Best Linux server distributions of 2020

Jack Wallen gives up his checklist of ideal servers for 2020, any of which would be a great system for your business enterprise wants.

Graphic: Jack Wallen

Permit the annually wrap-ups start off! Thanks to COVID-19, we’ll start out them out just a wee bit early. And why not? It’s not as if the final two months of the 12 months are approximately as successful as the 1st 10. As we get started to wind down the 12 months, let us wind up the lists. This time all around, I want to take a search again at what I believe that to be the ideal Linux server distributions of 2020.

Even although it was a tough calendar year, there were being nonetheless some enjoyable matters to get there in the tech marketplace. With Linux continuing to see huge gains, specifically in the entire world of organization computing, it need to arrive as no surprise that the server earth is staying absolutely dominated by the open up supply system.

What are the greatest server operating techniques of the year? I doubt this record will elevate any eyebrows, as there have been no new Linux server distributions to choose the landscape by storm in the previous few years. That consistency in the Linux server distributions is a person of the extremely reasons why these pick out several normally stay at the leading of their course.

With that stated, let us get to the record.

SEE: Prime cloud suppliers in 2020: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, hybrid, SaaS gamers (TechRepublic obtain)

Ubuntu Server


Image: Canonical

It ought to come as no shock that Ubuntu Server tops this checklist. Of all the offered Linux server platforms, Ubuntu Server finds that sweet place involving complexity and consumer-friendliness. No other working technique on this listing helps make it so effortless to deploy approximately anything at all you will need to service your business and your buyers. 

Ubuntu is rock solid, quickly, protected, and almost everything you need to have in a server running technique. It’s as cloud- and container-friendly as it is user-helpful. Simply because Ubuntu can make it pretty quick to add a amount of company-centric expert services, these as Prometheus and MAAS, all through the preliminary installation, you will not likely have to expend added time finding all those up and managing write-up-set up. 

One more really attractive element of Ubuntu (and a person motive why so lots of opt to go this route) is the Extensive Term Guidance (LTS) releases. With the LTS release, you delight in 5 years of guidance, so you don’t have to fear about upgrading to the latest launch for 50 percent a ten years–that’s pretty a very long time for an running process. With Ubuntu Server, you know that installation is going to operate as perfectly immediately after five years as it did all through the first calendar year. That, my good friends, is really worth its pounds in clouds, containers, and stacks.

Looking at that Canonical promises over 55% of OpenStack clouds by now operate on Ubuntu, this server distribution is a lock for remaining in such lists for a prolonged time to appear.



Impression: CentOS

Next in line is the server distribution that ups the ante on safety and reminds each person why Linux has been so rock reliable for such a very long time. CentOS might not share the relieve of use that it is Ubuntu sibling gives, but it can make up for it in many ways.

Initially, it’s pretty substantially a server based in and on the Linux ethos: It can be impressive, secure, protected, and at the time you have it up and functioning, it will serve you properly. Even though CentOS is a very well-known alternative among corporations and admins, it is just not quite as straightforward as Ubuntu. You have SELinux to contend with–a point that really should not be regarded a weak spot. In point, that SELinux takes this sort of central focus with CentOS means the security of the platform is that much much better. 

Simply because CentOS is dependent on Pink Hat Enterprise Linux, you know that it is far more than able to serve your company’s wants.

To sweeten the deal, CentOS makes it uncomplicated for you to increase a desktop atmosphere for the duration of set up. Though you probably is not going to be using a GUI if you happen to be deploying CentOS to the likes of AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure, it undoubtedly can make using CentOS a little bit much easier–especially for all those admins on your workforce that aren’t as proficient about Linux.  



Impression: Debian

Debian is the “mom of all distributions.” Why? Due to the fact Ubuntu is based mostly on Debian and so quite a few other distributions are based on Ubuntu. That speaks really remarkably of Debian and it also helps to demonstrate why this system lands squarely on this checklist.

But, why incorporate Debian, when Ubuntu is by now listed here? Simply because, though Ubuntu is centered on Debian, it is not Debian. Although the platforms are very different, Debian and CentOS share a single essential trait–the builders concentrate a great deal of consideration on reliability. 

With Debian, there are 3 releases to select from: Unstable, Tests, and Stable. In get to grow to be a section of the Stable launch, a piece of software package should have been reviewed, through the screening release, for a number of months. That translates to a person issue: When you use Debian Secure, you know it is really likely to get the job done. A person of the major promoting points of Debian Steady is that it isn’t going to split. Ever. It really is as rock-good a server platform as you will ever use. In addition to a number of small distinctions, it is incredibly related to Ubuntu. Together with that balance, Debian features a level of person-friendliness not uncovered in a lot of server running devices.

Fedora CoreOS


Impression: Jack Wallen

I’m likely to confess that when I compose about containers, I’m commonly doing the job with an on-premise occasion of Ubuntu Server. However, in the real globe, most enterprise environments are deploying individuals containers from Linux cases on cloud-primarily based platforms these as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. When doing so, most developers and admins are using their basic-intent Linux server of decision. Nevertheless, when you want to get as performant as feasible, you may possibly choose for a single-goal operating technique that was developed exclusively for containers. 

Fedora CoreOS is just that distribution. If the identify appears common, it ought to. Shortly just after CoreOS joined Red Hat, it was rolled into OpenShift and all CoreOS visuals eradicated from obtain web pages and from cloud companies. Which is when the Fedora group stepped in and forked CoreOS into what we have now. This flavor of Linux was purpose-created for container deployments at cloud-level scale. Fedora CoreOS is an automobile-updating platform that does an superb task of deploying and scaling containers to fulfill your business requires. 

Now that Fedora CoreOS has been in enhancement for a though, it is really deployable from all of the well-known cloud providers. 

Crimson Hat Enterprise Linux


Image: Crimson Hat

No listing of Linux server distributions is finish with out Purple Hat Company Linux. This is the best Linux server distribution to use if your business involves a remarkably steady and secure functioning technique that offers planet-course assist and certification on most components and cloud suppliers. 

Although Pink Hat Organization Linux is open supply, it is crafted for commercial use. If you want a community version of RHEL, you may be utilizing CentOS (which, as you know, is a great preference). If you will need to lean on some of the most effective support you may under no circumstances experience, you ought to obtain a license for RHEL. That license will get you a server that is equivalent to the available assistance.

RHEL isn’t just about it is really assistance this server system is flawlessly suited for the cloud, IoT, major info, visualization, and containers. 


No issue what your server wants are, any just one of these platforms will not only meet, but exceed your requirements. From regular server software this kind of as internet and database servers to cloud, container, virtualization, IoT, advancement, automation, and everything in in between, you are going to discover your great operating program amid this checklist.

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