on PostgreSQL FTP mirrors...
Also, if you want PostgreSQL support in PHP, you should install php-pgsql
rpm, provided in the CDs.
You also don't have to install tons of unused crap, like X11.


Agreed :(

Regards,
- --
Devrim GUNDUZ
devrim~gunduz.org devrim.gunduz~linux.org.tr
http://www.tdmsoft.com
http://www.gunduz.org

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Nov 23 '05 #5

P: n/a
On Tue, Aug 24, 2004 at 05:01:42PM -0500, Greg Donald wrote:
On Tue, 2004-08-24 at 16:33, Christine Desmuke wrote:
At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?
I used Gentoo for a long time on my home systems but I recently quit.

It's a "fun" distro as far as the options and all, and it has a great
user community for support.. but I got tired of the Gentoo developers
(whether intentional or not) pushing out new stuff marked as "stable"
when it obviously was not. The price was right and I knew going in I


Agreed.
For stability, db/web server usage and such, I'd go with Debian.
For features, desktop systems, etc., I'd go with Suse. 9.1 is
impressive.
For security, firewall, or router usage, I'd go with *BSD.


Actually, FreeBSD is an outstanding platform for stability as well. They
offer -current, -stable, and security branches depending on how much
instability you can tolerate.
--
Jim C. Nasby, Database Consultant de*****@decibel.org
Give your computer some brain candy! www.distributed.net Team #1828

Windows: "Where do you want to go today?"
Linux: "Where do you want to go tomorrow?"
FreeBSD: "Are you guys coming, or what?"

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Nov 23 '05 #6

P: n/a
On Tue, 2004-08-24 at 15:01, Greg Donald wrote:
when it obviously was not. The price was right and I knew going in I
wasn't getting a perfectly stable distro, but nevertheless they left me
with a broken machine on several occasions. Having a slightly faster
machine isn't worth the headaches to me personally.


I too fiddled with it at home for a while. I saw a few benchmarks
showing Gentoo was actually slower than Redhat and Mandrake - then I
really wasn't sure why I was compiling for days. :) Yes, I know you
don't have to compile everything. Yes, I realize those benchmarks
weren't the most scientific.

We use Redhat in production. When it came to decision time, the only
real contenders were Redhat and Suse, because we wanted someone else to
QA our operating system (not our business focus - that would cost us
more than the OS) and we needed the best hardware vendor support. We
picked Redhat over Suse primarily because everyone in our organization
had Redhat experience (and on their desktops) but no Suse experience -
otherwise I probably would've gone with Suse. I'm really tired of poor
file system diversity on Redhat.

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Nov 23 '05 #7

P: n/a
In article <s1**********@mothra.kshs.org>, "Christine Desmuke" wrote:
Hello:

At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?

<snip>

I'm an ex-Gentoo admin, not because gentoo isn't fun, just that you need
to really really like to constantly fiddle with it to keep it happy.

The worst thing is to have not done an 'emerge world' in 2 months, only
to discover that there are now 99 pending updates.

The biggest problem is not the technology of Gentoo (the ebuild system /
portage is cool), but its the maintainers. It's very much of a
bleeding-edge atmosphere...

These days all my servers are either RHES or Debian-stable.

All in all, debian is one of the best server platforms out there in the
'free' world, IMHO.

I've been exceedingly pleased with it. I love the attention to detail
and security, and yet they still let you have plenty of customization power.

-Barry
Nov 23 '05 #8

P: n/a
Barry S wrote:
In article <s1**********@mothra.kshs.org>, "Christine Desmuke" wrote:
Hello:

At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?


<snip>

I'm an ex-Gentoo admin, not because gentoo isn't fun, just that you need
to really really like to constantly fiddle with it to keep it happy.

The worst thing is to have not done an 'emerge world' in 2 months, only
to discover that there are now 99 pending updates.


Do you was obliged to catch them ?

Gaetano


Nov 23 '05 #9

P: n/a
Barry S wrote:
In article <s1**********@mothra.kshs.org>, "Christine Desmuke" wrote:
Hello:

At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?


<snip>

I'm an ex-Gentoo admin, not because gentoo isn't fun, just that you need
to really really like to constantly fiddle with it to keep it happy.

The worst thing is to have not done an 'emerge world' in 2 months, only
to discover that there are now 99 pending updates.


Do you was obliged to catch them ?

Gaetano



Nov 23 '05 #10

P: n/a
In article <41**************@bigfoot.com>, Gaetano Mendola wrote:
Barry S wrote:
In article <s1**********@mothra.kshs.org>, "Christine Desmuke" wrote:
Hello:

At the risk of starting a flame-war, I'd like some more details on the
use of Gentoo Linux for a production PostgreSQL server. There have been
a couple of comments lately that it is not such a great idea; does
anyone have specific experience they'd be willing to share?


<snip>

I'm an ex-Gentoo admin, not because gentoo isn't fun, just that you need
to really really like to constantly fiddle with it to keep it happy.

The worst thing is to have not done an 'emerge world' in 2 months, only
to discover that there are now 99 pending updates.


Do you was obliged to catch them ?

Gaetano

Well, in a sense, yes. You see the entire reason I was updating was
because of a security patch for sshd.

The chain of dependencies in this case (eg. sshd -> glibc -> gcc),
mandated that I wound up needing to do a fairly substantial emerge.

Don't get me wrong, I like Gentoo as a technology, I just personally
think its not ready for use in production servers.

-Barry
Nov 23 '05 #11

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