Say you are developing a new CI/CD system, deploy builds across Linux, Windows and Mac, and have now reached the point of wanting to deploy a master node which hosts your chosen CI tool. How do you choose what OS and version your master node VM should be?

For example with Gitlab, I can have the VM with Ubuntu, Debian or CentOS, or with Jenkins, the VM could be Mac, Windows, Ubuntu, Debian etc...

What's the major deciding factor when choosing an OS and version for the master node of the CI system?


I think the major deciding factor is the expertise of you and the rest of your company in the chosen OS. If you are a Windows shop, and your company is willing to leverage the cost of the node, it's probably best choice to host it on a Windows VM. For choosing a Linux distro, I would see what is most common across your company. In my opinion, it is not worth the benefit of creating a vm with a one off distro just because of a few particular features, unless those features of the distro are absolutely necessary.

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    Or to put it more concisely: stick with what you know. – jayhendren Sep 22 '17 at 4:23
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    While I agree with the overall idea, some tools have more 'affinity' with one distro than another and using this one could be useful and avoid problems. But it's a matter of checking if there's bugs specific to a distro. – Tensibai Sep 22 '17 at 9:34
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    @Tensibai I totally agree with that. I also believe it's a tradeoff though. Would you rather have an OS that has an affinity towards a tool that makes it slightly easier to configure, or would you rather have the overhead of managing the config, patching, etc. of a distro for a single node? I think it's a both a preference and a matter of choice that needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. – PrestonM Sep 22 '17 at 13:47
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    @PrestonM I agree but, for example, running a jenkins master on a windows host makes some plugin to fail and sometimes raise some unexpected errors. So it may worth having one linux host for this. you're totally right it's a case by case basis. – Tensibai Sep 22 '17 at 13:57
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    @Tensibai Right. That would definitely be a good case for considering a different OS. – PrestonM Sep 22 '17 at 14:20

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