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Thursday, 03 April 2014 16:42

SUSE to upgrade enterprise Linux this year

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The German Linux company SUSE has begun the beta testing of version 12 of its enterprise operating system, with plans to make a release later this year.

Given that the last version came out in November 2009, it will be roughly a five-year cycle - not something the company says it has been aiming at. "The release cycle of major releases depends on market requirements and progress on the technology front. We are already in the planning stage for future releases, but a final vote would be premature at this point in time," according to Matthias Eckermann, senior product manager for SUSE Linux Enterprise, SUSE.

The release is based on the 3.12 kernel and will have enhancements related to business continuity, local systems management, interoperability and the cloud.

"The most exciting functionality is snapshot and rollback for the full system, i.e., including kernel and initrd," the spokesman said. "SUSE introduced snapshot and rollback feature that leverages btrfs file system and snapper module in SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP2 in 2012. With SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, we are extending this to the boot-related parts (except the bootloader itself). In short, grub2 will be able to boot directly from a snapshot, giving customers peace of mind for system updates and service pack upgrade," Eckermann said.

There is no time to include the new kGraft module, that enables patching a running kernel, in the release. "As discussed recently, we are focusing on submitting kGraft upstream as a first step. Productisation is the second step, yet it would be premature to speculate about it at this point in time. Thus, kGraft will not be part of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 general availability," Eckermann said.

Version 12 of the enterprise distribution will have support for secure boot, something that has been part of SUSE's community distribution openSUSE for some time now.

Eckermann said: "SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP3 has been the first enterprise Linux distribution to include UEFI secure boot on desktop and server. In SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 we are expanding the capabilities and improving the user experience, also on server and desktop."

He added that there were two major improvements in the new installer. "The YaST framework, including the installer, now is written in Ruby instead of the old domain specific language YCP, giving customers and primarily partners the option to include their own modules much more easily into the boot process.

Additionally, the workflow has been significantly streamlined. It features early network configuration which means earlier access to registration and thus installation directly with updates. There is no "second stage" with all pre-configuration taking place in one short session. This means more efficiency for manual installations, and also for AutoYaST driven automatic installations which translates to less waits and less reboots.

Eckermann said: "Our goal is that SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 does not need more resources than SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 did for a specific use case. Obviously, though, the use of snapshot/rollback for the full system will require more disk space to store the snapshots.

"I'd also like to share that SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 will be a pure 64-bit operating system family, i.e., kernel and hypervisors (Xen, KVM) will be 64-bit only. For migration purposes, though, we will provide customers with the option to run existing 32-bit applications on top of the x86-64 64-bit Kernel, and we will also support running existing 32-bit VMs on top of the 64-bit open source hypervisors."

In another development, SUSE has introduced a new training course called Administration of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 for SAP Applications. The four-day course teaches administrators to better administer and maintain SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, which is the SUSE operating system optimised for software and appliances running on the SAP HANA platform and the SAP NetWeaver technology platform.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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