Last week at the BrainShare 2006 conference, Novell handed out beta editions of SLES (Suse Linux Enterprise Server) 10 and SLED (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop) 10, the latter a rebranding of the Novell Linux Desktop to emphasize the shared code base between client and server. The big but unsurprising news, considering Red Hat banged the same drum just days earlier, is that SLES 10 integrates the Xen 3.0 hypervisor, allowing users to run multiple instances of the operating system in virtual machines on one physical x86 server.
Novell has added a wizard to the YaST configuration tool that smooths the way to configuring and deploying virtual machines. After that, monitoring and managing Xen VMs is strictly a command line affair. Nevertheless, the combination of Xen and another SLES 10 feature, the Oracle Cluster File System, puts on an impressive show. On-the-fly migrations of a running virtual machine from one physical server to another take only moments, with barely a hiccup.
SLED 10 also has a good deal going for it. The client OS has been fleshed out with a new 3-D rendering engine, desktop search (including indexing of audio files, photos, and even Web sites), and stronger Excel macro support, not to mention a music player and photo library. Novell execs keep saying that now’s the time to switch from Windows and Office. We’ve all heard that before, but these folks truly seem to believe it.
Suse Linux Enterprise 10
Cost: SLES starts at $349 per server for x86; SLED still to be determined
Available: Summer 2006
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