There are a variety of reasons why many VPS Hosting users choose a Linux operating system. They like the fact that the plans are inexpensive since it is open source: there aren’t licensing fees as there are with Microsoft. They also appreciate the freedom to create an environment that perfectly fits their needs, both through customization of the code and by selecting a distribution (distro/flavor) of Linux: as opposed to Microsoft’s one unified system, a plethora of operating systems have been developed using the Linux kernel.
Recognizing the desire for Linux diversity, Atlantic.net offers four of the most respected and widely recognized distros for our Linux cloud hosting customers. Let’s take a look at each of these flavors – Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, and Fedora – independently, so we understand what makes each distribution strong in its own way.
Ubuntu cloud VPS
Although it’s a word that is unfamiliar to many web developers and administrators except in the context of computing, Ubuntu has a meaning that matches the operating system’s mission. An ancient African word, it means that our lives and sense of ourselves are created through interconnection with others, or that the whole of humanity is greater than the sum of its parts. That basic concept is one way to describe the overall idea behind open source technology.
Part of the strength of Ubuntu is its longevity, providing ample time to improve the original version that was released in 2004. At that point, Linux was used on many servers, but a user-friendly desktop had not yet been developed. Noticing the need for a simple, straightforward, and robust platform, Mark Shuttleworth collaborated with a few developers of the renowned Debian system to generate a Linux desktop fitting that description. Development and distribution of Ubuntu is made possible – as with many other Linux distributions – through a for-profit sponsor, in this case Canonical.
Ubuntu impressed many users upfront by deciding to release new versions at regular intervals, every six months, rather than sporadically. Additionally, each fourth release of the OS would be backed up with long-term support (LTS). LTS versions are usually chosen for larger, more complicated server architectures.
CentOS cloud VPS
Just as Ubuntu found its strong initial basis in Debian, CentOS took Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as its starting point. The primary goals of the CentOS team for the operating system are fourfold: stability, predictability, manageability, and reproducibility. The way this version of Linux stands out, though, is not the OS itself but the fundamental focus on integration potential with other systems. In order to best meet the needs of developers wanting to create tools utilizing CentOS, the project has implemented a leadership structure and informational policy that expresses a comprehensive sense of openness.
CentOS also has a significant track record: originally made available a decade ago, it matches the extensive development history of Ubuntu. The CentOS Project is also strong because it uses an incredibly successful open source community, the Apache Foundation, as its organizational framework. Like development for Apache, that for CentOS is compartmentalized. Rather than free-flowing development through one controlling entity, tasks are assigned to Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Three of the most notable SIGs center themselves on the core code, modifications to the Xen4 stack, and graphic design of the general system.
Debian cloud VPS
CentOS and Ubuntu have been around for a decade, but the Debian community has been active since Ian Murdock started the project in 1993. While Ubuntu is known for release consistency and LTS, and CentOS is known for its collaborative focus, Debian is primarily concerned with painstaking attention to detail (keeping in mind that these nutshell concerns are shared by other flavors but represent the centerpoints of distribution self-descriptions).
Beyond the distro’s professed sense of care regarding development, the most compelling argument for use is the extensive and high-profile list of user testimonials available on the Debian site. For instance, the Department of Physics at Harvard University calls the OS “very reliable, secure, and easy to maintain using its original package management system.”
Fedora cloud VPS
Finally, Fedora is a notable flavor of Linux that focuses heavily on upstream development. The most prominent feature of this distro is that it is sponsored by Red Hat, a name widely trusted in the open source community.
There is also a sense in which Fedora commits itself fully to the open source perspective, using open source tools not just for creation but for promotion as well (such as the website). Along similar lines, the Fedora team makes it easy for developers to integrate the OS into their own products, making the necessary components immediately accessible so you can achieve Fedora-based development efficiently.
FreeBSD is also now available, as of September 2, 2014!
As described above, there are plenty of options for those wanting to use Linux with Atlantic.Net VPS Hosting. Beyond Linux, we will also soon make available another extraordinarily popular open source OS, FreeBSD hosting. Generally, our 24/7 customer support and SASE-16-audited data centers represent our effort to provide the strongest assistance and security in the industry.
Atlantic.net also offers managed, dedicated and HIPAA compliant hosting solutions.