Red-dogging Red Hat
Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9 turns up the heatFollow @pvenezia
Following the acquisition by Novell, Suse has been undergoing some fundamental changes. Most of these changes are still waiting in the wings, but Suse released a significant refresh of its enterprise server product, and it looks to be a solid server platform indeed. I wouldn't throw over RHAS (Red Hat Advanced Server) for SLES (Suse Linux Enterprise Server) just yet, but ask me again after Suse's next release.
I've been working with SLES9 for a few weeks now. It's noticeably snappier than version 9, and easier to manage on a day-to-day basis. It also offers a bevy of new features and code. The major performance boost is due to the new v2.6.5 kernel, and its NPTL (Native POSIX Threading Library), new anticipatory I/O scheduler, and NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) support. Suse is the first major enterprise Linux vendor to take the plunge with the new v2.6 kernel; Red Hat has instead back-ported key features of v2.6 to its v2.4-based enterprise kernel.
Also new in SLES9 is integrated high-availability clustering support, achieved by implementing the Open Clustering Framework APIs that support subsecond node fail-over for critical services.
Novell has begun to put its stamp on SLES, but the job is far from finished. SLES9 ships with support for Novell's Zenworks for Linux, allowing sitewide software installation and scriptable Web-based server management. In addition, SLES9 runs Ximian's Red Carpet to facilitate update distribution. This is the first official collection of these technologies since Novell took the reins early this year.
Suse's stalwart configuration tool, YaST (Yet Another Setup Tool), has also undergone a rejuvenation. Suse has made changes to the user interface and added several key configuration modules, including full support of Samba 3, Apache, and LDAP directory services. Development tools have also been updated, and now include support for .Net applications in the form of Ximian's Mono project.
SLES9 is a much-needed refresh of Suse's enterprise Linux and it jumps ahead of the pack by incorporating the v2.6 kernel. Support for Zenworks and Red Carpet is a good start, but SLES still lacks a complete management framework. I'm looking forward to Novell's next play.
Suse Linux Enterprise Server 9
Cost: $389 for a two-CPU license; $939 for a 16-CPU license