[gpfsug-discuss] Future of Spectrum Scale support for Centos

Jonathan Buzzard jonathan.buzzard at strath.ac.uk
Wed Aug 18 20:09:00 BST 2021

On 18/08/2021 14:07, Christian Vieser wrote:
> Hi out there.
> Since CentOS 8 support ends end of this year (in favour of CentOS Stream
> 8), it's time to make decisions where to move.
> There are two forks of CentOS, Alma and Rocky Linux, but nobody knows
> whether they will survive the next years. Then there is Oracle Linux,
> but there is always some threat that Oracle will turn it into a paid
> product any time.

Oracle could charge, but given the length of time it has been available 
without charge I am not sure they will gain anything from a change.

> With CentOS Stream we probably will see more often new kernels that are
> not supported by the actual Spectrum Scale version, as we have already
> seen it from time to time with RHEL/CentOS. So this means more testing
> and manual work with pinning kernel versions on our clusters.
> We just successfully passed an evaluation of Oracle Linux and decided to
> move there with several products running on CentOS. Only restraint with
> Spectrum Scale was, that we had to fake the /etc/os-release when
> configuring object service, since the mmobj command has some specific
> code distinguishing between RHEL and CentOS and fails with other release
> identifiers.

You would likely need to have done more than that because by default 
Oracle Linux has it's own "unbreakable" kernel. You can go back to a 
stock RHEL kernel but it's a pain.

At least they are not being as devious as the Spectrum Protect lot that 
actively look for an RPM called redhat-release. Most pointless thing in 
the world as it is not like it takes any time to knock up an RPM to 
mimic it.

> I would like to hear from other CentOS users here: Where are you moving
> to? What are your reasons?

Going to be Alma I think. Firstly CloudLinux have been rebuilding RHEL 
for a long time, so it is not a huge additional effort to package it up 
in ISO's etc.

Call me a cynic but my view is the $1m a year funding they are claiming 
to put into the Alma rebuild is mostly likely money already being spent 
on the CloudLinux rebuild. Lets say they where spending $900k already so 
it's an extra $100k which is a lot but for that amount of publicity and 
advertising it is a total bargain and throwing the towel in would be a 
PR disaster.

I also like the fact that they are neck and neck with Oracle for getting 
patches out. Way faster than CentOS has been historically which in the 
current threat environment is only a good thing.

Rocky to my mind seems the weakest of the lot.

However I don't think any of the three is a wrong choice as they all 
offer scripts now to migrate an install between them. For us it would be 
mirror a different repo, fiddle with some xCAT tables and redeploy for 
most of the machines.


Jonathan A. Buzzard                         Tel: +44141-5483420
HPC System Administrator, ARCHIE-WeSt.
University of Strathclyde, John Anderson Building, Glasgow. G4 0NG

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