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Why choose Debian over Ubuntu as a production server

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Linux OS Based distribution is very subjective matter according to personal taste. In most case we are uncertain to choose “right” distribution because there’s pro and cons over the internet. I will cover the reason why choose Debian for a server while it sounded subjective. I am not talking about desktop environment, Ubuntu wins down.

Ubuntu Server is one of several sub distribution from Ubuntu family. It’s easy to use and many people use it as OS for the Server. Debian is Ubuntu ancestor, literally. Debian could be as server OS too and have no distinctive category or purpose, Debian doesn’t have special built distribution for different purposes excluding Live CD. It’s only have one form, Debian Installer. That’s it.

On choosing operating system for server, we may have many consideration. Few things are:

  1. It’s should have minimal footprint
  2. It will be supported for long time
  3. It should be easy to get support either commercially or community based support
  4. Adaptable to new technology
  5. Easy to maintain

Both distribution have same qualities but considering first and second point, Ubuntu doesn’t have it. Why? because Ubuntu Server having more services than Debian one. We could do bare bone installation on Debian, it’s just plain, boring, and minimal installation. We could add more juice when needed after installation process.

Debian is an enterprise grade distribution and naturally rock solid. Why? Debian have longer life span for security updates. Debian major version release is not as fast as Ubuntu. Today, Debian still on 7 while Ubuntu already reach post 13. Upgrading between version is not an easy task and sometimes ended to reinstalling the new OS over the the old one. This not only about mentality and mindset but also the certainty in production server. Updates is important but upgrading should be the last resort to maintain up time.

Again, it’s matter of choice. I am installing/running several Debian server and all of them is rock solid without need to worry about new releases.  But don’t be wrong, I am using Ubuntu Server too. Production server doesn’t need cutting edge improvement, it’s should be stable as long as it can.