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SUSE Updates Enterprise Linux Server with Secure Boot

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted July 8, 2013


Linux vendor SUSE today is rolling out a new update for its existing SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 platform.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Service Pack (SP) 3 is the first major update of SUSE's flagship Linux platform since February of 2012 when SP2 was released. The first SLES 11 release debuted back in 2009 and SLES 11 SP1 debuted in May of 2010.

The SP3 update provides users with new hardware support as well as a long list of package updates, including both the latest updates for the KVM and Xen open source virtualization technologies.

For the SP2 release, SUSE rebased the SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Linux kernel to version 3.0 in order to provide new features to users. With the SP3 update, there is no such kernel rebasing. Matthias Eckermann, Senior Product Manager at SUSE, told ServerWatch that with SP3, SUSE is staying on the 3.0.y Linux kernel as the base version.

"On top of this, we deliver a significant number of hardware enablement and other improvements by backporting from more recent upstream kernel and subsystem versions," Eckermann said.  

Itanium

While SP3 extends SUSE support to the latest Intel Xeon-based servers, it also continues to support Intel's Itanium chips as well. Rival Linux vendor Red Hat only supports Itanium on its older Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL) platform and not on its newest Red Hat Enterprise 6 releases.

"Delivering SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3 on Itanium is part of our ongoing commitment to provide our customers a platform which is perfectly suited for migrating Unix workloads to Linux," Eckermann said. "As part of that, we want to give customers the freedom of choice with respect to the hardware architecture they run our Operating System on, and we’re well aware that any hardware architecture has its specific pros and cons.

Secure Boot

With SP3, SUSE also will now offer support for UEFI Secure Boot for Linux servers. Secure Boot is a mechanism that is intended to only boot secured and signed code. It's a technology that is often associated with Microsoft Windows 8 on the desktop, as it is a requirement Microsoft places on hardware vendors to include.

Though Secure Boot is typically considered to be a desktop technology, Eckermann sees server applicability as well.

"Our market analysis shows that UEFI Secure Boot is a UEFI extension that does not only cover desktops, but might very well also be deployed and even required on server systems going forward," Eckermann said. "By providing UEFI Secure Boot support in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Desktop 11 SP3, we help customers to be flexible with their investment into recent and upcoming hardware."

SUSE Linux Enterprise 12

The SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 platform first entered the market in 2009, three years after SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 debuted in 2006.

While the gap between SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 and 11 was three years long, it will likely be four years between SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 and 12 releases.

"At SUSECon last year, we provided an outlook onto our roadmap, which puts SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 into the second half of 2014," Eckermann said. "We look forward to providing more details of the upcoming release at SUSECon 2014 in November this year."


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

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