Suse builds on Linux kernel 3.0 in major SLES upgrade

SLES 11 Service Pack 2 delivers file-system enhancements, broader virtualization support, snapshot features, and more

Suse today announced the first major update to Suse Linux Enterprise 11 since Attachmate acquired Novell back in 2011. Available now, SLES 11 Service Pack 2 builds on Linux kernel 3.0, delivering a host of new features that will hold enterprise appeal while potentially luring users away from Solaris.

Features packed into SP2 include enhanced file-system support, bolstered virtualization capabilities, a new snapshot feature, support for Linux containers, and more.

According to Suse, this latest version of SLES is the first Linux distribution on the market to offer commercial Btrfs (B-Tree file system) support. Released in January of this year, Btrfs aims to deliver a high degree of scalability, reliability, and simplified management. Its features include online defragmention, balance loading, file cloning, and snapshots.

SP2 includes a tool called Snapper that employs the Btrfs snapshot functionality, combined with YaST2 and Zypper package manager, to enable users to quickly roll back system updates and configuration changes.

On the virtualization front, SLES 11 SP2 is designed to work well with Xen, KVM, ESX, and Hyper-V. Further, the release supports "system containers" with the LXC (Linux Container) infrastructure, yielding soft partitioning of large physical systems.

Also new with SP2 is a host of security enhancements, including stricter SSL certificate checks for LDAP clients; optional SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux) capabilities (on top of the existing AppArmor); and support for TPM (Trusted Platform Module). SP2 also boasts floating point and cryptographic features that deliver improved performance and security such as AES-NI.

Service Pack 2 supports existing and new hardware without impacting hardware and software certifications, according to Suse, with support for over 500 of the latest CPUs, chip sets, storage equipment, and networking devices. With the new release, users can access processor features in Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron such as CPU and memory off-lining, MCA recovery, and improved MPIO hardware support.

Suse Linux Enterprise SP2 features are available in the following modular extensions:

  • Suse Linux Enterprise Server High Availability Extension is an integrated suite of open source clustering technologies aimed at ensuring continuous access to systems and data
  • Suse Linux Enterprise Server for System z is an alternative to x86 platforms for consolidating distributed server workloads and leveraging IBM System z mainframe hardware and hypervisor capabilities
  • Suse Linux Enterprise Real Time Extension transforms SLES into a fully supported, real-time OS designed to reduce latency while increasing the predictability and reliability of applications
  • Suse Linux Enterprise Mono Extension, which enables users to build and run Microsoft .Net-based applications on Linux

Come Aug. 31, Suse will end support for SLES 11 SP 1, though a separate Long Term Service Pack Support option is available.

Release notes for Suse Linux Enterprise 11 (SP2) are available. The software is available for download.

This story, "Suse builds on Linux kernel 3.0 in major SLES upgrade," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.