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SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP1 Advances Docker Container Support

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted December 22, 2015

Linux vendor SUSE is out today with the first service pack update for SUSE Linux Enterprise 12. The big new addition is full support for Docker container though a number of different technologies.

Matthias Eckermann, director of product management for SUSE Linux Enterprise, told ServerWatch that in the first SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 GA release, Docker was a TechPreview. This past summer, SUSE established the "Containers Module," and via the module, SUSE now provides fully-supported Docker packages.

Eckermann noted that Modules are parts of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server technically (and they are part of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server SUSEsubscription), and the only difference to the "base" system is that Modules have a different (read: more agile) life cycle. He added that in addition to x86, SUSE is also supporting Docker use on the s390x and ppc64le architectures.

Among the Docker technologies supported in SUSE Linux Enterprise SP1 is a SUSE-developed effort called Portus. Portus is an authorization service and front end for the Docker Registry 2.0. Docker Registry 2.0 was first released in April and is the code that enables the Docker Hub, which is a repository of Docker apps.

"While there is an open source on-premise registry project, it is rather limited and all the other solutions are proprietary and locked by the vendors," Michal Svec, senior product manager for SUSE Linux Enterprise, told ServerWatch.

"Portus adds a comfortable user interface on top of the on-prem registry," Svec continues, where you could easily search for images, along with options to control who has access to what images, who could push and pull, that adds the layer of authentication and authorization."

Svec also noted that Portus' role-based access control further adds to the secure container environment. He noted Portus has been around for some time already and is a mature and fully-supported solution.

"It addresses a need of enterprise customers to have complete control over what's inside of their data center and allow for complete on-prem deployments, not relying on hosted infrastructure if they don't want," Svec said.

New Kernel Features in SLE 12 SP1

Looking beyond just Docker support, SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP1 includes some new kernel features, though SUSE is not rebasing the kernel at this time. Eckermann said SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 and SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP1 both are based on Linux Kernel 3.12, plus many updates. Svec commented that an interesting feature backported to SUSE's kernel is the full support for the latest overlay file system that has been merged into kernel 4.

"This union file system is the first one to be merged into the official kernel and it has been developed by SUSE," Svec said. "This has been done explicitly to offer our Docker customers the possibility of using the overlay storage driver provided by the latest releases of Docker."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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