I know that many people are not so happy about frequent version changes. Especially when latest version of PHP or MySQL that you are stick to is no longer available in your repository (in my situation it is REMI) but you have to install a new server with some PHP/MySQL packages of a version a little bit lower (older/earlier) from thus that available in repository.
Most of the time we are using the latest version of the typical Apache, PHP, MySQL on top of the Centos 5.8 GNU/Linux x86_64 operating system.
But now it takes a lot of time for our QA team to test all of our projects for compatibility with the newer versions that comes so fast that at the time we have green light from QA team to update PHP and/or MySQL and/or install a new server with that particular versions, we discover that it already become obsolete and now it is superseded with more fresh version.
This is hearts especially when McAfee PCI Compliance says that our sites using potentially dangerous version of PHP and force us to upgrade all the server with the newer version of PHP.
At the current moment our default working environment consist of thus guys:
CentOS release 5.8 (Final) Linux censored.example.com 2.6.18-308.4.1.el5 #1 SMP Tue Apr 17 17:08:00 EDT 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
Server version: Apache/2.2.3 Server built: Feb 23 2012 21:16:56
PHP 5.3.13 (cli) (built: May 9 2012 16:20:57) Copyright (c) 1997-2012 The PHP Group Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2012 Zend Technologies with eAccelerator v0.9.6.1, Copyright (c) 2004-2010 eAccelerator, by eAccelerator
mysql Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.5.23, for Linux (x86_64) using readline 5.1
Local Repository/Old Versions Mirror Just make custom repository snapshot of latest installed packages so we could setup/install new servers with same packages even if they are no longer supported before we will be ready to move on. Pros & Cons: Easy installation, using same YUM commands but won't it break dependencies with other system packages that may be updated are there hidden water stones in that way?
Compile From Source Forget about YUM and RPM and go back to good old days with GCC compiler and dependency hells by using statically compiled versions. Pros & Cons: No more dependent on repository versions changes (or still do I in some indirect way?) but will have to obtain all the source code manually and have some sort of management of that stuff.
Build And Use Custom Image Just build and configure once an suitable server, take its snapshot (either as virtual machine or either its physical HD iso image) and than just expand its image on the new physical server or import virtual machine into visualization host. Pros & Cons: Surely no more headaches with version changes and dependencies but how it is reliable? Yes it is a peace of cake if we are talking about virtual machines but some time we have to deploy projects on a physical machines we have nothing but SSH access.
Accept Updates If It's Only Minor Version Change Do not worry to much about bug fixes and version changes due to critical security issues fixed that rises minor number. Just update to them ASAP. Pros & Cons: Surely McAfee PCI Compliance will be happy and so will do our clients but doesn't it is dangerous? What if it was a minor change in default PHP configuration values that we didn't overridden? Won't it be a possible total disaster?
Any suggestion dear experts?