i will get an ibm x3500 in the next days and wondered which linux i should use. i tend to use ubuntu 10.04 server, haven't heard anything bad about it and i'm a big debian fan.

there will be a raid 5 powered by the ibm hardware raid controller (don't know which one). is it possible to monitor and manage it wit hthe ubuntu 10.04 server distro? or should i go another way and choose something like redhat (haven't used it though...)?

thanks in advance


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  • Can you provide a little more detail on the expected use of the hardware? – Ophidian May 27 '10 at 18:52
  • the server will be a massive NAS with a raid 5 in it. protocols i want to use is smb, netatalk (for the macs). data will be production data from an advertising agency and backups. – trnc May 27 '10 at 18:59

In many ways, this depends on how hands-on you're willing to be with the administration and learning the underpinnings of the software.

If you want a machine that is more akin to an appliance, then OpenFiler or FreeNAS may be more appropriate for your needs. The former is based on rPath Linux, the latter on FreeBSD. Both provide web-based administration interfaces to help you set up your file server. The big win here is that you don't need learn everything about everything to do with file server configuration (this can save a lot of time). The downside is that you're giving up really fine-grained control of the system.

If you want to manually manage everything on the machine, then Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), or CentOS would all be a good selection. I would probably lean towards RHEL/CentOS because its stronger enterprise bent gives you a better chance at there being a lot of existing tools to do what you want. The documentation archive for CentOS 5 may be a good starting point to see if there's some additional tools/docs that can get you started.

If you don't want to use this as a learning situation, but just need something to work, then I would strongly suggest going the OpenFiler route.

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  • +1 for OpenFiler and FreeNAS. I haven't used them recently, but I did some testing with them a couple years ago and was impressed. – lukecyca May 27 '10 at 19:25

Choose whatever you know best. If you are a Debian fan, then use Ubuntu. I would personally choose Centos, but just because it has much better support for enterprise hardware, like RAID cards.

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Just read here. Linux flavour seems not important. As long as it supports Your hardware, it's okay. Ubuntu seems a good bet. The current ubuntu is a LTS version )long term support), which will be supported about five years. I think I will stick with it, too. Currently writing from same ubuntu (Live DVD) and having loads of fun.

The other option is to use the distro that Your admins know best, if Your're not the admin.

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If you are a Debian fan, why not use Debian? Stick with what you know in production!

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