Do I Need A Commercial Linux Distribution?

Your shiny new server is just begging for an operating system or perhaps even two or three, if you intend to use virtualization. You might have already decided to use a Linux-based operating system, which is popular for Internet-connected servers. What you might still need to decide, however, is whether to use a community distribution like Debian or a commercial distribution like Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Every Linux distribution has a unique focus. That is part of what makes Linux such a diverse and flexible pool of operating systems. While some may be tailored for the desktop (such as Ubuntu) or mobile devices (such as Android), others are ideal for servers (such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server). Still others are designed to meet a variety of needs. This includes distributions like Debian and Gentoo. Some server distributions even have commercial licensing and support.

If you are running a small business, you may not have the funds to get enterprise support for your OS. Moreover, if you are handling all of the IT issues yourself, you may not even need commercial support. Another scenario where you might not need such support is when you are installing Linux on a virtual machine for test purposes or research and development.

On the other hand, once your business reaches a certain threshold of success, commercial support may become both affordable and preferable, especially if you do not have the IT staff to handle support in-house. When something goes wrong, commercial support and speedy assistance may be exactly what you need.