SUSE releases SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 2

SUSE has launched a new update for its Enterprise Linux. What's included in this release? Will it be a better choice than Red Hat?

SUSE releases SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 2

While I was off fighting viruses, SUSE released an update to its SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, a popular business Linux operating environment. The focus of this service pack appears to be accelerating network performance, enhancing support for SAP applications and HANA, improving support for IBM Power architecture systems and other important improvements.

What SUSE has to say about this release

  • Ten-fold increase in packet processing via software-defined networking (SDN) that combines Open vSwitch with the Data Plane Development Kit. This is a key enabler for telecom providers to efficiently implement virtual network functions. Added to SUSE Linux Enterprise’s broad hypervisor support, the integration of DPDK gives customers a complete virtualization solution for cloud and on-premise deployments.
  • More agile support for SAP applications to ease migration to S/4HANA, accelerate deployment of SAP applications, tune SAP HANA for performance, and create a more resilient and secure SAP environment with enhanced support for SAP HANA clusters, even on geographical levels.
  • Reduced downtime and improved I/O performance through persistent system memory applications using integrated Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Modules (NVDIMMs) that save data in seconds and make data immediately available on reboot.
  • Increased ability to implement cost-effective, high-performance data analytics on IBM Power Systems LC and OpenPOWER servers, including bare metal support.
  • Time- and resource-saving “skip service packs” functionality, which lets customers skip upgrades of prior service packs and jump straight to SP2 from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12.
  • Ongoing FIPS 140-2 certification to meet strict security requirements of federal government, Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and financial industry customers.
  • Reduced downtime for large-memory IBM POWER-based systems via minimized memory initialization times for server restarts along with high availability and geo clustering support for IBM POWER.
  • Support for ARMv8-A, including enablement for the Raspberry Pi3, making SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2 one of the first commercially available enterprise Linux platforms for this architecture.
  • Support for Intel’s scalable Omni-Path Architecture to deploy high-performance computing workloads.
  • Simplified access to the latest packages and technologies via SUSE Package Hub integration with SUSE Customer Center, helping customers seamlessly obtain modules and package updates.

Input from partners, including HPE, Intel and others, has enabled building NVDIMM capability as an integral component of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 platform, allowing customers to benefit from early adoption.

Snapshot analysis of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 update

Linux has come a long way from when I first started following the technology in 1992 while I was at IDC. We've watched the industry grow in revenue and shipments and have seen a dramatic decrease in Linux distributions.

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At one point, IDC was tracking nearly 400 different Linux distributions. Many of them were available only at a single research institution, a single academic institution or were put together for the use of a specific community. Now very competent packages are available from Red Hat, SUSE and Canonical, reducing the need for specialized distributions to nearly zero.

We've also seen platforms supported reduce and then expand once again. Today, most distributions support X86 (both Intel and AMD), Power, IBM Z and occasionally ARM and NVIDIA.

Red Hat and SUSE have adopted different approaches to delivering products based upon open-source technology. Each is doing its best to be seen as 1) the premier representative of open source, and 2) the supplier of <insert the name of the technology of the day>.

Red Hat

Red Hat has reached into open-source technologies to optimize their use together and with other Red Hat technology. The company has integrated its edition of virtual machine (VM) software, KVM; operating system software, Red Hat Enterprise Linux; directory services; identity management services; application and system management services and development tools; and application frameworks.

Each of these individual pieces of technology has been enhanced to fit together well with other Red Hat editions of open-source technology, be easy to install together and easy to manage as a unit. Red Hat has made command decisions about what features and options of the underlying open source projects will be selected by default. If we back up a bit, it is clear Red Hat sees OpenStack as just another open-source project to package and deliver to its customers.

If an enterprise is willing to adopt everything Red Hat has assembled and is happy with Red Hat's selections of features and functions, the journey into a virtualized environment, the cloud or other important technologies will be straightforward and supportable.

Red Hat's approach is similar to that of a fine restaurant. Ingredients are selected with care, but the choice of how they're put together and seasoned is Red Hat's. Many customers—err enterprises—like the final taste and are happy to visit the Red Hat restaurant.

Enterprises that have adopted Red Hat's view of "open source everywhere" and Red Hat's selection of features and functions would be well advised to continue to look to Red Hat for private cloud functions. When new applications are being considered, enterprises of all sizes that believe in Red Hat's vision of the world and open source should consider adopting Red Hat's products.


SUSE, for its part, has reached into the same open source community projects as Red Hat, but its approach is a bit different. Rather than making many command decisions about features or options, SUSE has packaged all of the available components and leaves the choice of features and functions to enterprise developers.

SUSE's approach resembles that of a buffet. Enterprise developers have the option of putting together a virtualized environment, an on-premise cloud computing environment, or just about anything else in ways to suit their individual tastes, without having to work around the choices of the chef.

Enterprises that have the time, the expertise and the inclination to sort through all of the features and functions open source community projects offer—and also have a strong opinion about how each should be deployed to support their workloads—would be well advised to work with SUSE.

SUSE is known for its business Linux products and is worth consideration.


Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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