Because Fedora is a fast-moving distribution, and because development is occurring
A general suggestion that applies to all operating systems is to avoid bleeding-
edge hardware and software configurations. Although these appear impressive, they
have not undergone the maturing process that some of the slightly older hardware has
experienced. For servers, the temptation to use a bleeding-edge configuration usually
isn't an issue because a server has no need for the latest and greatest toys, such as
fancy video cards. After all, the main goal is to provide a highly available server for the
network's users, not to play the latest games.
When a system becomes a server, its stability, availability, and performance are
significant issues. These three issues are usually addressed through the purchase
of more hardware, which is unfortunate. Paying thousands of dollars extra to get a
system capable of achieving all three objectives when the desired level of performance
could have been attained from existing hardware with a little tuning is a waste. With
Linux, achieving these objectives without overspending is not hard. Even better, the
gains are outstanding!
The most significant design decision that you must make when managing a server
configuration is not technical, but administrative. You should design a server not to be
friendly to casual users. This means without any cute multimedia tools, sound card
support, or fancy web browsers (when possible). In fact, your organization should
make a rule that casual use of a server is strictly prohibited. This rule should apply not
only to site users, but to site administrators as well.
Another important aspect of designing a server is making sure that it has a good
environment. As a systems administrator, you must ensure the physical safety of
your servers by keeping them in a separate, physically secure room. The only access
to the servers for nonadministrative personnel should be through the network. The
server room itself should be well ventilated, cool, and locked. Failing to ensure such
a physical environment is an accident waiting to happen. Systems that overheat and
helpful users who "think" they know how to fix problems can be as great a danger
(arguably an even greater danger) to server stability as bad software. Moreover, Linux
is particularly vulnerable to hacking at its command prompt.
Once the system is well secured behind locked doors, installing battery backup
is also crucial. This backup serves two key purposes. The first purpose is to keep the
system running during a power failure so that it can gracefully shut down, thereby
avoiding the loss of any files. The second is to ensure that voltage spikes, drops, and
various noises don't interfere with the health of your system.