Rackspace has made additions and changes to the operating systems available in Cloud Servers, and we’re excited to share those updates with you.
The first is CentOS 6.3, which is the latest version of the popular CentOS 6.x platform. The next is a new operating system offering for Rackspace, FreeBSD 9, which offers customers another powerful choice for their cloud infrastructure, with features like high performance networking, the ZFS filesystem and the strong FreeBSD ports software collection.
CentOS 6.3 is the latest version of the CentOS distribution, and was just released two weeks ago. We’re doing our best to make these available as quickly as possible after release. For more information, you can find the CentOS 6.3 release notes here.
FreeBSD support has been a popular request for a while and we are extremely excited to now make it available. To make FreeBSD support possible, we needed to make a couple of fundamental enhancements to Cloud Servers. One such change is support for non-ext3 and NTFS file systems (FreeBSD runs ZFS). For more information, go to http://www.freebsd.org/features.html
To keep things simple for you, Cloud Servers automatically expands and shrinks the file system when launching and resizing servers. Some customers, however, have asked for more control, such as being able to install different file systems, set up multiple partitions, etc. To support both scenarios, we created a new option called Disk Configuration, which allows a filesystem to either automatically expand to the size limits of the instance being created, or to be left alone for manual management by the user. For FreeBSD, Disk Configuration is set to the latter (which means you may see unpartitioned disk space and will need to configure it however you want).
Previously, Disk Configuration was an internal setting that Rackspace used, but we have carried this feature forward into OpenStack and our upcoming Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack offering, which gives you control over this setting. That means you will be able to configure any image for either automatic or manual Disk Configuration. Simplicity or control – you get to choose.
Support has ended for both Fedora 15 and Debian 5. As such, we will remove these images from Cloud Servers on Aug. 27, 2012. We recommend customers consider Fedora 17 and Debian 6 for production servers needing these distributions of Linux.
Update: This post was edited to fix two errors that suggested that FreeBSD was a completely new operating system, and a reference that mixed Linux and FreeBSD terminology.