Switch underlying system to a distro with long-term support?

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    • Switch underlying system to a distro with long-term support?

      I've been building a home server to use as NAS and for a couple small workloads that run inside VMs. I've been trying virtually any NAS operating system, from FreeNAS to Windows Server, passing through a bunch of other options, eventually landing on OMV.

      OMV looked great. It has basically every single feature I was looking for (with the exception of an easy way to integrate with ActiveDirectory/LDAP...), and I like how it's basically just an add-on to a plain Linux install, without taking possession of too many things on the underlying system.

      However, I believe OMV has a terrible flaw: it's based on Debian. I have nothing wrong with Debian per se, and I can understand why a lot of people love it (it's one of the most "open" Linux distros around). However, maybe because I work in IT and thus I deal with enterprise IT people daily, I couldn't think using a Debian-based system in production, for the same reason why enterprise sysadmins don't: it doesn't have a proper support.
      We all know Debian is community-driven, which is one of the biggest strength of the distro, but also its biggest problem. For example, now that Debian 8 has been released, Debian 7 is already "out of production", with support (and patches!) offered only by volunteers without any guarantee. Compare that with Ubuntu, where LTS releases get updates for 5 years, or RHEL/CentOS that gets maintained for 10 years!

      I understand that the goal of OMV is to be agile and have frequent releases. However, once I'm done setting up my NAS, I don't want to be doing weekly maintenance to update the entire OS - or risk having an unmaintained platform. For example, if I were to install OMV 2 now, in a few weeks I'd have to update it to OMV 3, which is based on Debian 8: this means updating the NAS software AND the underlying OS too, and I must make sure that everything runs smoothly. If I don't update, not only I won't be getting new releases of OMV, but I will also be stuck on Debian 7 (which won't be supported for much longer).

      So, my request: can you consider switching to a distro like Ubuntu LTS or CentOS, that offer support/updates for at least 5 years?
    • OMV is targeted at home users, not enterprise. You do realize that?

      alesegala wrote:

      like how it's basically just an add-on to a plain Linux install, without taking possession of too many things on the underlying system.


      You're wrong, sooner than later you'll realize that takes control of many things. All the time people here in the forum complaining why my manually edited configuration disappeared, bla blah.

      alesegala wrote:

      So, my request: can you consider switching to a distro like Ubuntu LTS or CentOS, that offer support/updates for at least 5 years?


      That's a question to ask the main developer of OMV @votdev. If you asked me, i would personally prefer the current cycle.To the day we have users whinging all year around with complains in the forum and bugtracker why didn't OMV move to jessie yet. Some making unofficial guides to upgrade where OMV simply didn't not work. Imagine in a LTS platform for 5 years, users would probably leave OMV because the base OS won't do upgrade, not that is bad, but again, home users always want to have the latest.
      Guess docker plays a very important role here, i use it for 11 different applications, to keep my base OS somehow "clean"
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    • There are so many points I want to make to counter your false statements... So, lets go one by one...

      OMV does have an LDAP plugin. There is even a third party plugin that supports kerberos and plenty of posts how to integrate with AD. It is just a Debian system so anything is still possible but it would be manual.

      Terrible flaw based on Debian??? Really?? Ubuntu which you mention uses Debian as a base without even modifying a large percentage of packages.

      You work in IT and deal with enterprise IT daily and couldn't think of using Debian for the same reason enterprise sysadmins don't due to lack of support??? For one thing, I am an enterprise admin and that statement is false. We have 5k+ VMs/physical hosts running Linux and only use "supported" aka "paid support" Linux for environments that require customer certification. We use non-supported (CentOS, Debian, ESXi without support, Ubuntu without support) on the majority of systems because we can fix 99.9% of problems without paid support. HP uses Debian a lot as well.

      Debian 7 is out of production?? Wrong. Debian Squeeze 6 is still in LTS. Debian Wheezy 7 isn't even close to being out of support. And volunteers do all of Debian's support. How is this any different?

      Weekly Maintenance??? I thought you were IT? Enterprise IT doesn't do weekly maintenance unless it is critical. Quarterly or semi-annually is more like it. By no means would you have to upgrade to OMV 3.x in a couple of weeks. People are still running OMV 0.4/0.5 on Squeeze without problems. Remember OMV is just a front end. You don't need to upgrade OMV if everything is working for you.

      Have you looked at how often commercial NASes get updates? And most people don't even install those. This is Linux not Windows. Your NAS shouldn't be connected directly to the internet and most viruses/trojans/etc won't affect it. I can only assume you are Windows IT. Please don't apply Windows (and mostly desktop at that) principals to a Linux NAS.

      Even if OMV used a distro with paid support, OMV and all of the plugins are not part of that paid support. So, how does paid support help you??

      And my final point... You keep comparing OMV with enterprise standards (which it is not targeted). This makes no sense to me. No Enterprise company is going to run a NAS. They will have a SAN, separate file servers, separate web servers, etc....
      omv 4.1.6 arrakis | 64 bit | 4.16 backports kernel | omvextrasorg 4.1.7
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github.com/OpenMediaVault-Plugin-Developers

      Please read this before posting a question.
      Please don't PM for support... Too many PMs!
    • Thanks for the detailed answers, it's even more than I was expecting. I didn't mean to offer a critique, but rather a carefully-thought advice.

      Yes, I've realized OMV is targeted at hobbyists from the start - and that's fine to me. Eventually, this is for my home, which is quite like a hobby to me. However, that doesn't mean that the information stored in the NAS is very critical to me. Of course, I do have backups (off-site), but even then the DR process is long and costly (if not in terms of $, in terms of time for sure).

      My idea is that, sooner or later, when users start adopting OMV in some production environment, even if for their home, they will want something as stable as possible, and as simple to maintain as possible. I don't mind installing patches, even 2-3 times a month ("weekly" was probably exaggerated from me: you're right) - but I don't want to having to face big updates in which the OS and the application go through major changes too often. As I said before, Debian is a very good and stable OS (and I've used in production myself), but it lacks any long-term support (especially once a version becomes "oldstable") - Ubuntu itself is better there: even if it's not too different from Debian, it does have a LTS policy. And it's that support policy that makes a big difference: it doesn't matter to me if it's Linux, I would never leave it un-patched. I see it daily in my job (by the way, I said that "I work with enterprise IT", not that I'm a sysadmin - I actually am a cloud architect and sell to IT people): certain software must be updated constantly, sometimes even on day 0 (and I'm thinking of OSS too, for example WordPress).

      One day or another you may want to grow OMV outside of the hobbyists circle. It may not necessarily become a product for enterprises (I honestly hope it doesn't!), but maybe for prosumers or small businesses... It's quite easy to see that happening (as it happened millions of times), and I don't see anything wrong with that. But unless you have a clearer support/maintenance policy, I don't see any sysadmin risking their job on this (not even in a 5-persons startup), and I don't see any serious consumer doing it either. It doesn't have to be paid enterprise support, but something that guarantees that I can have at least OS patches for a decent amount of time (like CentOS, or - sigh! - Ubuntu).

      Before building my own NAS, I've been using Synology for a few years, and I loved the fact that they regularly released security updates and patches, and installing them was easy and I wasn't too worried as they were shipping a tested product (hopefully, at least).

      PS: Yes, I did get LDAP to work with OMV at the end - just, it wasn't as easy as it is with other NAS software, like FreeNAS.
    • I still disagree. I used OMV at my last job (and they still use it) for a 40 person company. No problems for years. I also setup an OMV box at a school of 200 I help on the side. No problems there either.

      You are looking at a label. If LTS makes you feel better, so be it. Debian is using LTS now (even squeeze). Read. Wheezy is still actively supported. It will enter LTS in February. Read. This means they will be supported for the five years you are suggesting. I don't think it matters that they say volunteers are supporting it. There are plenty of people who want to keep using squeeze and wheezy.

      I can't remember the last time I had a bad update with Debian in six+ years of using it. I can remember a few times having bad updates with CentOS in just the last six months.

      As for OMV being easy to use, that is just comfort. I can setup a fresh OMV install and configure it in minutes. I can't figure out half the things in FreeNAS. So, it is just a matter of what you are used to. When something is more flexible like OMV, it is going to increase the difficulty a bit.

      I have a QNAP TS-451. I tried to use the OS that came with it but didn't really like it. OMV is on it now :)
      omv 4.1.6 arrakis | 64 bit | 4.16 backports kernel | omvextrasorg 4.1.7
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github.com/OpenMediaVault-Plugin-Developers

      Please read this before posting a question.
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    • Denne wrote:

      Still running OMV 0.5 without any problems for (I think) more than two years now. Never change a running system <img src="http://forums.openmediavault.org/wcf/images/smilies/wink.png" alt=";)" />

      I respectfully disagree. If you don't install at least security updates, you're at high risk - and that even if your NAS is not directly attached to the Internet...

      tekkb wrote:

      I think this is something definitely out of our control. Volker loves Debian and OMV is his baby. I am just thankful we have OMV. <img src="http://forums.openmediavault.org/wcf/images/smilies/smile.png" alt=":)" />

      Yeah I can see there's not a lot of openness in this area, just looking at the tone of the answers above :) I seriously think it's a shame, I think OMV itself is great software and it's architected very well - but it will never be able to go past the "hobbyists" with an OS like Debian that has basically zero support. Despite a few stories of businesses doing that, the vast majority I've worked with doesn't trust anything but RHEL or Ubuntu where they can get proper business support.
    • alesegala wrote:

      I seriously think it's a shame, I think OMV itself is great software and it's architected very well - but it will never be able to go past the "hobbyists" with an OS like Debian that has basically zero support.
      A lot of Netgear, Western Digital, and Iomega commercial NASes use Debian. Seagate might also. My Iomega IX2-DL was even using Debian Lenny long after it was stopped being supported even by Debian.
      omv 4.1.6 arrakis | 64 bit | 4.16 backports kernel | omvextrasorg 4.1.7
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github.com/OpenMediaVault-Plugin-Developers

      Please read this before posting a question.
      Please don't PM for support... Too many PMs!
    • You exactly got my point. Netgear, WD, etc are offering commercial support on top of their customized Debian distro, they release patches and updates, etc. OMV doesn't offer support (aside from the community forum), and it's based on an OS that isn't supported either. I was hoping at least we could switch to an OS that offers more support.
    • Most of those companies stops supporting their NASes after two to three years from what I have seen (at least in the lower cost units). They want you to buy a new one.

      If we took a poll, I bet 97% of the users of OMV would NOT pay for support.

      With OMV 3.x using systemd, it probably wouldn't take much for it to work on Ubuntu 15.04 or 15.10 (the last LTS = 14.04 uses upstart). Feel free to make the changes and commit the patches. You could also submit a request on bugtracker for OMV to run on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
      omv 4.1.6 arrakis | 64 bit | 4.16 backports kernel | omvextrasorg 4.1.7
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github.com/OpenMediaVault-Plugin-Developers

      Please read this before posting a question.
      Please don't PM for support... Too many PMs!
    • Switching to an rpm-based distro will not happen. WAY TOO MUCH would have to be re-written and there is no point if all you are looking for is paid support.

      As for pull requests, I cannot make that decision. Volker ( @votdev ) is the only developer of core OMV. I think many pros and cons would need to be discussed of supporting Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. The biggest pro that I can think of is that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Debian Jessie have very little differences at the moment. The biggest con is that it would make support for us moderators and plugin writers effectively double.
      omv 4.1.6 arrakis | 64 bit | 4.16 backports kernel | omvextrasorg 4.1.7
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github.com/OpenMediaVault-Plugin-Developers

      Please read this before posting a question.
      Please don't PM for support... Too many PMs!
    • I would also add that I've used Debian Stable in a critical core financial server role at a major Point of Sale processing company. Not every distribution or use case needs a corporate overlord to support it. I'll add that the Debian system replaced an aging Slackware system built on kernel 2.0 that was finally suffering on it's hardware support.

      FWIW, I was a Gentoo desktop user and system admin prior to taking that job at the POS company.
      omv 3.0.7 erasmus | 64 bit | 4.3 backport kernel | omvextrasorg 3.0.9
      omv-extras.org plugins source code and issue tracker - github.com/OpenMediaVault-Plugin-Developers