Novell Offers SUSE Service Pack for Enterprise Customers

Each of us has our own particular reason for using Linux, whether it's for the freedom, the features, the fascination, or the geek factor. For enterprise users, the reasons to choose Linux include stability, scalability, specialization, and support — and the option to stay on their current systems for as long as possible.

Though the need is not unique to business users, a commitment to increased reliability, longevity, and support is a defining characteristic of enterprise Linux distributions. Key to maintaining this commitment are regular update releases, generally provided at intervals of six months to a year or more.

One such interval came around this week at Novell, with the announcement of the first service pack for the company's SUSE Linux Enterprise line. In addition to its desktop and server offerings, the service pack will provide updates for Novell's retail-focused Point of Sale system, its Virtual Machine Driver Pack for Windows guest machines, and its High Availability Extension for advanced clustering.

Open Platform Solutions SVP Markus Rex described the release as "delivering technical innovations that allow [users] to run their mission-critical workloads reliably, securely, and affordably," going on to say that it "gives our customers superior investment protection through a low-risk, highly-capable platform that they can deploy and rely on for years."

Among the improvements introduced in the service pack are:

  • Broadest virtualization support, including the latest Xen* 4.0 hypervisor with significantly improved virtual input/output performance, support for KVM, an emerging open source virtualization hypervisor, and Linux integration components in Hyper-V* – an industry first.
  • Best open source high-availability solution, with clustering advances such as support for metro area clusters, simple node recovery with ReaR, the leading open source disaster recovery framework, and new administrative tools including a cluster simulator and web-based GUI.
  • First enterprise Linux distribution with an updated 2.6.32 kernel, which leverages the RAS features in Intel* Xeon* processor 7500 and 5600 series, such as MCA recovery, improved MPIO hardware support; new floating point and cryptographic features that deliver improved performance and security like AES-NI, as well as Intel* Rapid Storage Technology enterprise, fully implemented for robust software RAID.
  • New technology on the desktop, including improved audio and Bluetooth* support, as well as the latest versions of Firefox, OpenOffice.org, and Evolution™, which includes MAPI enhancements for improved interoperability with Microsoft* Exchange

In addition, Novell announced additions to its Partner Linux Driver Program and Independent Software Vendor program, changes to its repository system, revisions to its support and maintenance policies, and a number of enhanced support options.

Though announced yesterday, the service pack will not be available to most users until June 2nd. Novell also launched a month-long "Linux Day 2010 Tour" in New York on Tuesday, which will visit cities including Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Columbus, Seattle, and Washington D.C. before culminating in Houston on June 24.

Additional information about the release is available from Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise site.

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Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.

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