Personally, I've learned to stick with mainstream. Since the best supported variant on the Pi is Rasbian, I'd stick with that. Just don't start the GUI, stick with the command line only. That alone saves loads of grief.
DietPi.com on (almost) any platform including PC/VM.
Raspberry 3 Pi with Raspbian runs by a couple of years without problems.
It is in a Gewiss junction boxes (quite big) without heatsink.
I just keep a second RPi if any possible hardware problem.
Absolutely. You might be surprised how little resistance in the cable or connectors (especially the micro-USB going into the Pi) it takes to drop the voltage to unacceptable levels. (This video is entertaining but correct.) The higher current needed by the Pi3+ adds to the problem. On the other hand, connecting power to the GPIO pins involves some risk, because it bypasses the on-board fuse of the Pi. (An external fuse might be a good idea.) I think that eventually the Raspberry designers will have to re-think how they deliver power to their boards.
personally, use what you already have at your disposal. an older Android device than can run termux will work fine. but if your looking to not have to worry about the battery. and O-droid, orange pi or friendly ARM board, perferibly one of the cheaper ones that support EMMC. will work better and you won't have to worry about the server going down from a overcharged battery.
As stated by others - get a good power supply for the PI.
Mine has been rock solid for several years since I got a decent (Canakit 2.5A for <$10 ) power supply.
Prior to that I was getting monthly SD card corruption using just any old 5v USB phone charger power supply.
As mentioned above, voltage drop across the power cable can be significant, especially with the cheap imports.
Pimoroni do a range of good quality power cables which use 22AWG power lines, and also a variety of different lengths - always select the shortest cable, both will reduce voltage drop, and therefore minimise supply voltage problems.
If you are attaching an external drive or other peripheral to the Pi, consider using a powered hub, so that it's current is drawn direct from the power supply, instead of via the Pi + Pi cable.
Fwiw due to corporate environment, I run mostly on windows server. No issues with stability. The odd package can crap it out (modbus for me) but I suspect that'd be true of any environment/hardware.
I also have some running in docker... Also stable so far.
I have had Raspberry Pi's running 24/7 for years without any issues!
If you want/need something faster, I second a Ubuntu 16/18 LTS machine (can also Virtualize it).
I then run it in Docker so that I can easily backup and restore states just in case something goes wrong.
I use a Raspbery 2B wich runs always stable.
If you are looking for something BETTER than a Pi, IMO the Intel NUCs are the sweet spot for reliability, form factor, and price. You'll end up spending $300 - $600 depending on how you load it out, or maybe cheaper if you can find it on ebay or deal sites, but its a real x86 system with legitimate storage options that you don't get with a Pi without basically strapping an external hard drive onto it. Of course, that won't give you GPIO pins if you are using them for anything.
The biggest concern with Pis is the SDCard storage which it sounds like you are aware of...
On the other hand, using Projects and putting the git repo on some other stable box makes bringing up a complete new Pi on a new SDCard pretty easy if your SDCard craps out, and I haven't had that much of a problem on a few Pis running for over three years that way. My alarm system Pi runs that way, and if it ever craps out I'll just restore a new SDCard with node-red, restore my project, and should be back in business.
SD card corruption on Pi's is a real thing, but in my experience, it is more likely to be caused by voltage fluctuations or interruptions than by normal usage. Most cards have some sort of wear leveling, although the manufacturers are not very forthcoming about it. Larger cards do better with some but not all types of leveling. The only card failures I've had were clearly due to power problems. Both times, after putting the Pi on a good supply and a UPS, I was able to reformat the card and put it back in service with no further problems. Of course, YMMV.
Not so in my experience. I had several card failures early on - not recoverable, had to bin the card - until I switched to Samsung Evo 32MB cards, no problems since even with unexpected power outages. Been running my live system off the same card now for several years.
Although I have run a Raspi 2 for a couple of years without problem I decided I wanted a more robust solution for my next project. I wanted to move to home Assistant (Hassio) in order to use the 'docker' system running Node-RED and a lot of other stuff in 'containers', MQTT for example. Having said that very many people successfully run Hass.IO on Raspberry Pi's. I chose an Intel NUC which cost £110 complete with power supply then I added 8Gb of Crucial fast ram and a 120Gb Scandisk SSD . I use Ubuntu 18.04.1.
I am delighted with the system as it is fast, reliable and robust. Updates to Node_RED or any other container are as simple as a button click. Back ups of the system or any part of it are again a button click to save a 'snapshot'. Snap shots can be stored locally or off line including 'cloud' storage. Snapshots can be simply re-installed even on a completely different machine.
I highly recommend Hass.IO on a NUC. It doesn't match the 'cheapest' criteria though.
Otherwise I can endorse what others have said re power supply, cards and cables.
Any idea how much power that consumes?
I have a Synology NAS that I've been happy with for a few years now - however, Synology will no longer update the OS which I find highly objectionable. There is no excuse, the platform is fine, the hardware is fine but I now have to live with increasingly insecure software.
I can't afford to keep replacing devices like this every few years just because the vendor decides they want to boost sales so ultimately, I will need something to replace it. As I only really need RAID 0 (mirroring), some backup from devices and to cloud and, of course, file serving, I could fairly easily roll by own.
Hi, sorry I do not know what power it consumes as I haven't monitored it. The PSU is around 65W but I doubt in my application it is using anything like max power.
I looked at the Synology route and somewhat unwisely bought a DS216J that has the AMD processor as opposed to the Intel of, say, the 218+. The 216J cannot run 'Docker' according to the information I could find. I recently looked at the cost of buying a 218+ base unit (Intel processor) with a view to running Docker etc. I found the cost prohibitive. The Synology I have is perfectly fine as a NAS storage device. In my opinion the Intel NUC products with a suitably large capacity SSD would make an equally good, if not better storage device. However, I wanted to run Linux, Hassio using docker, Node-RED, Grafana, InfluxDb and some other stuff with a Nginx reverse proxy. although my NUC is one of the basic models (6CAYH) it does all I need perfectly. I am free of any manufacturer specific software (OS) and I can update my software freely.
Thanks for the feedback, useful. I was careful to buy an Intel device - that was well before they released Docker for DSM. As it happens though, each time I've used the Synology to run other things, I eventually fall back to more standard usage since, especially with a couple of TB of data, indexing and backup jobs are pretty heavy so I leave it at the basics.
Anyway, you've given me food for thought, thanks.
Most stable would be an Intel/AMD system. you can get them very cheaply these days, even the use i3-4000 series small form factor (SFF) refurbished are great for this and very stable (just ensure a good brand SSD for the drive).
if you use a Pi (i've had great success with them as well), key is a good power supply, and a Good Brand SSD (Sandisk, make sure its real Sandisk not a knock off, or Samsung EVO). I have several running Sandisk for over a year without a single failure or hiccup!
You did see my comments further up didn't you? I've been running a Pi2 and a Pi3 for at least 3 years 24x7x365 on the same Samsung Evo SD cards.
Yes, thank you... what is your point? My point/reason for posting: I'm adding evidence so the OP can see what options there are from those that have experience, further bolstering your point. 1 person having success can just be luck, multiple is a pattern.