SUSE releases major Linux update

SUSE just rolled out SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 and its latest system management program, SUSE Manager 4.1
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

SUSE, one of the three major enterprise Linux distribution companies, released on July 21, 2020, the next versions of its flagship operating system, SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 15 Service Pack 2 and its latest infrastructure management program, SUSE Manager 4.1.

SLE 15 SP2 is available on the x86-64, Arm, IBM POWER, IBM Z, and LinuxONE hardware architectures. This new Linux server edition is based on the Linux 5.3 kernel. This new kernel release includes upstream features such as utilization clamping support in the task scheduler, and power-efficient userspace waiting. 

Other new and noteworthy features include:

  • Support for migration from openSUSE Leap to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). With this, you can try the free, community openSUSE Linux distro, and then, if you find it's a good choice for your business, upgrade to SLES.
  • Extended Package Search. By using the new Zypper, SUSE's command line package manager, command option -- zypper search-packages -- sysadmins can now search across all SUSE repositories, even unenabled ones. This makes it easier for administrators to find required software packages. 
  • SLE Software Development Kit (SDK) is now integrated into SLE. Development packages are packaged alongside regular packages.
  • Python 3: SLE 15 offers full support for Python 3 development. SLE still supports Python 2 for the time being.
  • 389 Directory Server replaces OpenLDAP as the LDAP directory service.
  • Repository Mirroring Tool (RMT) replaces Subscription Management Tool (SMT). RMT 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.
  • Better business continuity with improved SLE Live Patching. SUSE claims Live Patching increases system uptime by up to 12 months. SLE Live Patching is also now available for IBM Z and LinuxONE mainframe architectures.

Beyond the operating system, SLE also bridges traditional and software-defined infrastructures. These features include: 

  • Updated public cloud images for Alibaba, AWS, Google, IBM, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle.

  • Support for FIPS 140-2 security and offline installation for air-gapped deployments.

  • Latest CPU support. This includes support for the Fujitsu A64FX and the next-generation AMD EPYC processor.
  • Expanded NVIDIA hypervisor support, This support helps with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and edge workloads. On the low end, Raspberry Pi 4 device support enables reduced energy and heat dissipation and an improved installation process.

  • Better DevOps support for automation, project builds, and message-oriented middleware using RabbitMQ, Prometheus, and Maven.

  • Easier migration of SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA services to cloud and hybrid implementations. Integrators can add SAP S/4HANA migration data to deployment scripts for automatic deployment. SAP Basis Administrators can also proactively manage SAP systems with new monitoring and visualization of server, cluster, and SAP applications data.

In this release, SUSE also worked with Microsoft to develop a solution to collect and graphically display both server and SAP-specific operational data. John Gossman, Microsoft Distinguished Engineer, said in a statement: 

SUSE and Microsoft have a long-standing commitment to ensuring smooth and reliable implementations of SAP systems. Microsoft Azure has standardized on SUSE's Pacemaker Monitoring Exporter and is pleased to see this capability supported in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications 15 SP2.

"SUSE solutions, including SUSE Linux Enterprise, are designed for IT transformation," added Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of engineering and innovation. "Customers stake their businesses on their IT infrastructure and we stake our business on their success. With SUSE and using true open source software, they can simplify their existing environments and ease the transformation that will allow them to take advantage of modern computing as they accelerate innovation in their businesses."

 As for SUSE Manager 4.1, this is an improved open-source infrastructure management and automation solution that lowers costs, identifies risk, enhances availability, and reduces complexity in edge, cloud, and data center environments. With SUSE Manager you can keep servers, VMs, containers, and clusters secure, healthy, compliant, and low maintenance whether in private, public, or hybrid cloud. That's especially important these days thanks to coronavirus pandemic IT staff disruptions. SUSE Manager 4.1 can also be used with the Salt DevOps program.

Its vertical-market brother, SUSE Manager for Retail 4.1, is optimized and tailored specifically for retail. This release comes with enhancements for small store operations, enhanced offline capabilities and image management over Wi-Fi, and enhanced virtual machine management and monitoring capabilities. Simultaneously it can scale retail environments to tens of thousands of end-point devices and help modernize point-of-service rollouts.

Put it all together and you get a solid, complete open-source software stack for both small businesses and the largest enterprises. SLE 15 SP 2 looks like a release that not only SUSE-customers, but any Linux-using company should check out.

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