[nycbug-talk] Switch to FreeBSD from RHEL

Matt Juszczak matt at atopia.net
Fri Mar 6 11:19:00 EST 2009

I'm currently in the middle of a data center migration project and we're 
considering switching to my long time favorite OS, FreeBSD.  Luckily, the 
higher ups are also FreeBSD fans, but its the higher ups of the higher ups 
that need convincing.

While I personally feel that FreeBSD is superior in out of box security, 
ease of configuration (rc.conf file, etc.), packages (ports system / 
pkg_create vs. rpm), stability and performance, etc., my opinion is 
probably very biased.  I just have a few things to ask everyone, and I'd 
be hoping for some documentation to back it up if possible.

1) FreeBSD vs. Linux - I passed on the single document linked on 
bsdjobs.net that outlines the differences between the two, but I was 
hoping for something more recent and solid.  Any links?  Like I said, I'm 
sold - it's convincing others.

2) Centralized management - the dream of starting from the ground up is 
here for me.  I'd like to definitely use LDAP & SVN for centralized 
authentication and centralized code versioning.  Also, internal DNS (not 
split horizon).  In the possibilities but not yet finalized category 
include CF Engine (we'll need a way to centrally manage server config 
files and centrally updated servers - if you have alternatives to CF 
Engine, perhaps something that works better for a smaller (50 server) 
setup, let me know!).  I'd also like to know how everyone does centralized 
authorization - still using LDAP, with groups, and sudo with roles, or 
something else?

3) Security Auditing - here's a big one, too.  chkrootkit?  mtree? 
Starting early on, I'd like to get a good security status impression of 
these 50 servers from day 1.

4) LAMP stack support with FreeBSD:

A) Apache - performance comparisons?  In the past, I've seen a performance 
gain overall switching web's to FreeBSD from Linux.  Does this still hold 
true with apache_2.x?

B) MySQL - In the past, I saw a performance *drop* when switching from 
Linux to FreeBSD.  pthread support enabled helped, but at the time it was 
only available for 32-bit.  Some recent documentation shows that FreeBSD 
7.x with MysQL 5.0.x works well, while potentially 5.1.x may not.  Does 
anyone have any comments on this one? (this is probably our largest fear). 
Of course, we'll do our own benchmarking before we move :) But this is 
just pre-planning questions.

C) PHP - any performance differences?

D) Memcache - any performance differences?

I'd say those are most of my questions for now.  Thanks everyone!


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