SUSE Linux 11 SP2 Tuned For Power And System z
March 12, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you are a Linux user on IBM‘s Power Systems or System z mainframe servers, then you might want to take a gander at the latest Enterprise Server release from SUSE Linux, the commercial Linux distributor owned by software conglomerate Attachmate since last year.
SUSE Linux has puts out Service Pack 2 for its Enterprise Server 11 variant of Linux, basing it on the new Linux 3.0.10 kernel, as you can read in the release notes for SP2. The update to the new Linux kernel also includes updates to the key portions of the open source stack, including the GNU gcc 4.3.4 compilers and glibc 2.11.1 libraries, and the Perl 5.10, PHP 5.2.6, Python 2.6.0, and Ruby 1.8.7 languages and runtimes.
I spoke to Gerald Pfeifer, director of product management for SUSE Linux’s development labs in Nuremburg, and he explained that with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server SP1, which came out in May 2010, SLES could run on Power7-based Power Systems servers as well as System zEnterprise 196 mainframes, but with SP2, the kernel and software stack has been tweaked to fully exploit these systems. SLES 11 SP2 runs on bare metal Power7 servers as well as atop IBM’s PowerVM hypervisor. On Power7-based machines, SLES 11 SP2 is architected to span 256 cores, 1,024 threads, and 1 petabyte of main memory; thus far, only 512 GB of main memory has been verified on a Power7-based system and IBM’s top-end Power 795 server maxxes out at 8 TB of capacity. SP2 supports hot-add memory on Power5, Power6, Power6+, and Power7 servers, too, a feature that was in tech preview with SLES 11 SP1.
Just in case you are curious, it supports the new Xeon E5-2600 processors announced by Intel as well as other “Sandy Bridge” family Xeons that Intel is expected to launch later this year.
SLES 11 SP2 supports a new virtualization technology called Linux containers, or LXCs for short, that are akin to workload partitions on IBM’s AIX Unix and containers on Oracle‘s Solaris Unix. LXCs are virtual private servers with a shared kernel and file system.
The important thing for IBM i shops to remember if they are using SLES 11 is that in six month’s time, support for SLES 11 SP1 will be withdrawn, so start planning your upgrades to SP2 now. You won’t have to worry about doing a version upgrade any time soon, though. SUSE Linux is planning to do service packs every 18 to 24 months and version upgrades every 4 or 5 years. And SLES 11 has a support lifespan of 10 years–seven years standard and three extended. That rivals anything out there.
Novell preps service pack for SUSE Linux 11 (The Register)
SUSE 11 takes off faster than 10 (The Register)
Novell kicks out SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 (The Register)