SUSE Manager 3 empowers your IT, now with “a touch of Salt”
Integrating Salt into SUSE Manager is by far the most important change. Using Salt-based configuration management, customers can deploy, at scale, tens of thousands of systems, without compromising on speed or security. This lays the groundwork for a framework that allows real-time configuration and monitoring through a new architecture leveraging Salt’s event bus as the primary transport. In our validation tests we’ve applied a set of kernel patches to thousand servers in under an hour. And this is just the beginning. We are constantly working on making SUSE Manager more scalable, less resource-hungry and faster.
Tracking configuration drift is a breeze with SUSE Manager 3. IT administrators can easily extend the remote execution and orchestration capabilities to include cloud deployments and Docker containers.
If you are already familiar with Salt and looking for a user interface that makes the power of Salt’s command line easier to consume for administrators, SUSE Manager is the answer. We’ve combined the existing and enterprise-proven organization and group system in SUSE Manager with the power of Salt’s declarative states.
The result is a separation of concerns: In best DevOps tradition, the Salt states and formulas describing how your server deployments should look can be written in an easy-to-use YAML syntax and integrated into your Continuous Integration workflows. What’s more, it’s really easy to apply them to your servers: all you have to do is assign states to System Groups, then add systems to those groups.
Here at SaltConf 2016, where we’ve announced SUSE Manager 3 in our partner keynote, we have shown how a multi-tiered web server environment can be set up in a matter of minutes, using a combination of Salt states and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 JeOS images. Once those states are defined, you can perform all other steps entirely from the SUSE Manager 3 web interface.
Over the next couple of months SUSE will release regular feature updates to SUSE Manager 3. These will leverage Salt’s cloud and container orchestration technology by extending the remote execution capabilities to include cloud deployments and Docker containers.
But that’s not the only news: with the new subscription management capabilities, IT administrators can optimize usage across large and/or distributed organizations. Detailed insights for using SUSE products is just one click away, including for creating reports for physical and virtual machines and cloud instances, assigning subscriptions and identifying over- or under-utilization.
On top of the data SUSE Manager 3 collects from systems registered as virtual machine hosts, it allows customers to directly import data about virtual machine usage from VMware’s APIs and matches them with the customer’s subscription inventory. In later updates SUSE will offer similar integration with SUSE OpenStack Cloud.
Finally, making the Icinga monitoring server available as part of every SUSE Manager Server subscription opens up a multitude of new options for building highly scalable and extensible monitoring environments. Upcoming updates will focus on integrating and automating those monitoring capabilities into SUSE Manager and Salt. Our choice of a fully Nagios-compatible platform will allow us not only to support customers with our own end-to-end solution, but to integrate with existing monitoring landscapes.
SUSE Manager is now delivered online via the SUSE Customer Center and can be deployed directly from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Service Pack 1. This allows for higher flexibility when installing large SUSE Manager environments. If you liked the pre-built appliances that we’ve been shipping for previous releases of SUSE Manager, you can again leverage our new SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 JeOS images, especially if you want just to give SUSE Manager 3 a try.
Stay tuned for my upcoming series of blog posts covering many of the new features in more detail. I’m also going to post an in-depth report from my week here at SaltConf 2016, especially our keynote session.
Let me close with one important remark: even if you aren’t immediately planning to use any of the new capabilities SUSE Manager 3 offers, lots of performance enhancements and fine-tuning make SUSE Manager 3 the best SUSE Manager 2.1 we have ever shipped. We’ve managed to retain compatibility with previous versions and aren’t asking customers to jump ship and embrace new technologies if they aren’t ready for them yet.
This is Joachim Werner blogging live from sunny Salt Lake City, where sweet meets salty.