No More Sleepless Nights and Long Weekends Doing Maintenance


This blog was written based on the SUSECON 2019 presentation given by Raine Curtis, North America Core Services Team Lead, SUSE Global Services and Stephen Nemeth, Senior Architect, SUSE Global Services.  

Future Server Room

Datacenter maintenance – you dread it, right? Staying up all night to make sure everything runs smoothly and nothing crashes, or possibly losing an entire weekend to maintenance if something goes wrong. Managing your datacenter can be a real drag. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

At SUSECON 2019, Raine and Stephen discussed how SUSE can help ease your pain with SUSE Manager, a little Salt and a few best practices for datacenter management and automation.

SUSE Manager and Maintenance

So, let’s talk about SUSE Manager and how it can help with the patching lifecycle. Why do you need to manage your patching lifecycle?

If you already have SUSE Manager, you know that every night it goes out to SUSE’s update website and grabs updates and pulls them down and mirrors them into your SUSE Manager. And that’s great because you’re always getting updates, right?

Well… not exactly. Constant, unchecked updates can be a problem because you want stability in your environment.  So what’s the answer?  How do manage your patching lifecycle?

Patching lifecycle management does just that – it manages your patches. It takes a snapshot of your patches and knows “these are patches for development (DEV),” (or production (PROD), quality assurance (QA), user acceptance/testing (UAT), etc).

Then when you are ready, promote them into the appropriate landscape.  This gives you time to do the testing before you promote them into production.  This means you are in control and your system is a lot more stable.

But I Only Have a Few Servers

Now, you may be thinking – “but I only have a few servers, do I really need a patch management system?” That depends. What would happen if just one bad patch hits one of those servers? It’s highly likely that you would have a prod down, your business would go down and it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. SUSE Manager helps you control that and run through different lifecycles so you always know what patches to prepare for – giving you control of when you want to deploy them.

Don’t Forget to Add the Salt

For even more automation, SUSE Manager can use Salt as its configuration manager. This lets you implement Salt “states” within an interface. States are templates which place systems into a known configuration, for example which applications and services are installed and running on those systems. States are a way for you to describe what each of your systems should look like. Once written, states are applied to target systems automating the process of managing and maintaining a large numbers of systems into a known state. It’s basically a yaml file that describes the state you want a particular system in.

Salt is a broad spectrum tool that lets you to manage your states within the UI, as well as configuration management and version control.

Used together, SUSE Manager and Salt automates some of your most dreaded maintenance processes and makes your life a lot easier.

Learn More

For a deeper dive into more benefits and best practices, check out the “Software-defined Datacenter Maintenance: No more sleepless nights and long weekends when doing maintenance” session from SUSECON 2019 below.

You can also download a PDF of the slide presentation here.

If you want a closer look into Patch Lifecycle Management with SUSE Manager, you can take a look at the Advanced Patch Lifecycle Management with SUSE Manager guide.

And don’t forget to check out SUSE Start for SUSE Manager to help jumpstart your implementation of SUSE Manager; find out more here.

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Stacey Miller Stacey is a Principal Product Marketing Manager at SUSE. With more than 25 years in the high-tech industry, Stacey has a wide breadth of technical marketing expertise.