[rescue] Re: [geeks] THIS. MAKES. ME. SICK.

Devin L. Ganger rescue at sunhelp.org
Thu Jun 14 23:26:11 CDT 2001

On Thu, Jun 14, 2001 at 10:07:37PM -0500, Patrick Giagnocavo wrote:
> I will bet you $250 USD that an out of the box, generic install of
> Open/Net/FreeBSD will whup whatever W2K solution you implement in terms of
> uptime, security and reliability (defined as the service being available for
> xx.xx% of the time).  Figure a AMD K6-2 450, 128MB RAM, IDE hard drive for
> each of us.
> I have access to cheap colocation, you probably do too.  
> All tests could be agreed upon in advance (eg, web flogging, database tests,
> whatever).
> I'm not trying to flame you, but if you want to come on the list and make
> such (IMHO) ridiculous claims you should be challenged.  I know $250 isn't
> real money but it's what I have as "mad money" :-) .  

Put your $250 away.  For the home-PC box you propose, you're correct.  However,
that isn't the market that NT Server and W2K (Advanced) Server are meant for.
I'm not talking low-end "servers", here.  You can run Solaris Intel on low-end
PC stuff, but (surprise) it won't be as stable as it will on a E-class box
with a decent support contract.

I make my living adminning high-end, 24x7 five-nines systems.  You know, the
kind where you don't have single points of failure.  The kind where you don't
just toss more disks on when you feel like it.  I don't have the luxury of
wondering just what crap chipset my hardware vendor is using today.  I don't
have the luxury of being in the dark about the strengths of an operating 
system that I don't prefer to use.

Once you hit the world of multiple processor, server-architecture enterprise
systems, where you *do* get what you pay for, FreeBSD and Linux become the
only two free operating systems that even have a prayer of making the most
of the high-end hardware.  Oddly enough, Solaris and NT/W2K do just as well,
and on some platforms, even better.  Show me Linux's scalability past 4
processors.  Show me a place where I can get 24x7 support with 4-hour on-site
committed response time for FreeBSD, where I have the ability to put pressure
on my reps until I can get put in touch with a developer who has been *assigned*
to do nothing but fix my problem.

There's a time and a place for everything.  Solaris is an odd duck in that it
runs well on the lower-end workstations as well as the enterprise servers.  NT
and W2K aren't so lucky, but then again, Microsoft doesn't have one of the
luxuries that Sun does -- iron-clad control over the hardware so that they can
write properly debugged, performance oriented drivers.

I have seen a 20-server NT farm properly architected, designed, implemented,
and maintained.  The cost of doing it was equal to the cost of similar
service levels out of Sun equipment (admittedly, less boxes, but the Sun
boxes were beefier).  The scale of administration for FreeBSD or Linux to
provide the equivalent levels of service would have been prohibitive to
the level of staffing.

NT and W2K haven't been around long enough to develop the large body of
expertise, nor have they developed under the same conditions that Unix did,
which encouraged such expertise.  You don't take an out-of-the-box install
of *anything* into *any* professional implementation unless you're asking
for trouble.  While the free BSDs have made remarkable steps towards lowering
the bar, they have not -- and cannot, for it is fundamentally impossible --
reduced all risk.  All they've done is make it appear *safer* to not know
your system inside and out.

Devin L. Ganger <devin at thecabal.org>
find / -name *base* -exec chown us:us {} \;
su -c someone 'export UP_US=thebomb'
for f in great justice ; do sed -e 's/zig//g' < $f ; done

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