Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Eric Brown <ebrown@×××××××.com>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Subject: RE: [gentoo-dev] Re: where goes Gentoo?
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 15:41:47
>On Thu, 2005-08-04 at 09:04 -0400, Eric Brown wrote: >> >> Interesting thread. I have used Gentoo in enterprise situations very >> successfully, and I think the whole QA/live-tree argument is moot. In >> an enterprise environment, you might have a backup/testing machine to >> run your updates on first before they went live. You also wouldn't run >> new packages unless they passed your own QA tests first. >> >> Given the incredible flexibility of portage to support local mirrors, >> binary package preparation, and localized versions of packages >> (portdir_overlay), I would say that Gentoo is quite a contender in the >> enterprise environment. >> >> Perhaps we need some enterprise documentation to help people realize the >> full potential of portage? > >I think you've missed some of the idea of "enterprise" support. See, >for starters, every person shouldn't have to create their own >implementation of everything. Perhaps a better solution would be a >package that when installed, builds up a local mirror, a binary package >repository (with revision control), an automated update system, a system >for updating rolled out machines without forcing the use of etc-update >on each machine, a slower moving stable tree capable of being certified >with applications, and most likely a phone number of someone to call >when the shit hits the fan.
Every business application of Gentoo I've done has been different. I don't think I could generalize my needs into a single ebuild. Although generally I have used rsyncd and apache, I never use them in the same way. What's so hard about using the default rsyncd config, and adding distfiles to your apache document root? (what 90% of people would use). About automating updates and etc-update: you can rsync your config file sometimes and just bypass all of the portage stuff. You could mount some config dirs over nfs even. You could even remove config_protect on some dirs and roll your own custom packages. About a slower moving portage tree for enterprise users: Great idea, I think there's a GLEP about that. I think it's best handled by third parties who can spend the money/man power on that kind of QA. This brings me to your last point about calling someone when there are problems: There are companies that provide Linux services, even Gentoo specific services. Some of these companies might even provide enterprise-grade portage mirrors with support for the packages they maintain there.
> >While I will completely agree that Gentoo *can* be used in the >enterprise successfully, that does not make it "enterprise-ready", in >any sense. Many people also seem to misunderstand the concept of >"enterprise" when we are referring to it in this manner. We don't mean >"I'm running it on 10 servers in production" or anything like that. We >mean "I'm running this as our production platform for Linux services >across our entire enterprise, that could be hundreds or even thousands >of servers" instead. While it might be possible to maintain a handful >of Gentoo servers, it is next to impossible to maintain an army of them, >without spending significant up-front manpower to design, test, and >implement your own set of management tools. Gentoo has no real >management tools. There are a few here and there that do specific >tasks, but there isn't anything designed to really take control over >your network of systems. To be fair, Red Hat doesn't have anything like >this, either. Their "Satellite Server" product is good for initial >builds and for updates, but falls short on the management aspects. >Novell's offerings are probably the best examples of what we really >need. Of course, most people would be happy with even rudimentary >management capabilities, as currently, we have none. We don't have any >form of update server. You have to build one yourself. We don't have >any form of "jump-start" or "kickstart" for rapid automated deployments. >You have to build one yourself. Now, we do have the Gentoo Linux >Installer project, which has this as one of its goals, so we will have >this component at some point in the future.
I'm sorry, I never ran 1000 Gentoo machines in production like that, I thought enterprise meant this ( en·ter·prise (ĕn'tər-prīz') pronunciation n. 1. An undertaking, especially one of some scope, complication, and risk. 2. A business organization. 3. Industrious, systematic activity, especially when directed toward profit: Private enterprise is basic to capitalism. 4. Willingness to undertake new ventures; initiative: “Through want of enterprise and faith men are where they are, buying and selling, and spending their lives like serfs” (Henry David Thoreau). Doesn't this just go to show that in business, everyone wants something different from Gentoo? What does Novell offer to manage large numbers of linux boxen? Are you sure projects like OpenMosix don't have tools you could use to manage such a large number of machines? Maybe we can't rely on portage so much in scenarios where replication is the goal...
> >Last, there's the "Our servers just went belly up, and I want to call up >someone on the phone and give them a piece of my mind" issue which gives >managers a warm, fuzzy feeling, that we cannot provide. If something >goes wrong with RHEL or SLES, you call up Red Hat or Novell and get them >to work on the problem. If something goes wrong with Gentoo, you hop on >IRC, or file a bug, and hope that somebody can help you in the time you >need it done in, and not in 3 weeks when the maintaining developer gets >back from his tour of the African Dung Beetle in it's own environment. >Liability is a big selling point for the enterprise.
Of course, I'm sure you can't call Red Hat or Suse if you don't pay them some way or another. If you don't pay, could you find such a supportive community on IRC or in forums? (I think not) There are lots of Gentoo gurus who will gladly accept your money to help you fix your problems =)
> >I work for a telecommunications company, and we run Linux and Solaris. >For our Linux, we run Red Hat, even though they have, on staff, one of >the people that understands Gentoo's deployment capabilities better than >most, via catalyst and the GLI. Why do we run Red Hat? When something >breaks with one of their packages, we call them, and expect them to fix >it. It is also a name that gives upper management the warm fuzzies. >Gentoo has neither the brand recognition, nor the support capabilities >to be a good sale to management.
Sounds like FUD to me. Use what works for you though. If you managers really need that big brand name with that 800 number, that's just how you'll have to do it. Perhaps I've been lucky at the places I work where I am simply responsible myself for keeping certain systems up, and that's that.
> >I'm not denying that Gentoo is very powerful, flexible, and gives the >power back to the administrator, but that doesn't make it enterprise >ready or friendly. A few success stories from a few people isn't much >to support the position, when we are lacking in so many simple and >obvious ways. Remember, if a manager can think of multiple ways to >knock down the use of Gentoo, like the ones I've given above, what are >you going to do to refute his claims?
I wouldn't refute my manager's claims if he controlled my paycheck :D But in my professional opinion, as someone who has had to manage up to 10 Linux servers at a time, Gentoo was by far the best choice. That's what I'd say to my manager if he ever asked me why I want to use Gentoo.
> >I want to see Gentoo as an enterprise-capable distribution myself, but I >also understand that it is a long, hard road ahead of us, and there will >still be some things we simply cannot provide as a community >distribution, which was my reasoning behind the "fork". There would >need to be an entity that is responsible, liable, if you will, when >something goes wrong, and that has the manpower and resources to fix it. >
Ever consider founding a company that specializes in Enterprise Gentoo deployment and support? It sounds like there could be quite a demand for such services :)
>-- >Chris Gianelloni >Release Engineering - Strategic Lead/QA Manager >Games - Developer >Gentoo Linux
-- gentoo-dev@g.o mailing list


Subject Author
RE: [gentoo-dev] Re: where goes Gentoo? Chris Gianelloni <wolf31o2@g.o>