​SUSE Linux Enterprise Server takes a big step forward

SUSE will soon release the next version of SLES, SUSE Manager 3.2, and SUSE Linux Enterprise High Performance Computing 15.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

SUSE doesn't get the ink that Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or Canonical Ubuntu does, but it's still a darn fine Linux server distribution. Now, SUSE takes another step forward in the server room and data center with the mid-July release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 15.

SLES 15 will be available on x86-64, ARM, IBM LinuxONE, POWER, and z Systems in mid-July. So, no matter what your preferred server architecture, SUSE can work with you.

At the same time, SUSE is presenting SLES 15 as a multimodal operating system. And what's that you ask? It's one that integrates cloud-based platforms with enterprise servers, merges containerized development with traditional development, and combines legacy applications with microservices.

SUSE does this in SLES by using a "common code base" to environments. You then add the appropriate modules for your purpose.

Some of this is just rebranding. For example, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) is made up, as before, with the core legacy code base with the desktop code base. But it's more than that. For microservices, for example, you use the legacy code base with SUSE Container as a Service (CaaS) Platform, and for a private cloud you add in the SUSE OpenStack Cloud. Using this approach, you can also easily deploy SLES on both your in-house servers and software-defined infrastructure such as the Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, and/or Microsoft Azure using the SUSE Linux Enterprise Bring-Your-Own-Subscription (BYOS) programs.

In addition, there are two other SLES versions. The first of these, SLE High Performance Computing 15, addresses the growing needs of the HPC market with a comprehensive set of supported tools for both x86 and ARM architectures. This includes the slurm workload manager; your choice of mrsh, pdsh, and/or conman for cluster management; and ganglia for performance monitoring.

Then there's SLES for SAP Applications. This edition includes non-volatile dual in-line memory module (NVDIMM) support for disk-less databases and enhanced high availability features for IBM Power Systems. A new feature, "workload memory protection," provides an open source-based, more-scalable solution to sustain high performance levels for SAP applications.

Put it all together and what SUSE is trying to do is create a Linux not just for servers and traditional IT roles, but for DevOps and continuous integration and development (CI/CD) as well.

Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE CTO, explained, "As organizations around the world transform their enterprise systems to embrace modern and agile technologies, multiple infrastructures for different workloads and applications are needed. This often means integrating cloud-based platforms into enterprise systems, merging containerized development with traditional development, or combining legacy applications with microservices. To bridge traditional and software-defined infrastructure, SUSE has built a multimodal operating system -- SUSE Linux Enterprise 15."

SUSE is on to something. Stephen Belanger, IDC's senior research analyst for Computing Platforms, wrote, "Linux has become a preferred platform for the cloud and for modern cloud-native application development. It has also gained stature as a preferred development platform for most ISVs. Today Linux is widely used for hosting traditional as well as next-generation applications across bare-metal, virtual, and container-based delivery methods. SUSE Linux Enterprise comes out at the top for SAP applications, mainframes, high-performance computing, and other key Linux enterprise-centric use cases."

Finally, SUSE is also releasing the latest version of its SUSE Manager. In this edition, the program builds on its native server management skills by adding new features so you can use the same console to IoT, cloud, and Kubernetes-based container infrastructures. With SUSE Manager 3.2, SUSE promises you can manage everything from your Raspberry Pi-based Internet of Things (IoT) devices to the SUSE CaaS Platform and back again.

If you want a bridge between your old-school IT servers to the 21st century's clouds, containers, and orchestration, you must check out SUSE's new family of operating systems. You'll be glad you did.

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