All of our production servers run a distribution of Linux called CentOS, and specifically the latest release, CentOS 7. This is a very popular and well-supported distribution whose focus is on stability and security. This is one of the reasons why we like it so much.

The philosophy of CentOS is that you use modern technology that is well established and stable but not on the “bleeding edge”. To make this possible, each CentOS release has a set of versions for all the provided software in the distribution. They then stick to that version throughout the life of the release (7 years). This means you don’t have to worry about a new release of a package breaking your site because something got changed along the way (which happens all the time)

So, “what about security?”, you might ask. They cover this in a novel way. Rather than having to always get the latest version of a piece of software to get the latest security patches and bug fixes, they do a process called “backporting”. Essentially, they take any security patches and bug fixes and implement those on the source code for the stable version. The result is that you get the latest security in the SAME version of the software without having to risk stability.

The results are an excellent balance that gives us a platform we can trust and depend on not to pull the rug out from under us.

To learn more about CentOS and its philosophy, please visit the CentOS Project page.