While Linux distributions tend to make great servers, you may be wondering if Arch Linux would be a good choice for a server, given its rolling-release nature. It could be if you wanted to, with some caveats.
Rolling Release Distros Like Arch Update Constantly
The main issue with running Arch Linux as a server is that it’s a rolling-release distro. This means that instead of having distinct versions, you install it once and then periodically update the software.
This is fine for a desktop system, but as a server, it could make management complicated by constant updates that could break functionality if you don’t pay attention.
This could make running Arch as a server a risky proposition for something you relied on. Multiply this by a whole data center full of servers and management could get complicated quickly.
Long Term Support Kernel Available
Apart from the stock constantly updating Arch kernel, there is an option to install a long-term support kernel that will be more stable than the default kernel.
This may make your server installation more suitable, but the rest of the packages installed on the machine will still update according to the Arch cadence.
To install the LTS kernel, just run this command:
sudo pacman -S linux-lts
Lack of Commercial Support
Another potential obstacle to deploying Arch Linux as a server is the lack of commercial support. Major server distros like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu offer paid support that’s essential for large data center deployments.
As a community project, Arch doesn’t offer that level of support. As beloved as Arch is, most businesses aren’t going to rely on forums or IRC to resolve technical issues. You can’t always count on any in-house knowledge for when things go wrong on a Linux server.
You Could Run an Arch Server if You Wanted to, but Be Careful
With all of the issues of a rolling release distro and lack of paid support, if you wanted to run an Arch server, you could. After all, the Arch Linux website itself does so. But it would probably be best to do so in a limited role, such as a test server.
Fortunately, since Linux is so popular as a server OS, you’re spoiled for choice in terms of distributions to use for your servers.