During the Trial Period: How to put the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Eval to the Test
Editor’s Note: We recently held an essay contest to gather insights from the most experienced power users of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in the world. We wanted to know what they would tell people who were brand-new to SLES, and just in the process of evaluating it, to make their experience easier.
This entry was one of the top three winners, selected by a panel of premium support engineers.
By: Simon Flood
If you are reading this article then there is no need for me to extol the virtues of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as you are obviously already contemplating evaluating SLES.
What is important to say is that SUSE offers a 60-day evaluation license for SLES so having installed SLES you are then able to patch and update your server during the evaluation period as though it is a production server.
Physical or virtual?
The easiest way of evaluating SLES is probably by spinning up a virtual machine and then installing SLES. SLES is well supported as a guest operating system with all the virtualisation products, both free and commercial. This will allow you to try out the installation process and see what SLES has to offer in terms of software packages.
The other option is to install SLES on your physical hardware which is especially useful if you have particular hardware requirements. If this is the case you should check whether SUSE have tested and certified your hardware against the version of SLES you want to evaluate.
As has been the case for the past few years, server hardware with 64-bit architecture is now widely available which is why the latest version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SLES12, is only available for 64-bit architecture.
All is not lost if you do still have machines with 32-bit architecture on which you want to run SLES as the previous release, SLES11 (with SLES11 SP4 being the latest release), is still available for download and evaluation. What you should be aware of though is that General Support for SLES11 (SP4) will end in March 2019.
How to obtain SLES
SLES is available to download for free from the SUSE Downloads site at http://download.suse.com
It is most likely that the version of SLES you want to evaluate will be listed under the Most Popular heading below the search boxes but if it is not simply select SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in the first drop down field, your required version in the second drop down field, and then click the [Submit Query] button.
Once you have identified your required version click the product name and version – this will be in the form of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server <version> for <architecture>. Note that x86_64 and AMD64/Intel64 both indicate 64-bit version whilst x86 is 32-bit.
You should now see a page listing the available downloads for that particular version but you will need to click the [proceed to download] button at the top of page to access download links.
At this stage you will be prompted to sign in to the Micro Focus site (SUSE is now part of the Micro Focus group) if you are not already signed in. If you have previously created an account with the Novell or NetIQ web sites then you can use that. If you do not have an account you will need to click the [Create Account] link to set one up.
Once signed in you will be able to download the DVD images for your chosen version of SLES. In most cases it should be sufficient to only download DVD1 as DVD2 contains the source packages. Once downloaded you should verify the integrity of the files by comparing the MD5 (or, if listed, SHA256) checksum against those listed on the download page.
How to get an evaluation licence
On the download page you should also see a section and button to [Get Evaluation Code]. By clicking this button you will be redirected to a page listing the minimum and recommended requirements for installing SLES along with a big green [Download now] button which you should click when ready.
This will result in page offering you the same product downloads but more importantly it lists a registration code which you should make a note of. This code will allow you to patch SLES on your evaluation server for the next 60 days so if you haven’t already started installing SLES now is the time to do so!
You should also receive an email which contains some important information and links.
Installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
Rather than try and cover the installation of SLES within this article I will instead refer you to the official documentation which is available at http://www.suse.com/documentation/
Need a helping hand?
Hopefully your installation and subsequent evaluation of SLES will go smoothly but occasionally things do not quite go as expected. If you find you need a helping hand I suggest posting a thread in the SUSE Forums at https://forums.suse.com/forum.php where someone should be able to help you.
Hopefully this article has helped you see that obtaining and evaluating SLES is not a difficult process as SUSE want you to succeed. So why not put SLES to the test today?