Five Days to Value with SUSE Manager

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Today’s businesses are far more capable than they were just five years ago. Thanks to advances in technology, companies can scale up and out like never before, virtualize just about everything, automate deployments, manage compliance, and deploy highly available apps and services in ways you couldn’t have imagined.

Along with the seemingly endless array of new technologies and services at your disposal comes a level of complexity IT admins have either never before experienced or have yet to master. Consider this: Every enterprise business is talking Kubernetes and with good reason. Kubernetes gives admins and businesses heretofore unheard of power over container management. But Kubernetes isn’t easy. Sure, you could deploy a Kubernetes cluster in about 15 minutes. Once you get beyond that, the complexity rises exponentially.

And that’s only one piece of the puzzle your admins are dealing with. When you start layering on more and more technologies and services, things begin to not only get seriously challenging to deploy, but even more difficult to manage—especially when your engineers are having to do so on multiple machines, services, logins, configurations, and deployments.

What do you do?

Managing a diverse environment has never been more complicated. Not only is your IT staff having to manage core Linux systems, but also storage, operating systems and tools, databases, applications running in multi-cloud environments, as well as IoT and edge environments.

This level of diverse ecosystems requires your business to maintain a level of visibility you might not be able to achieve without help.

That’s where SUSE comes in. SUSE can help your organization cut through all of this complexity with a simple, powerful management solution that can deliver value in just five days. That solution is SUSE Manager.

With SUSE Manager, your staff is better capable of managing servers and workstations running in virtualized, public, or private clouds or an IaaS environment. This tool does a masterful job of handling the most challenging tasks. From a single management console, your IT staff can handle a simplified workflow, reduce errors, work with more flexibility, be more easily trained, and simplify lifecycle management.

Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

Of course, with power comes complexity. You’re going to want to empower your staff so that they are ready for the task at hand on day one. But how can you ensure your IT staff is capable of managing a tool that handles so many roles? Another important question you should ask yourself is: “What services does our company need managed?” Do you need virtualization? What about container orchestration? Compliance?

This is where Five Days to Value comes into play. With our Five Days to Value Solution, SUSE brings together our Global Services team and SUSE Manager to help accelerate your adoption, determine what roles the manager will play, and train your IT staff how to get the most out of the tool.

Let’s take a look six important roles SUSE Manager can handle:

• Automation
• Virtualization
• Cluster management
• Health
• Compliance
• Security

Once the SUSE Global Services team has evaluated your company’s needs, deployed SUSE Manager, and trained your staff, your business will run smoother than you’ve ever experienced.

Automation with SUSE Manager

IT leaders are now faced with unprecedented operational disruptions and customer expectations. Because of these two factors alone, there has never been a greater need to simplify and streamline operations to make your business more agile and to deliver value through transformation initiatives. In order to simplify and modernize your business, as well as build for the future, you might need to consider integrating automation into your delivery pipeline.

By adding a layer of automation, you’ll shift as much routine work from your IT staff as possible. With SUSE Manager, you can automate processes such as:

• Image building, deployment, and redeployment: SUSE Manager includes built-in integration with the Kiwi image-building server, so you can build custom images for hardware systems and virtual machines (VMs) in a fraction of the time it would take a staff member to take care of the task. These images can then be deployed and redeployed at will.

• Asset management: SUSE Manager works with assets, such as VMs, by way of Salt, which allows near real-time management of hundreds of servers via Salt state definitions. With Salt, you could automate the creation of multiple VMs deployed to remote locations anywhere.

• Command line: Using the spacecmd command tool, it is possible to automate every SUSE Manager function without manual interaction.

• Provisioning: From a single graphical interface (and one set of tabs), the task of provisioning is a centralized and more manageable affair. You’ll have control of everything necessary to apply configuration states, manage maintenance procedures, schedule patch updates, group and migrate systems, and more.

• Content lifecycle management: Having a single point of entry makes it significantly easier to move and manage a large amount of packages through their DevOps lifecycle.

These tasks are necessary for your company to run smoothly. But many of them are often brushed aside for more timely matters. With Five Days to Value, SUSE Global Services will make sure your staff is aware of these little known secrets to ensure they are never forgotten and occur at timely and regular intervals. Being able to make this a reality successfully and with a high level of proficiency could not only save your business money, it could prevent disaster from bringing your delivery and DevOps pipeline to a halt.

Virtualization Management with SUSE Manager

Combining market-leading open source solutions with world class service, SUSE can put you on the fast track for simpler and modernized management of some very key technologies. One such technology is virtualization.

Chances are pretty good your business model has grown to depend on VMs. As those VM rollouts grow larger and more prevalent, the need for highly structured and capable management becomes tantamount to success.

With SUSE Manager, your admins will be capable of:

• Building customized images to be used for VMs
• Easily managing packages that are included with the customized images
• Better managing patches to be applied to deployed VMs
• Updating and editing the hardware settings for the VM hosting platform
• Stopping, pausing, and deleting VMs
• Displaying the Virtual Network Computing or Spice console via a user-friendly web-based interface

With well-configured and managed VMs, you’re company will:

• Experience better uptime
• Retain legacy systems
• Better optimize your resources
• Have heightened security

In order to achieve optimal success with VM management, your IT staff will need to not only roll out SUSE manager properly, but you might consider SUSE Training Credits (for after SUSE Global Service has you squared away with SUSE Manager). For those interested in further education, SUSE’s first-class library of training and certification offerings let customers purchase SUSE Training Credits and redeem them like they would a gift card. These training “gift cards” provide enormous flexibility to buy now and train later with any SUSE technology course or exam, allowing customers to train multiple teams on SUSE technologies. The credits make it simple to manage an organization’s SUSE training budget with a single transaction for the year. Once your teams have a solid grasp on the tools, they’ll find there’s not much they can’t do with your VMs.

Cluster Management with SUSE Manager

With more and more organizations running multiple environments, from on-premise data centers to highly scalable cloud-based container deployments, system and service management has never been more complex. With the help of SUSE, your business can not only make the most out of these newer technologies, but make sure that they run smoothly and efficiently. That even applies to containers and their orchestrators.

Clusters have become the new norm, especially for enterprise-level businesses. You’re spinning up Kubernetes clusters to deploy pods and containers to meet an ever-increasing customer demand and a scale that can keep up with the pace of your delivery pipeline.

That’s not easy.

Not only do you have to deploy the clusters, you have to configure containers and pods and manage workload orchestration. Although SUSE Manager is not intended to serve as a front end for container orchestration, it is absolutely possible to work with Kubernetes.

Once you have this connection made, your IT staff can automate the building of custom container images (for rapid integration of patches and new features) based on Dockerfiles and the latest available packages. You can also create and manage image profiles for a systematic rollout. Those profiles can be adapted using either manual or automated techniques. As for your container registries, SUSE Manager allows you to access external container registries or create your own local registry.

The creation of such an automated, continuous integration environment, of course, is going to not only require an in-depth knowledge of container manifests, but also how to seamlessly integrate those rollouts into SUSE Manager.

As for your workload orchestration, SUSE Manager offers a powerful set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which empowers your IT staff to create scripts and custom solutions for rapid deployment and continuous integration. With SUSE Manager, your staff will enjoy a powerful addition to their container-based DevOps environment.

A SUSE Global Services team can not only make this a reality for your company, they can make it such that your staff gets up to speed quickly and in a way that they are fully capable of handling anything that comes their way.

System Health and SUSE Manager

SUSE accelerates your journey to a more effective environment management solution that will provide real value at a fixed cost. Together with our technical solution experts, your business will see rapid ROI from SUSE Manager in just five days.

There’s no better way to see those immediate returns than with the real-time system health monitoring you’ll find in SUSE Manager.

Ask any of your IT staff how challenging it can be to keep tabs on an entire data center of Linux servers. The answers might surprise you. Given how fast technology moves these days, being on top of those servers could mean the difference between a smooth running pipeline and one that comes crashing down around you.

Fortunately, SUSE Manager includes plenty of system monitoring options, including Prometheus (an open source monitoring tool used to record real-time metrics) and Grafana (an open source tool that allows you to monitor a number of services, such as Graphite, MySQL, InfluxDB, Prometheus, Elasticsearch, and Cloudwatch), which give your staff real-time, up-to-date information about those Linux servers populating your data center.

Your IT admins can get at-a-glance details for:

• Systems overview—a dashboard gives you immediate access to information like Tasks, Critical Systems, Recently Scheduled Actions, Relevant Security Patches, System Groups, and Recently Registered Systems.

• Patch and event alerts—your staff needs to stay on top of patching and events. Without timely patching, your servers could be vulnerable to attacks, so it’s critical your admins are always alert to the availability of patches and events.

• Common Vulnerability and Exposure (CVE) Scans–CVE issues are always being discovered. SUSE Manager makes it easy for those in charge of your systems to gain access to the tools they need to discover any such vulnerabilities affecting company systems.

Compliance with SUSE Manager

SUSE Global Services provides access to solution experts who work with you and your team to deploy and configure SUSE Manager based on our best practices from real-world experiences. And if your business must constantly struggle with compliance, those best practices will be a major factor for success.

If your company exists within an industry or sector that requires compliance with standards for security, identity, confidentiality, and data integrity, then SUSE Manager should be on your radar. With this powerful tool, you can keep your systems in compliance with predefined system configurations. SUSE Manager then automatically watches for unauthorized changes and reports anything it finds.

With the help of the Salt configuration management system, SUSE Manager enables you to define a complete system configuration through centrally managed state files. Whenever a Salt client (called a Salt minion) receives a state file, it automatically reconfigures the host to match the description. SUSE Manager includes several preconfigured Salt formulas and allows you to create custom formulas that can be parametrized through user-friendly web forms. Those formulas can be applied to single systems or whole groups, ensuring they remain within compliance.

SUSE Manager is also capable of checking whether all software and patches on a system are up to date. When a package or patch is found out of date, your IT staff will be alerted to the state and can act accordingly.

Without SUSE Manager working for you, compliance can be an incredibly complicated process, one that can be overlooked (leading to serious issues for your company).

Security with SUSE Manager

It should come as no surprise that everything you’ve read here comes together to help bring a level of security your systems and your IT administrators might never have enjoyed previously. With powerful automation, monitoring, software management, provisioning, error checking, granular control of system configurations, and auditing tools, SUSE Manager offers a single point of entry for secure management of your Linux systems. With a little help from the SUSE Global Services team, your IT staff will be empowered to more reliably provision and deploy environments that are highly secure, scalable, and capable of meeting (and exceeding) the expectations set by upper management, CEOs, CTOs, and COOs.

Conclusion

Five Days to Value brings together the expertise of the SUSE Global Services team with SUSE Manager to accelerate your adoption of this powerful, open source solution. SUSE Global Services will provide your company with access to solution experts who will work with you and your IT team to deploy and configure SUSE Manager based on the specific needs of your company and best practices from real world experience.

You may think you’ve hired the ideal IT staff, and you very well may have. But as your company continues to grow, the tasks before your IT staff grow exponentially with each passing quarter. If you’re not empowering them with the tools that can guarantee success, your business could suffer.

SUSE Manager can help with that guarantee by providing:

• Simplified workflow—Processes and deployments occur in a predictable and reproducible manner, saving time and allowing for more accurate staffing estimates.

• Error reduction—Automation of configuration and maintenance procedures reduces the chance of costly mistakes. Restricting the management environment to a common interface or command set builds competence through familiarity and repetition, further reducing both errors and downtime.

• Staffing flexibility—IT managers can deploy staff across different locations and departments with the assurance of productivity from the moment of arrival and quickly redeploy them to deal with any local or temporary workload peaks.

• Training savings—Fewer tools means significantly less training and a flatter learning curve for IT staff.

• Simplified lifecycle management—A single point of entry makes it far easier to move and manage packages throughout the DevOps cycle.

If you want to deliver on promises of a 99.99 percent uptime while reducing the stress on your IT staff, SUSE Manager is the way to go. With the Five Days to Value solution, this is not only possible, but profitable.

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Jason Phippen
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