New features in Satellite 5.8

Redhat Satellite 5 was released in version 5.8. based on Spacewalk 2.5. It will probably be the last upgrade available, Support ends in January 2019.

New features and enhancements

  • The major new feature is the introduction of support for the CDN for both, Satellite activation and content sync. The key benefit is a massively enhanced performance for content sync. It’s now called cdn-sync, not satellite-sync anymore. Be aware that some custom scripts as well as cronjobs must be updated as well.This change also introduces the usage of Satellite Manifests instead of the old Certificates
  • Introduction of the new CLI tool taskotop which allows you to watch the activity of the Taskomatic Daemon.
  • PostgreSQL is upgraded to 9.5 which brings, compared to 9.2, some performance improvements as well.
  • More Perl bits have been rewritten to Java
  • Java JRE is now IBM’s Version 1.8
  • A few new commands in the spacecmd CLI
  • Lots of bugfixes and small enhancements

Removed features

There are some features that have been dropped with this release.

  • Support for Patch management of Solaris Systems. Who was using that? I can not remember that I’ve seen a company using that feature.
  • Monitoring is gone as well, I only know one organization that have used that feature. Most companies are using Icinga or Nagios.

Usange of cdn-sync

Populate Repository Metadata

The listing of available channels is working off-line. To be able to see the number of packages assigned to which channels you need to download the repository metadata first.

[root@sat58 ~]# cdn-sync --count-packages
14:05:25 Number of channels: 1271
14:05:25 Number of repositories: 1456
Downloading repomd:   |##################################################| 100.0% 
Comparing repomd:     |##################################################| 100.0% 
Downloading metadata: |##################################################| 100.0% 
Counting packages:    |##################################################| 100.0% 
14:42:21 Total time: 0:36:56
[root@sat58 ~]# 

Be aware that this will take a while, depending on how many entitlements are defined in the Satellite Manifest.

To keep that data up to date you should add a cronjob to do so.

[root@sat58 ~]# echo '0 1 * * * perl -le "sleep rand 9000" && /usr/bin/cdn-sync --count-packages' >> /etc/cron.d/cdn-sync-populate-metadata

Initial content sync

Similar to the old satellity-sync you provide the parameter -c repeatedly for all repos to be synced.

[root@sat58 ~]# cdn-sync -c rhel-x86_64-server-7              
11:16:20 ======================================
11:16:20 | Channel: rhel-x86_64-server-7
11:16:20 ======================================
11:16:20 Sync of channel started.
11:16:20 Repo URL: https://cdn.redhat.com/content/dist/rhel/server/7/7Server/x86_64/os
11:16:28 Packages in repo:             14275
11:16:41 Packages already synced:          0
11:16:41 Packages to sync:             14275
11:16:42 New packages to download:     14275
11:16:43 1/14275 : 389-ds-base-1.3.5.10-20.el7_3.x86_64.rpm
11:16:43 2/14275 : 389-ds-base-1.3.4.0-26.el7_2.x86_64.rpm
11:16:43 3/14275 : 389-ds-base-1.3.5.10-11.el7.x86_64.rpm
11:16:43 4/14275 : 389-ds-base-1.3.3.1-16.el7_1.x86_64.rpm
[.. output ommited ..]
11:57:03 14275/14275 : zsh-5.0.2-14.el7_2.2.x86_64.rpm
Importing packages:     |##################################################| 100.0% 
13:10:05 Linking packages to channel.
13:10:19 Repo https://cdn.redhat.com/content/dist/rhel/server/7/7Server/x86_64/os has comps file 730c62cc7600c7518e4920f800cb9af6b73d75ba-comps.xml.
13:10:20 Repo https://cdn.redhat.com/content/dist/rhel/server/7/7Server/x86_64/os has 1885 errata.
13:10:50 Kickstartable tree not detected (no valid treeinfo file)
13:10:50 Repo URL: https://cdn.redhat.com/content/dist/rhel/server/7/7.3/x86_64/kickstart
13:10:55 Packages in repo:              4751
13:12:32 No new packages to sync.
13:12:32 Linking packages to channel.
13:12:44 Repo https://cdn.redhat.com/content/dist/rhel/server/7/7.3/x86_64/kickstart has comps file c542e4cf37dd210de68877b53f41d92dc7686c6e1b35ca4b1852f2e62fca2c72-comps-Server.x86_64.xml.gz.
13:12:44 Repo https://cdn.redhat.com/content/dist/rhel/server/7/7.3/x86_64/kickstart has 0 errata.
13:12:44 Added new kickstartable tree ks-rhel-x86_64-server-7-7.3. Downloading content...
13:12:44 Gathering all files in kickstart repository...
Downloading kickstarts: |##################################################| 100.0%
[.. output ommited ..]
13:24:53 Sync of channel completed in 2:08:33.
13:24:54 Total time: 2:08:33
[root@sat58 ~]# 

A subsequent run of cdn-sync without any parameters behaves like satellite-sync, its syncing previously synced channels.

You probably want to schedule a cronjob for daily syncing new content

[root@sat58b ~]# echo '0 1 * * * perl -le "sleep rand 9000" && /usr/bin/cdn-sync' >> /etc/cron.d/cdn-sync

The output of the sync actions are logged to /var/log/rhn/cdnsync.log

Clearing the cache

Remember rm -rf /var/cache/rhn/satsync/* when something went wrong? That’s gone :-). You just use cdn-sync –clear-cache.

cdn-sync --clear-cache

Upgrading from Satellite 5.7

I’ve not found the time yet to test the upgrade, I’ll let you know about my experience and thoughts in a few days.

Conclusion

After approximately 15 years, old school Redhat Satellite 5 will finally be replaced with Satellite 6 which is built on base of completely different technologies such as The Foreman, Pulp, Katello etc.

Satellite 5.8 is a very mature release no major bugs are known.

Satellite users are encouraged to discover Satellite 6 now, to be ready for the transition to be made in 2020.

Have fun 🙂

8 thoughts on “New features in Satellite 5.8

  1. Dear Luc,

    how can I activate the cdn-sync feature. When I am trying to execute it, I got a message like:

    ERROR: Your Red Hat Satellite is not activated for CDN
    (to see details about currently used SSL certificates for accessing CDN: /usr/bin/cdn-sync –cdn-certs)

    • Hi again,

      I figured out how. I first had to switch to Manifest Mode in access portal. After bumping the Version to 5.8 Manifest is now even the only option. In the past we have used certificates so this was the first time I have activated a manifest in Sat 5. It did not work through the web interface as it did not pass the –ignore-version-mismatch but on command line. Now I am a happy cdn-sync user 😉

  2. Is there a way to tell cdn-sync to sync all channels that have been synced via satellite-sync in the past? Or do I have to add them manually using the -c command?

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  4. Is cdn-sync available for users of mrepo and/or Spacewalk open-source? We have legitimate RHEL entitlements and currently use mrepo/lftp/certificates for sync. If there’s a way to use cdn-sync without purchasing the full Satellite solution, that would be great.

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