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SUSE's SLES 12 OS and computing roadmap

With SLES 12, some changes are in store for Linux admins, including a new default file system and bootloader. Here's the lowdown on SUSE's OS roadmap.

SUSE revealed the main features of its latest version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SLES 12, at the SUSEcon conference in Orlando, Fla., last month. SLES 12, due to be released late next year, will include significant changes to the enterprise-class Linux server OS and have an emphasis on interoperability.

Btrfs will displace ext3 to become the new default file system. Booting from Btrfs has been an issue for some Linux administrators, but according to the company, the new GRUB2 standard boot loader should solve this problem.

SLES 12 integrates several tools based on the copy-on-write Btrfs' snapshot functionality. Administrators can automatically roll back a server that is experiencing problems. An integrated snapper functionality registers all changes applied to a server; new data blocks won't overwrite old blocks but are simply stored apart, easily reverting the server to a previous state.

Several SLES 12 developments focus on ease of administration. "SUSE ... create[s] strategic business alliances with important vendors such as Microsoft, VMware, SAP and others," said Nils Braukmann, SUSE president. "That helps administrators integrating SUSE Linux in an environment where these are used in the most optimal way."

The company has also upgraded the SLES 12 support plan, offering a 10-year support period with the option of three additional years for extended support.

The SUSE YaST administration tool lets admins set up tasks easily without it being the only way to manage SLES, according to Matthias Eckermann, product manager for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. "YaST is fully compatible with the configuration files. Those administrators that want to administer SLES by modifying the configuration files still can, without breaking anything," he said.

SUSE is actively contributing to the development of the high-availability add-on. Its recent addition, Geo Clustering, allows admins to set up clusters in a site-replication environment, even when the data centers are hundreds of miles apart.

SUSE's plans for cloud, storage and desktop

SUSE Cloud 2.0, which will be built on OpenStack, will help admins spin up clouds quickly.

"Of course, technical skills and insight are still required -- when things go wrong and for advanced setup -- but we want to make it easy to get started with SUSE cloud," Brauckmann said.

SUSE will also launch a storage product, yet to be named, that will offer distributed storage based on OpenStack Swift technology.

About the author:
Sander van Vugt is an independent trainer and consultant based in the Netherlands. He is an expert in Linux high availability, virtualization and performance. He has authored many books on Linux topics, including Beginning the Linux Command LineBeginning Ubuntu LTS Server Administration and Pro Ubuntu Server Administration.

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