Novell opened the kimono on its development plans for SUSE Linux Enterprise Linux 11 at Brainshare 2008 this week but let it be known the product won’t ship until 2009 or possibly 2010. In fact, the Cambridge, Mass. won’t even provide a planned ship date until the end of this year.
In any case, the company appears to have ambitious plans for SLES 11, which will run the latest Linux kernel, currently planned to be 2.6.27, and offer advanced virtualization, data center automation, green IT, and integrated collaboration features, Novell announced at it annual conference this week.
The #2 commercial Linux distribution provider also announced plans to make appliance, embedded and real-time versions of SLES 11 as well as optimized versions of SLES 11 for specific software stacks such as SAP.
The appliance version will come with a toolset that allows customers to quickly build custom images while the embedded version will be offered to OEMs to allow them to incorporate the OS and virtualization directly into their hardware. The real-time edition of SLES 11, meanwhile, will provide low latency computing solution to financial institutions and other customers with real time needs.
The SLES 11 Feature Set
On the virtualization end, SLES 11 will run the latest Xen virtualization engine, likely Xen 3.3 and offer cross platform support, including the ability to consolidate Linux, Windows and Netware workloads, and dynamic resource management features such as rapid provisioning. Additionally, as previously noted, Novell plans to create a standalone virtualization platform that can be embedded in hardware.
SLES 11 will also feature improved date center capabilities including automated and assisted healing capabilities such as single node clustering, network swap support to better enable diskless blade systems and higher availability and storage support including new administrator interfaces for clustered storage. The Linux distribution will also feature built-in support for the interconnect Infiniband, for example.
Novell will also embrace green IT principles, through support for virtualization, advanced power consumption technologies in modern processors and advanced power management features in the Linux kernel including tickless idle, NUMA support, power saving features for virtual machines and newer hardware virtualization technologies such as Intel’s VMDq, Novell said
SLES 11 desktop will also better integrate Novell’s Teaming + Conferencing software, which is based on the open source ICE core project. The collaboration software will be combined with OpenOffice.org Novell Edition.
The next generation Linux distribution will also offer improved Unix migration features and enhanced interoperability with Windows. SLES 11 will feature, for example, a POSIX cluster file system and distributed replicated block device support to ease Unix migrations, and will support for web standards such as WS-Management, the Mono 2.0 platform for running .NET applications on Linux, and enhanced support for Windows Server 2008 virtual guests and systems management features to improve interoperability with Windows.
Red Hat owns a commanding lead in Linux server market share in North America. Still, Novell claims that invoicing for its SLES platform grew by 200 percent in 2007 and cited Wal-Mart, Office Depot, Siemens IT solutions, Casio and HSBC as new customers.