Overall Satisfaction with CentOS
CentOS is a RedHat clone that is widely accepted as the "Go To" Red Hat Linux clone for mimicking a production Red Hat environment. I use it for virtual machines for various services such as web server. CentOS is used as a standard OS. CentOS solves a major business problem which is enterprise service delivery. It delivers robust services on a free platform. CentOS is well-supported with regular security and operating system updates. It is well-suited for all network services, including as a network file share. It shares all the features of Red Hat including that of a virtual host. I use it as an OpenVZ hosting platform but it's quite capable as a KVM host as well.
- CentOS provides businesses with a very complete development platform for all open source software languages and some proprietary ones. Entire development environments are available with a few commands or clicks in the GUI.
- CentOS is a powerful and free web host platform. Using Apache, Nginx, or other web servers, CentOS can be part of a standalone web solution or as part of a large farm of load balanced systems.
- CentOS provides a free platform for hosting all necessary network services such as DNS, file sharing, printer sharing, DHCP, and more. It also works extremely well as a virtual machine, to further that no cost platform into a farm of systems.
- CentOS is not a great desktop platform. Although some would disagree with that statement, I think that CentOS is better suited to life as a server.
- Since CentOS is community-supported some software vendors will not officially support it because it isn't Red Hat.
- Since CentOS is free, our developers and engineers can use it without regard for dipping into project budgets.
- We can spin up a CentOS VM, use it and then destroy it without having to worry about licensing headaches.
- CentOS can run on just about any hardware platform: server, laptop, old hardware, etc. so that makes it less expensive in that we don't have to buy specialized hardware for it.
CentOS is different than other Linux distributions because it is as close to Red Hat Enterprise Linux as you can get without incurring the costs of Red Hat licensing. Most enterprises accept Red Hat and CentOS as a standard operating system. Some of the other distributions do not enjoy this widespread acceptance. For anything enterprise-related, you can always count on CentOS. That's not to say that the other distributions are bad--quite the contrary. The Debian-based distros are very good. In fact, Ubuntu has been an IT favorite since its inception. It's just that Red Hat has deep roots in the enterprise and CentOS is a Red Hat "clone" so it has that same acceptance by association.
I would use CentOS in any scenario where cost is a concern or where speed and reliability are very important. CentOS is very well suited to Internet-type services, such as network services and N-tier hosting scenarios. It is an excellent database server because of its speed and tunability. Anything that you would use Red Hat Linux for, you can do with CentOS. I would not recommend CentOS as a desktop operating system. There are better distributions for that application.