SUSE heads for the Edge Computing with SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1

SUSE's latest operating system release is for those who need a lightweight and secure operating system for their containerized and virtualized workloads.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Once upon a time, we got Linux distributions because they were the Swiss-Army Knives of operating systems. They came with every program you might ever need. You can still get those, of course. But, lately, businesses have been wanting lightweight, secure Linux distros for cloud and edge computing containers and virtual machines (VM)s. To meet that demand, the latest business-class Linux is SUSE's new SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1 (SLE Micro).

You can use SLE Micro as a single-node container host, Kubernetes cluster node, single-node KVM virtualization host, or, of course, in the public cloud. Since it's built to scale, you can also use it at the edge or to support edge deployments with mainframes. This makes it easier to move your workloads designs from monolithic to microservices at your own pace.

Customers seem to like this plan. "SLE Micro is rapidly becoming a critical foundation of customers' digital transformation, as evidenced by a large U.S.-based systems integrator choosing SLE Micro to modernize their embedded systems with a seven-figure investment," said Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE's chief technology and product officer in a statement. "They want to support container workloads on an immutable infrastructure that is easy to maintain and update, enabling them to reduce maintenance costs and modernize their systems infrastructure."

For example, Di Giacomo continued, a global telecom giant is using SLE Micro because they're moving from a stale, static proprietary system to the open-source SLE Micro. "For them, closed-source software is not viable because it severely limits their ability to invest and innovate with not only software but also hardware. SLE Micro helped them unlock the cost-savings potential of open-source design for both software and hardware. With SLE Micro's open standards design, they can explore commodity hardware from a number of vendors and build an open source-based software platform using open standards such as Kubernetes with open source tools of their choice. Ultimately, they expect significant savings on software and hardware while keeping full control of their technology stack strategy and roadmap."

SLE Micro isn't just a small distribution though. It also comes with edge-focused security features such as secure device onboarding and live patching

This new operating system is also very flexible as to hardware support. Besides the usual x86 family, it's also available for ARM, IBM Z, and LinuxONE platforms.

So what does all this bring to customers? According to SUSE: 

  • Decreased deployment time and fewer manual processes with improved onboarding security through secure device onboarding of appliances and devices. Using the integrated secure device onboarding client, managed service providers (MSP) or independent hardware and software vendors (IHV and ISV) can ship an appliance directly to the end customer and remotely and securely onboard the device.

  • Reduced costly downtime per device with live patching of the kernel, allowing security patches to be applied as soon as available without waiting for a maintenance window and without stopping the running kernel. This mitigates the high-security risk from thousands of devices that have an active security vulnerability at the edge.

  • Capability for the gradual modernization of applications toward a microservice-based architecture. With its small footprint, built-in security framework, and near-zero administrative overhead, SLE Micro provides an excellent container and virtualization host for IBM Z and LinuxONE. Customers can run their workloads (containerized or virtualized) optimally -- with minimal storage, more security, and less latency -- on the same mainframe that stores the enterprise's mission-critical data.

Kara Todd, IBM Z and LinuxONE's director of Linux, said in a statement, "SUSE adding SLE Micro to its products supported on IBM Z and LinuxONE demonstrates a continued prioritization of choice. We expect our joint customers will appreciate being able to take advantage of this immutable Linux distribution as a KVM host in their secure execution stack, taking advantage of the security and reliability the IBM Z platform provides."

So, if you're interested in a lightweight and secure Linux for your cloud-native projects, mainframe, what-have-you, give SLE Micro a look. You can give this new Linux a try by downloading SLE Micro for any of its three supported platforms.  I think you'll like what you see.

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