Posts Tagged ‘SLES’

Cross distribution system management with Spacewalk

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

In a perfect world, all systems in a data centre are running the same Linux operating system, a homogeneous system landscape. In real life things are working differently. Windows systems are out of focus in this post, lets concentrate on Linux systems.

Most companies with a large Linux base are either RHEL shops or using SLES. A lot of RHEL users have some SLES systems running and so are SLES users running some RHEL systems. Some companies have additional systems running Debian.

How to handle those heterogeneous system landscapes? Those real world scenarios? Lets assume a company runs 500 RHEL systems, 20 SLES systems and some 10 Debian systems.

At the moment, for the base software management subscription such Linux users are spending a lot of money for RHN Satellite and SUSE Manager. Additionally there are per-system costs for management, provisioning and other modules. The Debian systems are handled manually. A lot of additional costs for a few out-of-strategy systems.

The solution is Spacewalk, the upstream project of the RHN Satellite which is at the same time the upstream for the recently released SUSE Manager. While SUSE offers support for RHEL systems, Red Hat does not (yet) offer support for SLES systems for RHN Satellite.

In Spacewalk Version 1.4 code contributions from SUSE are included and a student at Brno University of Technology contributed Debian support for Spacewalk as part of his master thesis.

While the support for SUSE is already quite stable, the Debian related code still have some rough edges. No wonder, SUSE is using RPM for its packaging wile Debian has its own packaging system. This makes it much easier for SUSE to get Spacewalk ready for its distribution.

At the moment, one can call the Debian support still as experimental, but the goal for the Spacewalk project is to have it fully functional in future releases.

The goal should be that both of the management system from the major enterprise Linux vendors, Red Hat and SUSE should support each others distribution for its Spacewalk based products. Debian is a niche player in the enterprise Linux environment and should also be supported by both products, RHN Satellite and SUSE manager. Nobody does expected to get system support for those distributions by the competing distribution, but having support for the management of it.

Further readings:
Registering Clients
Deb support in Spacewalk

Have fun!

SUSE Manager based on Fedora Spacewalk

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

SUSE announced the availability of SUSE manager. Having a closer look to it, one recognizes it is based on Fedora Spacewalk. It is a clone of the Red Hat Satellite.

A few weeks ago I was puzzled to see a post on the spacewalk-devel mailing list. SUSE was contributing some code. What the heck? Now it is clear, they are using Spacewalk as there source for its own product. Spacewalk is no longer just the upstream of RHN Satellite, but also a major tool for managing SLES systems.

The open source way
It is good practice to share knowledge and code between different distributions. SUSE profits from the work Red Hat has done before, and Red Hat profits from the contributions of SUSE. IMHO this is the right way how open source software should work.

The price tag
SUSE claims “SUSE Manager allows you to save up to 50 percent for Linux support”. Really?

Lets have a look to How to buy. The price is exactly the same as for RHN Satellite: USD 13,500. Really the same price tag? Lets dig deeper on features Click on Database support. One would read

"SUSE Manager provides a built-in Oracle XE database, but can also leverage existing 
Oracle 10g or 11g databases, to locally store all data related to the 
managed Linux servers."  

Means: With the free Oracle XE database delivered with SUSE you can manage just a few systems. If you want to manage more systems, you need to buy a very expensive Oracle License which, last least, doubles the price tag of SUSE Manager.

And Debian? There are some works going on, maybe I’m going to write soon about Spacewalk and what it can do for and with Debian.

Conclusion
Because SUSE was not in a hurry to release its new product, I can not understand why SUSE was not helping the Spacewalk project to get PostgreSQL production ready before releasing it. This would provide its customers (and the spacewalk community) a real benefit.

I hope that SUSE will sustainably contribute code to Spacewalk, it is now in the interest of users of both distributions.

Have fun!

Bye bye Suse, welcome Fedora

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Successfully migrated my workstation @home from OpenSuse to Fedora13

After using SuSE and later OpenSuse since 1994 it was time for a change. I was stuck at OpenSuse because of its excellent multimedia support trough 3rd party repostitories from packman. Last evening another update brought the system down once again. Time for change.

Since a long time Fedora does not ship software any more which are problematic because of software patents, such as mp3, different video codecs etc. Since then Fedora was more or less a no-go for home-usage. In meantime there is a 3rd party repository available called RPM Fusion. RPM Fusion is as good as packman, this made the decision to switch easier.

Why I finally switched from OpenSuse to Fedora:

  • @Work, I’m mostly working with RHEL systems
  • Workstation @work migrated to Fedora long time ago
  • Novell is going to die, future of (Open)Suse is uncertain
  • Multimedia support is as good as for OpenSuse trough 3rd party repositories
  • Suse has a bad package management (zypper and friends) and its going worse with each new release
  • Fedora is more innovative
  • Bigger community
  • Better quality control (obviously)
  • If a Fedora update is going wrong, packages can be easily downgraded with a single command

Is the switch on my home workstation enterprise relevant?
Yes and no.

Yes, because people like me tend to use the upstream project of the two enterprise Linux distributions RHEL (with Fedora as upstream) and Suse (with OpenSuse as upstream). I know a lot of people who already switched to Fedora quite some time ago.

No, because for home usage for ordinary users Ubunu, Debian, you-name-it-distribution is good enough.

I’m quite convinced that (Open)Suse will die in the next time. One of the reasons is that Novell brought SuSE Linux AG back in 2003 and dismissed lots of developers. Then investment companies held the major part of Novell’s stocks. Investment companies are known to be interested to make money on the short term, not on the long term.

If Suse is really going to die, this is a bad thing for the Linux society. The only “Enterprise” Linux would then be Red Hat Enterprise Linux. As we know from Microsoft, a monopoly is always a bad thing. There is an urge for another Enterprise Linux vendor. How will kick in? Mandriva? They are nearly bankrupt. Ubunu/Canonical? They call five years of support long term support (LTS)? Gimme a break! Oracle Linux (Aka OEL)? Its a RHEL clone.

Your opinion?
Please leave a comment

Have fun? Unsure…

Rumors about Novell and Suse Linux

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

There have been a lot of rumors that Novell will be sold. Latest rumors are that the Linux parts of Novell (former SuSE) will be split off and sold separately.

Since that got public, there are even more rumors: Which company will buy the Linux part of Novell?

  • Red Hat: Very unlikely, since the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in the EU and USA will most likely disagree because RHEL and SLES are already some kind of “duopoly”.
  • Microsoft: No way that the Monopolies and Mergers Commission will agree on this. On the other hand, MS has enough manpower to get on market with “MS-Linux” if they want to do so.
  • VMware: Would make sense, they can position them as a counterpart of Red Hat with its KVM initiative. Since VMware is a Windows-Shop, it is unlikely.
  • Oracle: They already have OEL, a clone of REHL, very unlikely
  • Hewlett-Packard: Would make sense because HP-UX is dead and HP does not have a future proof operating system anymore
  • IBM: They have AIX and IBM is involved in business with both, RHEL and SLES and others. I’m unsure if it would make sense to take over Suse. AIX is one of the two Unix Systems that will survive (maybe the only one since most probably Solaris 12 will never appear).

My wild guess is: Hewlett-Packard. Why? Monopolies and Mergers Commission will not be concerned, and HP does not have any competitive Operating System in its assets anymore.

Depending on who is buying the Linux business of Novell, we will have fun or not…

Lets take a breath,

Luc