SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Eval Tips and Tricks

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Helpful-tipsIf you’re evaluating SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, check this out.

This is a nice collection of tips that some of our power users think you should know when you first install it.  This is the kind of stuff you want to know BEFORE you install, not after.  These will save you time and keep you from learning things the hard way.

Here’s something you should know about installing or configuring SLES

  • Tip #1 – by: Gene Homan   If running SLES under VMware, it is highly recommended to install the VMware Tools for Linux so the SLES OS runs super efficient under VMware. Installing VMware Tools eliminates or improves these issues:
    • Low video resolution
    • Inadequate color depth
    • Incorrect display of network speed
    • Restricted movement of the mouse
    • Inability to copy and paste and drag-and-drop files
    • Missing sound
    • Provides the ability to take quiesced snapshots of the guest OS
    • Synchronizes the time in the guest operating system with the time on the host
    • Provides support for guest-bound calls created with the VMware VIX API

    Example of what can be done with the tools in place:

    The VMware Hypervisor can issue “Shutdown Guest” and “Restart Guest” commands into the SLES OS gracefully.

    Overall the SLES OS performance and management is improved.

    Note: It is accurate for SLES 11, but with SLES 12 we include open-vm-tools which do the same thing as the VMWare tools provided by VMWare, plus the open-vm-tools are installed automatically when you install SLES 12, so the VMWare provided tools are no longer needed.

  • Tip #2 – By: Gene Homan  If running SLES under VMware ESXi, allow the VMware Hypervisor to take care of the disk IO block request order instead of SLES trying to figure out the optimal block request order. When you let VMware take care of this, you will see disk speed increases some times up to 30%. You need to set elevator=noop in the SLES OS boot-up.Here are the steps to accomplish this setting within SLES:
    YaST > System > Boot Loader >
        SLES11: Section Management tab > Edit "SUSE Linux ..." entry >
        SLES12: Kernel Parameters tab >
              Edit "Optional Kernal Command Line Parameter" line and add " elevator=noop" at end of it
              reboot server

    Note: This is accurate for VMWare guests with local VMDK disks on VMWare, but not for SAN attached storage.

  • Tip #3 – By: Gene Homan   When a large volume is in use (like in the case for the GroupWise post office volume) it is highly recommended to disable the Linux OS file system auto check feature that runs on an OS boot up every so many mounts or days for a disk partition. You do not want to get caught by surprise on a server boot up, to wait hours for the file system auto check to complete when you needed the post office up ASAP. The command to disable this is:
    tune2fs -c0 -i0 /dev/sdb1

    Where -c0 changes the number of mounts between checks to zero, where -i0 changes the number of days between checks to zero, and /dev/sdb1 is the disk partition hosting the GroupWise post office data store.

    Note: This is accurate only for ext3 and ext4 file systems.

  • Tip #4 – By: Roger Dills   The SLES 12 firewall is very powerful and can replace the need for iptables, but you may have iptable configurations you’d like to import. Editing the /etc/sysconfig/SuSEfirewall2 file and enabling the FW_CUSTOMRULES file will allow you to put/save these settings into the firewall.In SLES 12, there is not a traditional “iptables” file for saving. You’ll need to place these settings in a custom file surveyed by the firewall to survive reboots. Ultimately, you should be able to translate your iptable directives to SuSEfirewall2 equivalents, but depending on the complexity, it may take some time. In the interim, placing your iptable directives in the custom file, can bridge the gap.

Here’s something you should know when you start the SLES eval process

  • By: Paul Borowicz  btrfs requires periodic maintenance or it will think it’s full when it’s not. It will sometimes report full when it is not full due to metadata.Note: It can report that there is no space because of metadata, and also because of snapshots.

Here’s something you should know about working with your patches and updates

  • By: Paul Borowicz  If you are doing a custom install, be sure to include the necessary firmware for wireless devices.

 

Open Call

If you are a power user and have a tip to add to this list, please send them to coolguys@suse.com.  You’ll earn SUSE Rewards points, and save some grief for fellow admins around the world.

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