SUSE Linux bridges the gap between the server and the cloud

The new SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1 is positioned as the operating system for servers, datacenters, and the cloud.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Business IT is heading for the cloud. But, as the saying goes, "The cloud is just other people's computers." It's more complicated than that. SUSE knows that, and with its recent release of its flagship operating system, SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Server (SLES) Service Pack 1, it's created an operating system that bridges the distance between server and clouds.

SUSE calls this Multimodal IT. What's that, you ask? It means SLES 15 SP1 integrates cloud-based platforms with your enterprise systems; it merges containerized development with traditional development, and combining legacy applications with microservices. One operating system, many roles.

"SUSE Linux Enterprise is a modern and modular OS that helps simplify multimodal IT, making traditional IT infrastructure efficient and providing an engaging platform for developers," said Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of engineering, product, and innovation, in a statement "As a result, organizations can easily deploy and transition business-critical workloads across their core on-premise and public cloud environments. SUSE's open, open-source approach means we work with our customers' preferred partners and vendors, minimizing customer disruption as they innovate and evolve their systems to meet business needs."

That sounds good, but what does it mean? This starts by using a common code base across all versions of SLES and architectures. At the same time, SLES features hardened business-critical attributes such as optimized workloads, data security, and reduced downtime.

Specifically, SLES now includes the following new features.

  • Easy transition from community Linux to enterprise Linux: It now takes just a few clicks for developers and operations to move an openSUSE Leap system to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Organizations can also install applications from the SUSE Package Hub.
  • Enhanced support for edge workloads: SLES 15 SP1 for Arm 15 supports twice the number of system-on-a-chip (SoC) processor options. This broadens support for storage and industrial automation applications on 64-bit Arm server and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. For 64-bit Raspberry Pi devices, it now supports full HDMI audio and video and provides an ISO image for faster installation.
  • Optimize workloads and minimize data latency: With Intel Optane DC persistent memory and second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, SLES can be used to address the challenges of massive data increases with greater speed and agility while incurring lower infrastructure and management costs.
  • Improved hardware-based data security: Service Pack 1 features full support for AMD's Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) technology. SEV enables guest virtual machine (VM)s to run in encrypted memory. This helps protect them from memory scrape attacks from the hypervisor. SP1 also supports AMD Secure Memory Encryption (SME) which uses a single key to encrypt system memory.
  • Reduced downtime for updates: Kubic transactional updates can now be used for atomic updates which replaces traditional updates. This decreases maintenance updates time, thus increasing production uptime.
  • Simplified installation with enhanced Modular+: The Unified Installer can install more portfolio products, including SUSE Manager, SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service.

Diving deeper into the details, SLES 15 SP1 also supports:

  • Installation without network using Packages media: To install without network connection, all necessary packages are available on the Packages medium. This medium consists of directories with module repositories which can be added manually as needed. SUSE Manager provide additional options for disconnected or managed installation.
  • Extended package search: Use the new Zypper command zypper search-packages to search across all SUSE repositories available for your product even if they are not yet enabled. This functionality makes it easier for administrators and system architects to find the needed software packages.
  • RMT replaces SMT: Subscription Management Tool (SMT) has been removed. Instead, Repository Mirroring Tool (RMT) now allows mirroring SUSE repositories and custom repositories. You can then register systems directly with RMT. In environments with tightened security, RMT can also proxy other RMT servers.
  • Software updates: SLES 15 SP1 also can be managed with Salt DevOps software. The new Linux also supports Python 3 and the older Python 2. Finally, OpenLDAP has been replaced by 389 Directory Server.

SLES 15 has a 13-year life cycle, with 10 years of General Support and three years of Extended Support. The current version (SP1) will be fully maintained and supported until six months after the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP2.

So, if you're looking for a new Linux server for all your IT needs for years to come, it's time to look closely at the new SLES. I think you might be impressed.

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