This is in reference to https://blog.gahooa.com/2009/01/18/fedora-or-redhat-enterprise-linux-in-a-production-environment/.
After the excellent comment by Sergio Olivo, I did some heavy looking into the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux project (EPEL for short). On a brand-spanking-new RHEL 5 box, I installed the YUM repository for EPEL, and quite immediately had access to tons of extra packages. Erlang is there. Git is there. Memcached is there. Sweet!
However, EPEL does not update or replace the version of any packages provided by RHEL.
So the problem of having out of date versions of PHP and Python still remain. Next I looked into using a third party RPM repository (provided by RackSpace). They provide updated versions of PHP and a number of PHP modules. But alas, this created incompatibilities with the EPEL packages for PHP. This is because EPEL packages are targeted for RHEL versions. Bla…
So here is what I decided to do (haven’t done it yet, but will soon). We will build and package our own custom set of RPMs for RHEL 5, and publish them in an RPM repository. Then we will simply point each server to that repository in addition to the main RHEL repository, and poof, problem solved. We may also use EPEL for things like Erlang and git. Or we may compile from source. Not sure.
For those of you who are not familiar with YUM RPM repositories, they can be as simple as a specail directory structure served by a webserver.
There are a few items remaining to be concluded, but they should fall into place fairly quickly.